MICHELLE MOORE has spent her career inspiring people through her public speaking and is now inspiring people through her writing.
Michelle is a leadership coach and speaker who decided to put her inspirational messages to paper when she picked up a pen, and began writing her book Real Wins: Race, Leadership and how to define success.
The book has won various accolades such as Chartered Management Institute Book of the Year and has charted in the WH Smith Business books for non-fiction – the only black author among those charts.
Michelle spoke to The Voice’s Matthew Chadder to explain the message behind the book, and the creative process behind it.
How was the idea of Real Wins born?
I was approached to write this book, and at first, I said, “what would I write a book about?” We discussed the work that I do to support people in their leadership journeys and lessons I’ve learned as a former athlete. Sport was very identity affirming, I learned a lot about failure, resilience, and the power of mindset. The book became this natural place for me to share those messages.
What is the book all about at the core?
It is about my journey as a black woman who dreams of being a professional athlete. I’ve made some mistakes along my journey and this book charts some of those mistakes and how and what we learn from our hardest and most painful experiences, paradoxically becoming our real wins in life, as they become the lessons that we take on to transform our future.
On the front of the book it says, ‘how to redefine success,’ and that’s what we often have to do in our lives, especially if we’re from a marginalized identity.
This book gives you the practical strategies of self-awareness and resilience to run your own race and it empowers you to take responsibility for your own prejudices, actions, and ultimate success.
What was the creative process like bringing this book to life?
It was during COVID time, so a really challenging time, especially as black and brown communities were being affected by COVID 19 disproportionately.
So, writing a book was really quite a challenging experience, but as an independent freelance leadership coach, and speaker, some of my work had been reduced because of what was happening, so it was a really fortuitous time to be able to write a book .
The thing about sport is it gives you enough self-efficacy that you believe you’re confident about most things. I completely underestimated the creativity that is required from writing.
I started out writing a linear, traditional leadership book, and that just wasn’t talking to me. I had to make my book entertaining and accessible for me as the first audience.
I tell compelling stories about my life and about other people’s lives and then I weave in the leadership strands, themes, and the lessons. It’s an unconventional leadership book.
I use superstar athletes from Raheem Sterling to Serena Williams to really bring this to life. The writing process was a tough one, I got through it because I’ve got that sports mindset, that focus and discipline that goes with being an athlete.
What kind of feedback have you received?
I’ve had really good feedback. This book is for anyone who is interested in their leadership journey, and interested in the world around them, so people have been able to see their own stories in the book, in the sense that they are able to relate to my experiences, and people are really surprised by the amount of personal stories that I share, and I do that very consciously.
I’ve been just overwhelmed with the number of endorsements that I’ve got for this book, I would never have imagined that to be the case, it’s taken my breath away.
Some high-profile former athletes said to me, ‘there’s one page I’ve torn out, and I’ve stuck it on my wall, and I look at it before I go into a board meeting’.
There’s all kinds of really affirming and positive feedback that I’ve received as a consequence of writing.
What aims did you have in mind when you wrote this book? What qualifies as success for you?
I’ve done a range of different things, I’ve been in the national press, and although those things are amazing, success to me is when somebody comes up to me and says this has really helped me through a difficult moment.
Success to me is the actual manifestation of the book, knowing that my work out there makes a difference to people in their leadership journeys.
Success is when that young woman whom I taught many years ago, sees my face on that billboard and thinks, ‘you know what? I could be an author as well.’