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How to find and do work you love: Scott Dinsmore at TEDxGoldenGatePark

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What an honor I was wondering what this would feel like. So 8 years ago, I got the worst career advice of my life. I had a friend Tommy: 'Scott, don't worry about how much you like the work you're doing right now. It's all about just building your resume.' I just come back from living in Spain where I joined a Fortune 500 company, I thought 'it is fantastic - I have this big impact on the world...' and all these ideas. And within about 2 months I noticed about 10 a.m. every morning that I had this strange urge to slam my head through them under my computer. I don't know if anybody ever felt that. I noticed pretty soon after that all the competitors in our space had already automated my job role. This is right about when I got the sage advice to build up my resume. As I am trying to figure out when do I jump out off and change things up, I read some of different advice from Warren Buffett me said: "Taking jobs to build up your resume is the same as saving up sex for old age." [laughter] I heard that and that was all I needed. Within 2 weeks I was outta there and I left with one intention: to find something that I could screw up. That's the toughest one. I wanted ??? out some type of an impact, didn't matter what it was and I found a pretty quickly after that I wasn't alone. It turns out over 80 % of the people around don't enjoy their work. I'm guessing this room is different but that's the average that Deloitte has done with its studies. So I want to find out what is it that sets these people apart - the people who do the passionate, world-changing work, they wake up inspired every day and then these people - the other 80 % - who lead these lives of quiet desperation. So I started interviewing all these people doing this inspiring work and I read books and did case studies and... 300 books altogether on purpose and career and all this, totally just self-immersion really for the selfless reason of 'I want to find the work that I could not do'. What that was for me? But as I was doing this, more and more people started asking me: "Scott, you're into this query thing... I don't really like my job. Do we sit down for lunch?" I say: "Sure, but... I would have to warn them because at this point my quit rate was also 80 % of the people I sit down with for lunch, 80 % would quit their job within 2 months. This was something... I was damn proud of this. And it wasn't that I have with anything special magic. It was that I was asking one simple question: Why are you doing the work you're doing? And so often the answer would be: Well, because somebody told me I'm supposed to. I realized that so many people around us are climbing the way up this ladder that someone tells them to climb and ends up being leaned up against the wrong wall or no wall at all. So the more time I spent on these people and wanted to solve this problem, I thought: 'What if we created a community, a place where people could feel they belong and that was okay to do things differently, to take the road less traveled, where that was encouraged and inspire people to change.' That later became what I now call which I'll explain little bit. But as we made these discoveries I noticed a framework of 3 simple things that all these different, passionate world-changers have in common, whether you are like Steve Jobs or you're 'just' a person that has the bakery down the street. But you are doing work that embodies who you are. I wanna share this 3 with you. We can use them as the lens for the rest of today and hopefully for the rest of our life. The first part of this 3-part passionate work framework set is: becoming a self-expert and understanding yourself. Because if you don't know what you're looking for, you're never going to find it. And the thing is, no one's going to do this for us. There's no major in university on passion and purpose and career. I don't know how that's not a required a double major but don't even get me started on that. I mean, you spend more time picking up a dorm room TV set than you do picking your major - an area of study. The point is, it's on us to figure that out and we need a framework, we need a way to navigate through this. And so the first step of our compass is finding what our unique strengths are. What are the things that we wake up loving to do no matter what, whether they are paid or not paid, the things that people thank us for. And StrengthsFinder 2.0 is a book and also an online tool. Highly recommended for sorting out what it is that you're naturally good at. Next, what's our framework or our hierarchy from making decisions? Is it that you care about the people, our family, health? Is it achievements, success, all these different things? We have to figure out what it is to make these decisions. We know what our soul is made of so that we don't go selling at decent cost, we don't ?????help. The next step is our experiences. We always have these experiences we learn things