To get inspired and move out of your comfort zone, look no further than TED, the big daddy of thought leadership confabs – attracting the world’s best thinkers and doers who present short, powerful talks. TED comprises an annual North American conference, a summer global event, TEDWomen and hundreds of locally-organized TEDx community events.
If you can’t attend in person, there is a massive inventory of motivational TED Talks one click away. Here are some favorites:
1. Helen Fisher
What is the number one, most important thing to anyone and everybody in the whole wide world? It’s that enigmatic four-letter word: LOVE. Helen is a biological anthropologist and expert in the science of love and the brain. She is Chief Scientific Advisor to the dating website Match.com. She has formulated a methodology on how your personality shapes who you are and who you love. A Myers-Briggs or DiSC type assessment for the heart, if you will.
You can take the test here: The Anatomy of Love.
There is good news for Prime Women in her research! She has proven that those in their 50s and 60s can still be madly in love. Long-term love definitely exists. The key is picking the right person. And…the ability to suspend negative judgement. (Go to the 20 minute point in video for more about this tidbit!)
If you have love, how can you best savor and treasure your marriage or relationship? If you are looking for love, are there insights and success paths to learn? For ideas, scope Helen’s excellent motivational TED Talk from TEDxSMU. She offers an analytical, scientific underpinning to improve prospects for a successful outcome. Listen and learn!
Speaking of love, what kind of woman does the richest man in America marry? Microsoft founder Bill Gates chose a savvy soulmate, a Dallas Ursuline- and Duke-educated high-achiever who now partners with him in a global philanthropic mission to change the paradigm in education, world health and population by applying successful business models, best practices and accountability metrics.
You will be inspired by Melinda’s motivational TED Talk “What Non-Profits Can Learn From Coca Cola. ” In undertaking health initiatives in Africa, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation followed the model of Coke which achieves 1.5 billion servings every day via delivery/distribution to far flung areas.
To speed up progress in your mission, she says, learn from the innovators in any sector. Collect real time data and apply immediately into the product or program. Melinda proves how non-profits can apply successful business lessons for the public good and save lives. This is why Berkshire Hathaway founder, Warren Buffett, turned over $30 billion of his fortune for philanthropic deployment via the Gates Foundation.
Okay, you’ve selected a goal…a mission….a purpose….a dream. What differentiates a win from a miss? Another four-letter word: GRIT. Plain old stick-to-it-iveness, according to this brilliant young management consultant turned math teacher, now PhD psychology professor and best-selling author.
Her message: Talent is not a guarantee of success. But…excellence is accessible to everyone. The key is sticking with it, despite setbacks and success. Being the hardest worker.
Angela has achieved a breakthrough level of acclaim and attention that rivals the impact of Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers. She is everywhere – on the lecture circuit, in-depth media profiles – with a message for a broad audience from parents and teachers to sports coaches, business leaders and more.
I heard her speak at an author’s event and asked her advice for Prime Women in this article on re-invention. In her presentation, she contrasted millennials and baby boomers on a curve. More good news for Prime Women: We are grittier!
Here is Angela’s motivational TED Talk, The Power of Passion and Perseverance.
Kelly is an engaging author who writes of family relationships, challenges, heartstrings and heartbreak. I loved her book The Middle Place about that sliver of time familiar to many when we are wedged between adult duties and parental care. She is a fantastic speaker on the author circuit who also hosts an on-line program.
I was captivated by her motivational TED Talk from TEDxSonomaCounty on The Value of Reading. We live in a technology-driven, changing world that has prompted a big emphasis on STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) in schools, particularly important for girls and their futures. But, as a non-math girl, my life was shaped by the magic of words.
Kelly presents a compelling case for books and reading for purposes of education, information, communications-building and self-development. Important to Prime Women, a Yale University study proves that being a regular book reader can add two years to your life!
5. Hall of Fame
Here are three superstar motivational TED Talks always mentioned in lists of top presentations. I have seen and loved them all:
- Diana Nyad – I attended a live remote of TEDWomen with friends. Did not expect a connection with Diana Nyad in the line-up of presenters. Although a Pilates and personal fitness aficionado, I am not in the category of avid athlete or adventure girl. But, WOW, did Diana Nyad deliver an amazing story of her extreme 100-mile swim from Cuba to Florida – at age 64. Hint: It involves GRIT!
- Amy Cuddy – She popped up on my radar screen in a New York Times article on the importance of posture and presence. Her motivational TED Talk on this powerful non-verbal tool is one of the most viewed of all time. Reminder: Stand up straight!
- Elizabeth Gilbert – The author of Eat Pray Love is a memorable and articulate presenter on the topic of creativity. Another highly-viewed, top motivating TED Talk. I wrote about her newest book Big Magic and how creativity can inspire a second act in this Prime Women article.
- Bonus – How to give a TED Talk.
It’s a life achievement. Career booster. Possible bucket list item. To hone your inspirational and presentation skills, you can take an on-line class led by Chris Anderson, the Curator of TED himself!