No matter what your career challenge is, there will be a TED talk to help. They are short, engaging talks given by experts on a wide range of topics. The talks are delivered to a live audience but are filmed and free for anyone to watch. As a Career Coach, I often share TED talks that I think will be helpful for my clients. Here are the 7 best TED talks to help you have career success by showing you how to:
✅ Find work you love
✅ Get back to work after a career break
✅ Gain control of your time
✅ Feel more confident
✅ Reject retirement and change career
✅ Feel happier at work
✅ Develop more female leaders
1. How to find work you love
If you hate your job, this talk might inspire you to take action. Scott Dinsmore explains the key things that will help you identify and seek out work you feel passionate about.
One of the most important ideas Scott talks about is the need to become a self-expert because, “If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you’re not going to find it.” He recommends taking the StrengthsFinder test to help with this, something you can learn more about here.
Scott also quotes Jim Rohn in his talk, “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” His reasoning is that because of this, we should surround ourselves with passionate people (and people who are already doing what it is you want to do). It’s good advice. Who could you spend more time with, that you know will spur you on and impact your career in a positive way?
2. How to get back to work after a career break
It can feel really hard to find a good job after taking a long career break. Your confidence in your abilities often mysteriously begins to seep away just a few months into leaving the workforce. Carol Fishman Cohen shares some excellent (and easy to implement) tips on getting back to work. They include:
- Telling everyone you know that you’re looking to get back to work.
- Getting your industry knowledge and news up to date.
- Working on your IT skills to make sure they are up to the standard they need to be.
3. How to gain control of your time
Time is the one resource we can’t make more of, or buy. This means it can feel impossible to fit everything in to life that you want to. Laura Vanderkam is different to most time management experts. She has carefully researched how successful people spend their time and in her TED talk she shares her surprising findings. With simple tips on how to set goals for your career, relationships and time for yourself, this is a great talk.
I’ve used Laura’s time tracking sheet with lots of my coaching clients, helping them identify what they’re spending their time on and find ways of becoming more productive. If you want to try Laura’s time tracking activity yourself, or learn more about her work, her website is filled with useful resources.
4. How to feel more confident
Amy Cuddy’s research shows the incredible effect that our body language has on our confidence. Coining the phrase ‘power posing’ she teaches you that the way you sit or stand before walking into a stressful situation can make a big difference to your confidence levels. A great excuse for standing like Wonder Woman or Superman before you walk into a job interview, or give a presentation at work.
5. How to reject retirement and change career
Do you dread the idea of retiring, seeing it as a life condemned to watching day time TV, playing golf, or pottering round the garden for the next 20 or so years? Paul Tasner explains how being fired in his 60s led to setting up his own successful and award-winning business. His story and the statistics he mentions in the talk are inspiring (70% of older entrepreneurs’ new ventures are successful; in contrast to a 28% success rate for younger entrepreneurs).
This is also a great talk for anyone who has been fired or made redundant and who is finding it hard to stay positive. It can feel like the end of the world at the time, no matter how many people around you tell you that everything will be fine. Paul’s story is an excellent example of how being let go from your job can bring unexpected opportunities with it.
6. How to feel happier at work
Are you quite hard on yourself about work? Constantly chasing success? Setting yourself bigger goals and higher standards but never feeling satisfied? If any of this sounds familiar, Shawn Achor’s talk will help. Not only will the talk make you laugh out loud, it has practical tips to help you feel happier and more satisfied at work.
7. How to help develop more women leaders
There are many sources and research studies that show that women systematically underestimate their own abilities. Even still today, we live in a world where women are not reaching the top of their profession. Here Sheryl Sandberg discusses her thoughts on why we have so few women leaders and the different messages we send to men and women within the workplace. Her talk is full of practical tips for women who want to have big careers and also for anyone who wants to help women move up the corporate ladder.
There are a whole host of other useful career-related TED talks I could have included in this list. If there are any other career issues you are facing that you’d like to learn about solutions to by watching a TED talk, just ask and I’ll let you know if there are any I can recommend. If you have any favourites that you think I should have included in this post, I’d love to hear about them.