Melissa Llarena, CEO of Career Outcomes Matter, Answers Your Questions About Finding Your Purpose, Fulfilling Your Dreams, and Building Your Personal Legacy, Episode 54

2020 has been a wild ride and because of its ups, downs, and enormous degree of uncertainty. As a result, I decided to put out a request for your questions when it came to the pursuit of your goals, fulfillment of your dreams, and your eventual quest to build your legacy. Why? You matter. Your legacy matters. As far as my purpose and ultimate ambition, I am here to see to it that you do not miss this incredible opportunity that we all have here right now to fulfill our purpose and leave a deeply meaningful legacy. So what’s my intention behind this solo episode?

Hey, I want you to know that you are not alone in wondering the same things. I want you to see that other people are also thinking the same thoughts. Most importantly, I want to be of service to you and to share with you what I’ve learned through years of coaching professionals (some of whom are also workaholics) as well as having interviewed guests who have gotten to a place where they have felt a healthy obsession around their work + lives! Meanwhile, you may also have been wondering so who is Melissa Llarena the host behind this podcast?

I help “dream chasers” achieve their goals, fulfill their dreams, and build the legacy roadmap they need to not let what they want to go unfulfilled in this lifetime. It’s not acceptable that you can have a 40-year long career or pour your heart into an employer’s dreams to have never even made a dent on achieving your own! Don’t let your life pass you by! I bring insights from having worked in 16-business units in NY, Paris, London, and Sydney. Additionally, in my former corporate career, I worked on billion-dollar brands for P&G, JPMorgan Chase, and on IBM for Ogilvy & Mather.

I’ve been featured in Forbes, Financial Times, WSJ, The Huffington Post, Fox Business, and others. I studied Psychology at NYU and earned my MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. Most proud relaunch in 2020? I relaunched and is the host of An Interview With Melissa Llarena a podcast featuring weekly interviews with creative down-to-Earth experts (including Gary Vaynerchuk, an Olympian, a feminist U.S. Senator, and others) who are obsessed about what they do, openly reveal their tough career decisions, and whose stories will ignite a fire in your belly to help you build YOUR own out-of-the-box career. Subscribe on iTunes! Your life may never be the same again!

Listener Questions Discussed:

  • How can I pivot during uncertain times? Consider how Jacques Slade and Luis-Miguel Caraballo (i.e. Louie Blaka) two former teachers pivoted into their respective areas of artistry. One podcast guest optimized his life after a lay-off and Luis left a tenure track to pursue his “impractical dreams.” 
  • How can I best leverage my gifts/strengths to plot a new course forward? Take a page from World Hall of Famer in Rugby Phaidra Knight who got to the top of her sport and is now pursuing another sport. I also share how you can go from doing your activity of choice to now teaching that activity to plot a new course forward.
  • Does your dream need to be your source of income? Such a relevant question especially for those who have creative dreams. My recent podcast guest Katherine Young and I tackled this at length and in this “Ask Me Anything” episode I share where we both landed on that answer.
  • How do you know when it’s time to move on from a dream? The value equation I am referencing here is a personal one. What are your values right now i.e. priorities? Listen to how Gabriele Corcos, a prior podcast guest, shifted his dreams from going on tour with Shakira to being a dad.
  • How can we know God’s true purpose for our lives? That question is something everyone must find the answer to have happiness, fulfillment, and vision for their life. I address this question for you regardless of your beliefs in a God or not. Listen for the simple step you can take to hear for those signs. This idea is inspired by my podcast guest Natasha Sutton. Take a listen.
  • How do I build confidence when selling my brand online? This is such a great question. It was covered during my podcast chat with Sree Sreenivasan the former Chief Digital Officer of The Met. Sree shared his best wisdom during our full episode that everyone needs to hear. However, in my response to this answer here, I do drop a hint referring to Sree’s 7-minute confidence-boosting rule.
  • How do you build your network when everything is online? Robbie Samuels, a prior podcast guest, is the person you’ll want to learn more about because our conversation is where my answer to this question comes from. In a nutshell, anyone can learn how to Zoom network effectively!
  • What is the most underrated skill to have when interviewing for a new job? My Tuck classmate Hans Reichstetter has great advice pertaining to what most job candidates don’t do during job interviews yet does impress him. And as a career coach, I know this impresses even the pickiest hiring managers!
  • Have you personally Melissa planned things (ex.: to launch a podcast, create a group coaching program, etc.), or have you been winging it? Stay tuned for my interview with Asha Curran the co-founder of GivingTuesday! Our interview will be live on January 5th so be sure to subscribe to An Interview With Melissa Llarena on iTunes for instant access. In my answer to this question, I share my thinking of doing dares and incorporating them into my business plans for fun.


