Yesterday, my job entailed stapling. I printed and stapled all day. Riveting. To help pass the time and survive the monotony, I tuned into some TED speeches. TED is a non-profit whose goal is to have “Ideas Worth Spreading” available, for free, to the public. They do this by offering brief, free lectures or speeches from leaders in the fields of Technology, Entertainment, and Design (hence TED), but really this also includes business leaders, politicians, etc. It’s a great site and worth an exploration. I listened to three different speeches, but these two really stuck out for me:
Sheryl Sandberg Sheryl is the COO of Facebook. She is talking to a group of women about tips on how to keep women in the workforce–and aiming for the corner office. Really, though, its great advice for anyone in the workplace on how to keep yourself in the game. Paricularly interesting was her tip to “always sit at the table.” At my office, whenever we have meetings in the boardroom, most people–including me–sit on the outer periphery, even if there are chairs left at the table. I tend to do it not so much because I am a woman, but because of my title. I always think that the executive team and managers gets first dibs at the table. Also, all my friends sit along the side, and I tend to prefer to sit by them. After listening to her speech, however, I realize that by simply sitting at the table you are making a statement. I would call it sitting in the spot you want, not the spot you have. We’ll see where I choose to sit at our next all-staff meeting, but I appreciated her opening my eyes to a new perspective on how such a simple thing can mean so much.
Brene Brown Brene Brown is a Research Professor at the University of Houston who studies vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame. Pretty loaded stuff, I’d say. In this speech she talks about how her decision to study these things led to her own personal exploration of vulnerability. She really struck a chord with me because I related so much to her personality. Type A, control freak, avoider of vulnerability–and funny! I’ve got some work to do on the subject, but she opened my eyes to the fact that without allowing oneself to be vulnerable you are also shutting out a lot of other potential emotions and experiences. Maybe I was starting to understand this anyway, but it was important for me to hear out loud.
I’m going to go back to TED today while I continue to print & collate. I really am not sure what people in the working world of old did without the Internet.