everyday, every minute about what we love, what we hate, what we are good at, what we are terrible at. If we don't spend time paying attention to that and assimilating that learning and applying to the rest of our life, it's all for nothing. Every week, every month or every year I spend some time just reflecting what was right, what was wrong, what do I want to repeat, what can I apply more to my life? Even more so than that. As you see people, especially today, who inspire you, who are doing things, you say 'Oh God! What Jeff is doing... I wanna be like him.' Why are you saying that? Open up a journal, write down what it is about them that inspires you. It's not going to be everything about their life. Whatever it is. Take notice. Over time we have this repository of things that we can use to apply to a life and have a more passionate existence and make a better impact. As we starting put these things together, we can then define what it is a success and what actually means to us. Without these different parts of the compass it is impossible. We end up in a situation we had that scripted life that everyone who is living, going up this ladder to nowhere, It's kind of like in [movie] Wall Street 2, if anyone saw that the ?????? employee ask the big Wall Street banker ?????? 'What's your number? Everyone's gonna have number, they make this money or leave it all.' ??????? Simple. More!' He smiles. It's a sad state of most of the people that haven't spend time understanding what actually matters to them. They are keep reaching for something that doesn't mean anything to us. We are doing it because anyone said we were supposed to. But once we have this framework together we can start to identify things that make us come alive. Passion coming hit you in the face. Or maybe in your possible life working throw it to the side cause you don't have a way of identifying it. But once you do, you can systematically just grew with my strengths my values, who I am as a person. So I'm going to grab and do something with it. And I'm going to pursue it and trying make impact with it. LiveYourLegend and the group that we've built wouldn't exist if I didn't have this compass to identify 'Wow this is something I wanna pursue and make a difference with.' If we don't know what we are looking for, we are never going to find it. But once we have this framework - this compass, then we move on to what's next. That's not me up there [in the picture]. But doing the impossible and pushing our limits, cause there are 2 reasons why people don't do things: one is because they tell themselves they can't do them and the other is people around them tell them, they can't do. Either way we start to believe it. Either we give up or we never start in the first place. Everything was impossible until somebody did it. Every invention, every new thing in the world people thought were crazy at first. Roger Bannistor in the 4-minute a mile it was physical imposibility to break 4 minute a mile in a footrace. So Roger Bannistor stood up and did it. Now what happened. 2 months later some 16 people broke 4-minule a mile. The things that we have in our head that we think are impossible, are often just milestones to get accomplished, if we can push those limits a little bit. I think it starts with your physical body and physical fitness more than anything as we can control that. You show yourself, you know that you can run a mile you show yourself you can run a mile or two even like a marathoner, lose 5 pounds [3kg], whatever it is... You realise that can be transferred like confidence compounds to the rest of your world. I've actually gotten into the habit of this little bit. With my frinds, we have little group, we can go to physical adventures Recently, I found myself in kind of precarious spot. I'm terrified of deep dark blue water. I don't know if anyone has ever had that same fear ever since they watch [movie] Jaws 1,2,3,4 like six-times, when I was a kid, but anything above here [above knees] if it's murky... I can already feel it right now... I swear there's something in there. Even it's late toho - it's fresh water... totally unfounded fear, ridiculous but it's there. Anyway, 3 years ago I found myself on this tugboat right down here in San Francisco Bay. It's a rainy, stormy, windy day and people are getting sick on the boat and I'm sitting there wearing a wetsuit. And I'm looking out the window and pure terror and thinking about to swim to my dad and trying to swim across the Golden Gate. My guess is some people in this room might have done it before. I'm sitting there and my buddy Jonathan talking me into it. He comes up to me and he could see that state I was in. He comes up: 'Scott, hey man, what's the worst I can have it?' You're wearing a wetsuit, you're not going to sink and if you can't make it, just topple on one of the 20 kayaks plus if there's a shark attack, why are they gonna pick you over the 80 people that are in the water?' - 'Thanks, that helps.' No really... just have fun with this. He said: 'Good luck and he dives in and swims off.' Ok. It turns out that pep talk totally