Learning to be awesome at anything you do, including being a leader | Tasha Eurich | TEDxMileHigh

Translator: Alina Siluyanova
Reviewer: Denise RQ When was the last time you had
no idea what you were doing? (Laughter) OK, I’ll go first. How does that sound? A couple of years ago I decided
I wanted to learn Spanish in preparation for a trip
I was taking to Mexico. I know French, I thought;
how hard could it be? So I did what any self-respecting member of the 21st century would do
to become fluent in a language: I downloaded a flashcard
app on my iPhone. OK, so flash forward a few months. My two girlfriends and I
had just arrived in Cancun. We leave the airport, we get in the cab, and I decide that I’m going to make
some small talk with the cab driver. So I confidently state, (Spanish) “Estoy excitada ir
al hotel porque soy casada.” (Laughter) Some of you know
where this is going, yeah? OK. And the look on the cab driver’s face made it instantly clear
that I had not just said, “I’m excited to go to the hotel
because I’m tired.” What I’d actually said was: “I’m sexually excited to go to the hotel
because I’ve just got married.” (Laughter) So, needless to say,
I felt exposed and embarrassed. But what about you? Maybe, you’re struggling
to run your business, fighting to master a skill
you need to do your job, or just trying to lower
your golf handicap. Have you been meaning
to get a mentor or take a class, or, in my case, find a Spanish tutor,
but you never really got around to it? You know what I’m talking about, right? It’s that thing
you’ve been dying to master. And if you’re a type A person like me,
it probably haunts you in the form of a line on your To-Do list
that you never cross off, because you’re so bogged down
in the tyranny of the urgent. Have you experienced that? So, whether you’re a business leader,
an employee, a hobbyist or a beer league hockey player, how much time and energy
do you invest to become totally awesome at what you do? Here’s my big idea. When it comes to your own development you can’t keep waiting
until you’re less busy or for someone else to do it for you. No one will truly invest in you but you. Now, my life’s work
is to help leaders be better. This passion began in my childhood when I saw the power of leaders
to transform people’s lives. Shortly after my parent’s divorce,
my mother started her own business, and it didn’t just support our family; it supported the families
of the 25 people who worked for her. And now, as a grown up,
and an organizational psychologist, I apply this scientific principles
of human behavior to help leaders and companies succeed. But a client of mine recently explained
what I do far better than I ever could. Here’s what she said, “Leadership is my Everest,
and you are my Sherpa.” (Laughter)
Pretty great. So, in the last 12-years of being
an executive Sherpa, or coach, I stumbled upon a pattern. Three steps for radical improvement that don’t just apply
to business leadership, they apply to anything
you want to do better. And today I’m going
to share them with you. But before I do that,
you might be thinking, “Really? Anything?” In short, yes! Whether you’re a body builder
or a bartender, a surgeon, or a screen writer,
a violinist, or a volunteer, if there’s something
you want to do better, these three things will help you
become totally awesome at what you do. OK, so three things. Should we get started? Excellent. All right, step 1 is to know thyself. Here’s the bottom line: most people are completely delusional
about their own skills and capabilities. (Laughter) It’s true, and I can prove it. Researchers Justin Kruger and
David Dunning uncovered this phenomenon which they modestly named
the Dunning-Kruger effect. But some of you might be more
into NPR than science, and you might know it as
the Lake Wobegon effect. (Laughter) [Welcome to Lake Wobegon,
where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking,
and all the children are above average.] In a series of four experiments
Kruger and Dunning found that most people completely
overestimate their talent. What was even scarier, at least to me,
was that the least competent people were the worst at recognizing
their incompetence. Are we bad people? Rarely. Are we stupid? Not usually. We just live in a world
where people hardly ever tell the truth. We’re polite, we’re busy, we’re afraid, and then there’s the classic
frontal attack of: “Can I give you some feedback?” Now, if you don’t run the other way
when someone says that to you, you’re probably feeling a little defensive when you hear
what they have to say, aren’t you? So, for me, in my work coaching leaders, I’m often sent in
to tell someone the truth when everyone else is afraid to. And today, I’ll tell you a story
about an executive I coach named Steve. But remember these three steps
apply to anything you want to be better. OK, so here’s the deal. When I met Steve, he thought
he was doing a bang-up job. (Laughter) But when I talked to his team, I learned pretty quickly
that that wasn’t the case. They said he was as smart as they come. But they told me he had some,
let’s just call them “quirks”. No, no, let’s be honest.
His team thought he was a jerk. He would bark orders at them.
He would question their competence. He would scream at them, in a way
they found unprofessional and frightening. This is a true story. One of his employees
had just started taking blood pressure medicine because of it. And lucky me, I got to be the jerk
who told him all of that. So, just imagine that you’re with me
in Steve’s palatial corner office. So, we sit across from each other
at his huge wooden conference table. I look him dead in the eyes. I said, “Steve, there’s no way
around this. Your team hates you.” (Laughter) Are you surprised? And his horrified expression
said that he was incredibly surprised. He said, “How could they say
these things about me? (Raising voice)
How could they say that I yell?” (Laughter) So then he stared out of the window
for what seemed to me like an eternity. He said, “You mean
I’ve been doing these things for the last 20-years, and nobody told me? But eager to give Steve
some good news, I said, “Steve, don’t worry,
these problems are totally fixable, and you just took
