by Fabiola Stein, Sage’s Global Head of Marketing for Sage One
It’s a hectic Tuesday morning — you’re scheduling meetings with investors, emailing the new marketing assistant, and trying to figure out how to improve the way you run your business. Being an entrepreneur means you’re on top of everything your startup needs—even though at times it may not feel like it—but are you taking the time to learn new things so you can recharge and grow, too?
Before you say “I don’t have time for that!” consider tuning in to TED Talks as an easy and edutaining way to inject a little guidance into your personal and professional development. From 11-year-old jazz prodigies to business advice based on New York City trash, TED Talks present a range of topics based on the concept that great ideas can be shared in an average of 18 minutes or less; ideal for busy entrepreneurs.
Here’s a list of my favorite TED Talks for you to add to your personal 2015 “lesson plan.” You may be surprised by what you can learn from a 13-year-old, an Aussie, a couple of failures, and a guy named Simon!
1. Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are (20:55)
Take note of the way you’re sitting right now — it says a lot about who you are. Amy Cuddy is an expert in nonverbal behavior, and her TED Talk demonstrates how confident posture can positively affect your brain and increases your chances for success. Heed her advice, “fake it until you become it,” and that goes for your body language as well. Take a few minutes to be mindful of your body language right before your next big investor or pitch meeting. Maybe even test Cuddy’s advice by striking a “Wonder Woman” pose before the meeting to boost your confidence. Give her nonverbal behavior suggestions a try and notice how your guests respond to your more poised approach.
2. How Leaders Inspire Action (17:57)
There’s good reason why Simon Sinek’s speech is the third most watched video on TED: he demonstrates the power of “why.” Sinek shows how the most influential leaders have achieved great success by connecting their message to a purpose. Using examples like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Steve Jobs, Sinek explains, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” Chances are you have been more focused on “what” you do then “why.” Making a shift to identifying your brand’s purpose is a great way to create a more meaningful connection with your consumer.
3. How to Make Work-Life Balance Work (9:57)
Nigel Marsh asks a very important question that, as an entrepreneur, you need to be able to answer: “What does a life well-lived look like?” Starting your own business is everything you’ve dreamed of, and it’s far too easy to let your other passions disappear because of it. Marsh argues that focusing on business success while neglecting other meaningful relationships and aspects of your life is an unbalanced measure of success. He instead suggests a more balanced approach to work-life balance and offers some ideas worth every businessperson’s time.
4. The Fringe Benefits of Failure (20:58)
When J.K. Rowling began to write the story of a magical, orphaned boy who lived in a broom closet, she had no idea of the success that would follow. In this speech, she opens up about the heartbreak of failure as a means for learning how to push ourselves to succeed. True success takes risks, and as the owner of a company you know that because you took a chance and followed your passion in hopes of a more rewarding career. Facing and embracing failure as opposed to fearing it will offer you an opportunity, and your reward will be the knowledge of how to react to adversity.
5. What Adults Can Learn From Kids (8:05)
Would you ever take advice from a 13-year-old? Well, Adora Svitak encourages you to. In this piece, Svitak schools adults everywhere while debunking the myth that adults always know better. She effectively argues that age and experience often hinder creativity and limit ideation. As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to identify with the child-like spirit of daring and risk-taking; however, as you immerse yourself into your business and the stresses of success and fears of failure kick in, chances are you’ll be playing the role of the responsible adult sooner than you thought. To keep your inner child alive, turn to your team for fresh ideas and input; they don’t carry the burden you do, so tap into their imagination in order to explore ideas and opportunities that benefit your growth.
6. Success, Failure and the Drive to Keep Creating (7:14)
Eat, pray, love and create! Like J.K. Rowling, Elizabeth Gilbert passionately reinforces the idea that we learn best from our failure. When you experience great failure or even great success, it is important to remember your “home” so that you can return to it and stay focused on your goal. In this case, home is your passion, your craft, and your service. When faced with challenges, avoid paralysis by forging ahead and focusing on creating and producing. The actionable and creative energy will often help you work through the obstacles. If you’re wondering where that passion comes from, Gilbert has some ideas on the source of creativity.
The above links are just a few nuggets of inspiration available, and if you’re like me you’ll quickly realize investing a few minutes to explore nearly any subject in the TED Talks library can pay off big in your business and personal development. Who knows, maybe one day you’ll be inspiring others and presenting ideas worth sharing with your very own TED Talk!
Fabiola Stein is Sage’s Global Head of Marketing for Sage One, a cloud accounting and invoicing app for small businesses. Based at Sage in England, she handles the global digital marketing requirements for Sage business units in 14 countries. As a key player in marketing the Sage One brand, her dynamic, creative, and innovative initiatives have resulted in sustainable, profitable growth for the business. While Stein is a marketing strategist, innovator, and tactical leader from a global perspective, she has a strong passion for helping small businesses succeed.