worked and I felt this total feeling of calm. I think it was because Jonathan was 13 years old. [laughter] And of the 80 people swimming that day 65 of them were between ages of 9 and 13. Think for a second how you would approach your world differently that 9-years-old you found out - you could swim 1,5 mile in 56°F [13°C] water from ????? in San Francisco. What would you say yes to? What would you not given upon? What would you tried? As I'm finishing the swim, I get to aquatic park and ??? water and of course half of the kids already finished so they cheered me on and were all excited and I got total ??? head, if anyone has ever swim the Bay and I'm trying to just ??? my face out and I'm watching people finish. And I see this one kid something didn't look right. He was just fleying like this and he's barely sip some air before slam his head back down. And I noticed other parents were watching too and I swear they were thinking the same thing I was: This is why you don't let 9-year-old swim from Alcatraz. I mean, this was not fatigue. Also two parents run and they grab him and put him on their shoulders and drag him like this... and I mean, totally limp... and all of a sudden they walk up from their feet and they plof him down in his wheelchair. And he puts his fist up in the most insane show of victory I've ever seen. I could still feel the warmth and the energy on this guy when he made his accomplishment. I had seen him earlier that day in his wheelchair, I had no idea that he's gonna swim. Where he's gonna be in 20 years? How many people have told him he could not do that that he'd die to try that? He proved people wrong, you prove yourself wrong that you can make these little incremental pushes of what you believe is possible for yourself. You don't have to be fastest marathoner.... just your own impossibility... to accomplish those. It's sort of little bity steps and the best way to do this is to surround yourself with passionate people. The fastest way to do things you don't thinking it can be done, is to surround yourself with people already doing that. There is a quote by Jim Rohn [1930-2009], it says: You are the average of the 5 people, you spend most time with. There is no bigger life hack in history of the world from getting where you are today to where you wanna be than the people you choose to put in your corner. They change everything and it's a proven fact. In 1898 Norman Triplett did this study with a bunch of cyclists. He measured their times around the track in a group and also individually. And he found every time the cyclists in the group, it cycled faster. It's been repeated in all kinds of walks of life since then and it proofs the same thing over and over again: The people around you matter and environment is everything. But it's on you to control it, cause it can go both ways. With these 80% of people who don't like the work they do, that means most people around us, not in this room, but around there everywhere else, are encouraging complacency and keeping us from pursuing the things that matter to us. We have to manage those surroundings. I found myself in this situation - personal example - maybe a year ago or couple of years ago Has anyone ever had a hobby or a passion they pour their heart and soul into? Unbelieveable amount of time and they so bound they want to call business? But no one's paying attention and it doesn't make a dime? Ok... I was there for 4 years, trying to build this LiveYourLegend movement to help people do work that they generally care about and inspire them. I was doing all I could and there were only 3 people paying attention and they are all right there: my mother, father and my wife Chelsea. Thank you guys for the support [applause] ?????? It grew by 0% for 4 years and I was about to shut it down. And right about then I moved to San Francisco and started meeting some pretty interesting people that these crazy lifestyles, who had venture businesses and websites and blogs that surrounded their passions and help people in a meaningful way. One of my friends, now he has a family of 8 and he supports his whole family with a blog that he writes toward twice a week. He just came back from a month in Europe, all of them together. It sort of blew my mind, how was he even exist? And I got unbelievably inspired by seeing this. And instead of shutting it down, I decided let's take it seriously. I did everything I could to spend my time around like every waking hour possible trying to ???? these guys with hanging out and having beers and work outs... whatever it was. After 4 years of zero growth, in 6 months of hanging around these people the community LifeYourLegend grew by 10 times in another 12 months it grew by 160 times. And today over 30 000 people from 158 countries use our career and connection tools on a monthly basis. And those people have made up that community of passionate folks who inspire that possibility that they had dream of from LiveYourLegend so many years back. The people change everything. And this is why... notice what was going on - for 4 years, I knew nobody in this space. And I