the most important step.” “I did? Really? Great! Wait, what did I do?” “You’ve just accepted reality.” [Truth] So what about you? If you had room for improvement,
would you know? Delusions about ourselves
are the roadblocks on the journey to becoming awesome. So, no matter how hard it is, you have to take responsibility
for learning the truth about yourself. So how do you do that? Here’s my advice. For you, step 1 means
knowing where you stand. So first, if you have them, you should be looking
at your objective measures of success. A surgeon might look
at her complication rates. A gardener might look at which of her
plants have lived and which have not. Then you look at your subjective measures. The easiest way to do this is to find
someone who will tell you the truth. Ask them: what am I doing
that is helping me succeed? What’s getting in the way, and how
can I adapt my approach to be better? Remember, above all, seek the truth. OK, so you’ve gotten this feedback,
you know where you stand. Step 2 is to pick one thing to work on. In my experience, once people have
all this feedback, they are raring to go, and they wake up the next day
and try to change everything. Think about that.
It’s ridiculous, isn’t it? It’s like going on a crash diet
to lose 10 pound in a week. Here’s the truth, it is far better
to make progress on one thing than little to none on many things. Let’s go back to Steve. We can all probably agree that he had lots
of choices of things to work on, right? But there was one thing that would give him
the most bang for his buck. Do you know what it is? Steve had to learn
to get control of his anger. We agreed that we wouldn’t work
on anything else until we got that under control. So, over the course of the next month,
that’s exactly what he did. He learned to soften
the tone of his voice. He learned to bite his tongue. He learned to question instead of blame. And, lo and behold, in a matter of weeks,
he started to get a handle on it. So we moved to listening skills.
Then to coaching. On and on it went,
one thing at a time for months. So what do you think Steve noticed? In a very short time, he felt
a new level of confidence. Now, this wasn’t hollow confidence
that comes from delusion, it was real confidence
because he was doing the right thing. Now, what did Steve’s team notice? In a very short period,
they started talking about this wonderful guy
who they called the new Steve. (Laughter) It was awesome, and the best part
was when he would back track, which we all do
when we’re trying to improve, they would ask him, lovingly,
“What would the new Steve say about that?” (Laughter) It’s pretty great, right? So for you, how do you
pick your one thing? Here’s my advice: take a piece of paper
and draw a line down the middle. On the left hand side list all
of the skills you’re trying to improve. Then on the right hand side
for each skill, on a scale of 1 to 10, I want you to imagine
that you only got better at that, and then rate how much
more awesome you would be. Start with the highest number
and work your way down. So, you know yourself,
you’ve got your one thing. If you stop here, you’re making
a mistake I see all the time, and it’s very dangerous. I call it delusional development, the futile hope that just by wanting
to get better at something, that magically you will,
as if through osmosis. It’s kind of like my trying to learn
through a flashcard app. I think we’ve established
that that was “no bueno”. So, the only thing at this point standing
between you and awesome is daily practice. For hundreds of years people used
to think that excellence was inborn. For example, scientists used to think
that the best marathon runners had differences in their lungs
or their muscles. But recent research reveals
that these differences are not inborn. What makes someone exceptional is
that they earn it through daily practice. So, the best marathon runners
don’t actually show physical differences; what’s different is how much they train
in the weeks leading up to the marathon. So, let’s go back to Steve, shall we? Steve learned to practice daily
by developing a habit. Everyday on his way to work he’d think
about what he was trying to improve, and he’d make a plan to practice it. Then on the way home,
he would think about how he did, and maybe some ideas
for what he would the next day. In sum total, Steve probably spent
less than 30 minutes a week doing this, and he saw massive returns. In less than six months,
his team started closing new deals. He felt happier and more confident, and his boss, who hired me, was ecstatic. So, what do you think?
Are some people born to be great? Sometimes. But my belief is this: Steve showed us
that with effort and commitment almost anyone can be better. In his case a better leader. Now, by the way, I always say
that 96% of leaders can improve. The other 4% are what we call sociopaths (Laughter) who lack the ability to connect with other
people on a fundamental human level. Right, so unless you’re a sociopath,
you can be a better leader. But I digress. Let’s get back to practice. The bottom line, you will not improve unless you make
a daily commitment to practice. So, everyday, I want you
to jump out of bed and say, “Today is the day
I’ll get better at my one thing!” Some days you’ll feel stuck. Other days
you’ll be thrilled when something clicks. But every day you’ll learn,
and every day you’ll get better. So, before we end, I want you
to imagine that you are there. You’ve become totally awesome
at what you do. What’s that like? How does it feel?
How’s your life better? Steve did it. Was he a superhuman?
An exception to the rule? Absolutely not. Steve was a normal person who made a true commitment
to his own development. Know thyself. Pick one thing.
Practice daily. That’s all there is to it. And I promise you, after using
this framework with thousands of leaders, I know with absolute
certainty that it works. Now, here’s the time, here’s the moment
for you to make a decision. As your Sherpa, I can show you the way,
but this is your mountain to climb. Remember: no one will invest
in you but you. So, make the commitment.
Follow the three steps. You’ll become more awesome
at what you do everyday, and you’ll be utterly unstoppable. What are you waiting for? (Applause) Thank you. (Applause)

