You know what I love to do the most when I feel uninspired or unmotivated? Watching or listening to inspiring women talk about their career trajectory or talk about how they’ve overcame difficult times in their lives. But mostly to hear what they’ve learned from it. Because I can learn from it as well. That’s why you will often find me looking up new podcasts or TED Talks.
Now if you’re not familiar with TED Talks — can’t imagine you are — but they’re mostly inspiring talks on various interesting subjects. And one of them is also women in business. For todays post I’ve rounded up the 6 best TED Talks by inspiring, ambitious women for you to check out when you want — or need — inspiration. These women been there and are now sharing their knowledge on personal and career growth. So sit back and get inspired!
Sheryl Sandberg // Why we have too few women leaders
This TED Talk is probably one that you’ll find on any similar list about TED Talks for women by women. No surprise because it touches on an important issue in the workplace: there are just not enough women on top in business. Sheryl Sandberg — who works as a at Facebook — talks about the three things that women need to start doing to get a top job:
- Sit at the table
- Making your partner a real partner
- Don’t leave before you leave
I think these three things — and you’ll get it much better when you watch the talk — are really crucial points of action that everyone should be taking because often times we do underestimate our accomplishments, take all the house work upon ourselves and already planning for families without even being at that place in our lives. And it’s hurting our career chances.
“Why does this matter? Boy, it matters a lot. Because no one
gets to the corner office by sitting on the side, not at the table, and
no one gets the promotion if they don’t think they deserve
their success, or they don’t even understand their own success.”
— Sheryl Sandberg
If you liked this talk, check out her interview she gave on the TED stage three years later about how she decided on what to speak about during her TED Talk, her book ‘Lean in’ and what to do now.
Leila Hoteit // 3 lessons on success from an Arab businesswoman
This inspiring TED Talk by Leila Hoteit is a little glimpse in the life of a business women. She’s juggling her life as a highly educated career women, a mother and her Arab heritage. And during those times she learned three important life lessons that she shares in this talk.
What I love about this talk is that when you put the effort in it you can actually have it all. It’s all about the chooses you make and the priorities and boundaries you set. That doesn’t just mean no work after a certain time, but also not letting other people get to you. What works for you, works for you. Even if others do not understand, stick by what works for you. And honestly, I do think that setting priorities and boundaries is what determine if you’ll be successful or not.
Another important lesson that we sometimes tend to forget when you’re career focused: sticking together. During the talk Leila Hoteit says of western ambitious women:
“If there’s only room for one woman at the top,
then you can’t make room for others, much less lift them up.
Arab women, generally speaking, have not fallen for this
psychological trap. Faced with a patriarchal society, they
have found that by helping each other out, all benefit.”
And it’s true. I’ve seen it a lot of times, how being competitiveness has taken over being supportive of each other. But I do really believe that when you work together and support each other — yes even if you’re in the same business — that’s when the magic happens.
Casey Brown // Know your worth, and then ask for it
I found this one under de imposter syndrome watch list and thought that this just can’t be missing in a list like this one. Who hasn’t suffered a little from imposter syndrome in the workplace? I know I do. But I think this TED Talk shines a new light on it. Casey Brown — pricing consultant — goes in how you can determine how much you’re word. Yes, also in dollar signs but I think most importantly it’s about the value you bring to the table. Because people tend to underpay you. They pay you how much they think you’re worth. Luckily she goes in on how you can control their thinking and how to clearly communicate your worth.
“And I share this story because doubts and fears
are natural and normal. But they don’t define our value,
and they shouldn’t limit our earning potential.”
— Casey Brown
Susan Colantuono // The career advice you probably didn’t get
Honestly, when I watched this TED Talk I looked back at my previous jobs and thought well this is probably why I didn’t get that far. It’s a must see if you want to move up in business. Susan Colantuono gives THE advice that you should implement if you want to go for the top jobs. And the cruel part is, you probably wouldn’t have heard about it because the advice isn’t given to women much often.
“Well, for women, the answer is obvious: we have to begin
to focus more on developing and demonstrating the skills
we have that show that we’re people who understand
our businesses, where they’re headed, and our role in taking it there.”
— Susan Colantuno
Susan Cain // The power of introverts
This one might not apply to everyone — although I suggest everyone to watch it because most people do not know what the word even means — but if you identify as an introvert* you can’t skip this one. If you identify as an introvert you probably often have faced being undervalued and labelled as the quite one. In this TED Talk Susan Cain explains what’s it like to be an introvert and how introvert have great and valuable talents that are super useful in the workplace. I’ve also read her book and it helped me to get to terms with me being an introvert — I am more on the shyer side of the scale — and embrace it. I know proudly put it on my CV as one of my strength.
“Now this is what many introverts do, and it’s our loss for sure,
but it is also our colleagues’ loss and our communities’ loss.
And at the risk of sounding grandiose, it is the world’s loss.
Because when it comes to creativity and to leadership,
we need introverts doing what they do best.”
— Susan Cain
Meg Jay // Why 30 is not the new 20
Another great TED Talk by a women that has helped me come to terms with a different issue in life — which I know a lot of other women in their twenties struggle with. Your twenties fly by. One day you’re 20 and the next you’re 28 and questioning your life choices. You haven’t done enough. Achieved enough. And sometimes you even feel not enough. And all of the sudden all the people around you have made a life for themselves, have thriving careers and marriage is on the table. And here you are, single, in a junior position for the second time, questioning if you did make the right choices after all and everything seems like it’s too late because the big 3-0 is just around the corner. But that might just be me.
So I don’t want to stress you out with this talk if you’re anything like me but I do agree that your twenties are your most transformative years and you should take full advantage of it. We often hear that we still have enough time because we are young but these years — and what you do with them — set the stage for the rest of your life.
One of the things she talks about is building identity capital which is doing something that will help you become the person you want to become. This can be trying out for a job you’ve always wanted. Anyway, watch this talk and let it fuel you with ambition to start working on your dreams right now!
“So what do you think happens when you pat
a twentysomething on the head and you say,
“You have 10 extra years to start your life”? Nothing happens.
You have robbed that person of his urgency and ambition,
and absolutely nothing happens.”
— Meg Jay
* If you get more energy from being alone than being surrounded by a group of people, you are an introvert. It has nothing to do with being shy like being an extravert has nothing to do with being exuberant.