Top 10 TED Talks for Rethinking and Inspiring Your Work

In my last post, I mentioned my favorite inspiring podcasts, one of which is the TED Talks video podcast.  I love TED Talks, those inspiring talks you can watch free online. So it’s about time I dedicate a blog post to TED.

I want to tell you my favorite TED Talks for making your work life more fun, empowered, and successful. My clients will recognize some of these as ones I suggest for homework.

First, I have a celebration to share. I’m excited that I’m going to attend my first live TEDx event (TEDx Shelburne Falls). I even get to help out with it, including volunteering to coach one of the speakers.

TED Overview

TED Talks are from the annual TED conference and the many smaller TEDx conferences around the world. The events are about sharing “ideas worth spreading,” from work fulfillment and mind-blowing technology, to solving world hunger and creating better schools. Anything you can think of, and plenty you would have never thought of.

Yes, TED conferences could stand to include far more diversity among their speakers. At the same time, the breadth of topics and the creativity of solving global problems is a far cry from what any mainstream conference offers.

My Fav’ TED Talks About Work

And now, here are the ones you’ve got to see. I’m confident you’ll feel inspired and I bet you’ll even insist  others go watch. These lessons are all relevant to your work success, and actually, relevant to a fulfilling life as a whole.

I realize it would take a while to watch them all, but I hope you’ll bookmark this page for when you’re hungry for inspiration. Or subscribe to the TED podcast and grab these to watch for whenever it works.

These are in no particular order.

  1. Shawn Achor: The happy secret to better work (12:21) – So funny. And important. We have some serious misconceptions about how to find happiness at work.
  2. Amy Cuddy: Your body language shapes who you are (21:03) – Strike a power pose and it will help you access powerful feelings, and might even impact success. I see this in action all the time, with myself and my clients. Be sure to watch her talk until the end, with her personal story.
  3. Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action (18:05) – By studying successful leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr., and Apple Computers, Sinek reveals that they all start with Why. This talk, as well as his book Start with Why, are well-crafted examples of his own message.
  4. Majora Carter: 3 stories of local eco-entrepreneurship (18:00) – Hopeful stories worth learning from. Creative social entrepreneurs are keys to creating change.
  5. Susan Cain: The power of introverts (19:04) – Of course I have to mention the introvert talk by Susan Cain, author of Quiet. Both introverts and extroverts will benefit from watching. It happens to be one of the most popular TED talks and you’ll see why. (Introverts make great speakers!)
  6. Jason Fried: Why work doesn’t happen at work (15:21) – Successful entrepreneur and author of Rework, Fried holds up a mirror to our non-productivity, and provides solutions.
  7. Brené Brown: The power of vulnerability (20:20) – This introverted researcher shares how and why she faced her own vulnerability… based on her vulnerability research. Very funny. If you like it, you’ll love Brene’s books and blog.
  8. Jonathan Fields – Turning fear into fuel (17:57) – Author of Career Renegade, Jonathan Fields, tells us how he moved past fear into action. As in his book, he gives very practical doable tips.
  9. Angela Lussier: Reinventing Work (5:31) – Well, I’m biased about adding this to my list because Angela is a friend, but I tell my clients to watch it for good reason. She gives us a snippet of how she quit her creativity-squashing job. Her unconventional story and ideas are captured in her book, The Anti-Résumé Revolution.
  10. Elizabeth Gilbert: Your elusive creative genius  (19:32) – A popular and personal talk by a bestselling author about the faulty notions we have about creativity and genius. Hint: We are all creative geniuses. Tweet that.

P.S., I highly recommend all the books I linked to above. They are all among my favorites.

Related Post from the Blogosphere

6 Must Watch TED Talks to Help Your Career Survive This Economy

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  • the other Val… :)

    I’ve seen almost all of these- wonderful! And Amy Cuddy was fantastic-I use those power poses often! Thanks, Val… 

    •  Thanks for commenting Valerie. I’m glad you liked these too!