100 thoughts on “Learning to be awesome at anything you do, including being a leader | Tasha Eurich | TEDxMileHigh”

  1. I actually really loved the way she delivered her speech. She was very clear and convincing. I wish I had more professors like her in university, because she seems very into what she is talking about.

  2. I love Tedx, so excellent talks! This one just brings me again into mind the teachings of my beloved Guru. Be in the space of the powerfulnessness. What eyes can see, hand can do. The space of possibility and possibility. The space of Paramahamsa Nithyananda. 🙂

  3. if you want to be good at anything the only thing you need is time.. that's what it takes to perfect something

  4. This talk inspired and changed my life from the moment the video ended! I feel I can work on controlling all of me and I want to thank you

  5. How in the world do people hate this talk?? It literally gives you tips to become awesome at anything; and with a good example. This nice lady expert just came here to give you proven advice on how to become the best. What is up with people?

  6. She said "no one will invest in you but you" and then I spaced out and started thinking about how I could help my friends feel more motivated to strive for self improvement, and I realized that I'm invested in my friends, and that she's obviously investing in her clients and her audience, so what gives? That's like the loneliest statement in the world.
    My parents invest in me, my friends invest in me, even my dogs invest in me, and sometimes I literally invest in total strangers by giving them money when they need it.
    And on to my second point, why would someone shut sociopaths out of their talk like that? I know a sociopath, and while yes they struggle to comprehend the feelings of others, weirdly enough they try. They strive for improvement in ways that, while self centered, help the world. They're humans too and can be absolutely fantastic people with just as much to offer the world as anybody else! They can even see benefit in relationships with other people, just on a more calculative level, with less altruism. I've seen so many things where neurotypical people will write sociopathic people off as "other" so fast that it makes me kinda sick.
    Everyone you've ever met is human, please remember that.

  7. she's actually a very high power woman which initially inspired me whether what she said was true or not

  8. hey..im frm india..nd i would like to learn english well..pls…anyone come to the whatsapp..for helping me..im a boy having positive vibes..ha ha..jst joking…my no is +919747565240

  9. Leaders don't always listen, don't care what you have to say and if you say something negative to them they'll fire you.

  10. are we bad people? usually… are we stupid?… well i firmly believe 99% of the earths population (i think im beeing generous) is simply idiotic+incompetent+lots of other similar things

  11. in reality i see when people try their best they won't get near as when they try their best and screw over people there's allmost allways blood on the hands of succesful people

  12. I watched this months ago and I didn't quite get it fully. So I just started to get to know myself. Now, I'm watching this again and I can see the things I need to work on! Awesome and motivating speech 🙌🏽

  13. awesome speech that I have ever heard!!!!! And, I also commit myself to be awesome.
    Tks for your video and sharing. 1# know thyselves 2# pick one thing per month 3# practice practice everyday!!!

  14. Before buying on gearbest, know that it's thieves.
    They do not repay,
    on google search for "Thieves Gearbest".

  15. That was the first grade approach of improving yourself in any area. Sure you will make improvements in anything in knowing your level, working on one thing daily and the compound effect will take over but there is so much more than that. My god that was literally a realization I had in first grade. Now we have flow state, Tim Ferris' methods, learn a new skill in 20 hours book, hidden book of talents and much more on how to learn anything 10X faster than normal and be in the top .01% in your field.

  16. Self practice is the most critical step here… And that too needs to be done on a routine basis! this is where most people fail…the key is to have a goal or mission in mind so that energy and motivation drive you! Good talk in all.

  17. Self practice is the most critical step here… And that too needs to be done on a routine basis! this is where most people fail…the key is to have a goal or mission in mind so that energy and motivation drive you! Good talk in all.

  18. The content was there, but the constant lip-smacking drove me up a wall. It's a tick that a lot of people have, especially in public speaking.

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