“2020 was the year to pivot. Everyone is expecting you to pivot so take advantage!” – Melissa Llarena

“Don’t let dreaming become only an exercise in mental gymnastics. It’s so important to take action and explore by actually taking part in the worlds that excite you.” – Melissa Llarena

“Your dream does not need to be your source of income. What about the intrinsic value of pursuing your dream and the person you’ll become during that process?” -Melissa Llarena

“Finding your purpose requires that you are in the present moment. You may need to feel stillness to uncover the most telling “purpose-driven clues.” – Melissa Llarena

“You need to really just be honest with yourself before you start building your brand online and figure out what you want to stand for.” – Melissa Llarena

Links to quench your curiosity include all prior An Interview With Melissa Llarena podcast episodes with the following guests:

  • Jacques Slade – From Teaching in Grade School to Visiting Michael Jordan’s House, Sneakerhead Jacques Slade of “Today in Sneaks,” Episode 1
  • Luis-Miguel Caraballo “Louie Blaka”- From Teaching Art to Being Featured In Gary Vaynerchuk’s Crushing It!, Hear How He Is Accelerating His Goal Of Making Art History, Episode 13
  • Breeja Larson – Olympic Gold Medalist Talks About The Olympian Mindset, Bravery, and Thought Replacement Coaching, Episode 30
  • Katherine Young – How To Find Inspiration For Creating Viral Content, Creator of the Girls’ Life Magazine Cover Meme, Episode 52
  • Natasha Sutton – Founder of Bundles of Luxe and Breast Cancer Survivor Talks About Her Cancer Journey, Shifting Perspective and Living with Gratitude, Episode 40
  • Sree Sreenivasan – Hear How the Marshall R. Loeb Visiting Professor of Digital Innovation at Stony Brook University  and Former Chief Digital Officer Of NYC As Well As The Met Uses The Power Of Social Media and Brings It Within Your Reach, Episode 11
  • Robbie Samuels – TEDx Speaker and Business Strategy Coach Talks About How to Nurture Your Network and How to Build Relationships, Episode 32
  • Phaidra Knight – World Rugby Hall of Famer, founder of PeaK Unleashed, and Mixed Martial Artist Expresses the Importance of Equality and Feeling Limitless Regardless of Age and Circumstances, Episode 17
  • Gabriele Corcos – Creator, Host, and Producer of Extra Virgin and NYT Bestselling Author, Talks About Continuing to Dream, Technology and Agriculture, and Why It’s Never Too Late to Change Course , Episode 47
  • Hans Reichstetter – Find Out How Your Favorite 80s Ski Gloves Freezy Freakies Were Revived, A Bear Costume Became A Fetish, And How He Derisked Both Ideas, Episode 12

Did you enjoy the conversation? 

Ever wish you could be a fly on the wall? Now you can by following me on Instagram! There I jump on an IGTV Live every Wednesday! You’ll catch me reporting LIVE on-location (so far in a gas station on a highway, a modern art museum, and my local fruit smoothie shop) always depending on my guest’s career thrills! During those LIVES, I share behind-the-scenes podcast stories, offer you a glimpse into my guest’s expertise, and always release more specifics around HOW you too can pursue your own billion-dollar career! Who knows where my next episode will take me? Come along! I want YOU to join me on my next adventure.

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Melissa Llarena

Melissa helps movers and shakers up to those in the corner office rediscover what makes them unique so that they can land their dream job in a forward-thinking company where their ideas are listened to, valued, and supported.

She brings insights from having worked in 16-business units (including Human Resources) in NY, Paris, and London. Additionally, in her former corporate career, she worked on billion-dollar brands for P&G and on IBM for Ogilvy & Mather. Later, as the founder and CEO of Career Outcomes Matter, Melissa created a 3-step “sellable strengths” process which has been the centerpiece of her clients' results.

Melissa applies this method consistently to support mid-level professionals up to the c-suite to get into Fortune Global 500 organizations and agencies. She studied Psychology at NYU and earned her MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.

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