didn't even know they existed... that people could do this stuff. ???? like this. And now all of a sudden I'm over in San Francisco and everyone around me is doing it. It became normal. So my thinking went from 'how could I possibly do this?' to 'how could I possibly not?' Right then, when that happens, that switch goes on in your head it ripples across your whole world. Without even trying your standards go from here [low] to here [high] You don't need to change your goals or anything, you just need to change your surroundings. That's it. And that's why I love being around this whole group of people, why I go to every TED event I can, watch them on my iPad on the way to work wherever it is, because this is the group of people that inspires possibility. We have a whole day to spend together and plenty more. Something's up in terms of what we.... these 3 pillars: They all have one thing in common, more than anything else that are 100% in our control. No one can tell you, you can't learn about yourself. No one can tell you, you can't push your limits and learn your own impossible and push that. No one can tell you, you can't surround yourself with inspiring people or get away from the people who bring you down. You can't control recession, you can't control getting fired or getting a car accident... most things are totally out of our hands. These 3 things are totally on us. And they can change our whole world if we decide to do something about it. These things starting to happen on a widespread level I just read in Forbes: 'the US government reported for the first time, in a month where more people quit their jobs than had been laid off.' I thought it was an anomally but it's happened 3 months straight. In a time when people claim it's kind of tough environment, people are pretty much giving middle finger to this scripted life, the things that people say you're supposed to do in exchange for things that matter to them and do the things that inspire them. And the thing is people waking up to the possibility that really the only thing that limits possibility now, is imagination. It's not a cliché anymore. I don't care what it is that you're into, what passion, what hobby, if you are in ????? you can find someone who is killing it ??? and you can learn from them. It's wild. And that's what this whole day is about to learn from the folks speaking and ????? at LiveYourLegend everyday. Because it shows people, when ordinary people are doing extraordinary, we can be around that? It becomes normal. This isn't about being Gandhi or Steve Jobs or something crazy. It's just about doing something that matters to YOU and makes impact that only you can make. As we're speaking of Gandhi: He was a recovering lawyer as I've heard that term. And he was called due to a greater cause. Something mattered to him, he could not do. And he has this quote that I absolutely live by: First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, and then you win. Everything was impossible until somebody did it. You can either hang around the people who tell you it can't be done, and you're stupid for trying or surround yourself with the people who inspire possibility, the people, who are in this room. Cause I see it as our responsibility to show the world that what's seen as impossible can become that new normal. That's already starting to happen. First, do the things that inspire us, so we can inspire other people to the things that inspire them. But we can't find that unless we know what we are looking for. We have to do our work on ourselves, be intentional about that, make those discoveries. Cause I imagine a world, where 80% of people love the work they do. What would that look like..? What would the inovation be like? How would you treat people around you? Things would start to change. As we finish off, I just have one question to ask you guys, and it's the only question that matters. And it's: What is the work you cannot do? Discover that, live it, not just for you, but for everybody around you. It's that what starts to change the world. What is the work you cannot do? Thank you, guys. [applause]

Video Details

Duration: 17 minutes and 56 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: TEDxTalks
Director: TEDxTalks
Views: 500
Posted by: rakosnicek on Jan 26, 2014

Scott Dinsmore's mission is to change the world by helping people find what excites them and build a career around the work only they are capable of doing. He is a career change strategist whose demoralizing experience at a Fortune 500 job launched his quest to understand why 80% of adults hate the work they do, and more importantly, to identify what the other 20% were doing differently. His research led to experiences with thousands of employees and entrepreneurs from 158 countries. Scott distilled the results down to his Passionate Work Framework - three surprisingly simple practices for finding and doing work you love, that all happen to be completely within our control. He makes his career tools available free to the public through his community at

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