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John Scherer: Quit Your Job and Find Your Work at TEDxKrakow (Transcript)

“What is that?”

“Well, I’ve got to be ready, I’ve got to show them how much I care about them, and so forth.”

All this is getting written down.

“OK, the kids are coming, what do you do?”

“Well, I get down on my knees and greet them at the front door.”

“On your knees? Why?”

“Well, I want them to know — I want to meet them at their own level and so forth.”

“What do you do during the day?”

“Well, I just follow them around and hope they’re OK. And if I get a chance to teach them something, I’ll do it.”

And all of this is getting written down.

Then she says goodbye to them at the door.

Now at the end of the story she’s kind of quiet, a little bit emotional. And I said, “What’s going on?”

She said, “Well, this is very sweet, but I don’t see what it has to do with leadership.”

Of course, I’m the consultant, right? So I’m scared half to death that there’s not going to be any connection between this and she’s not going to find it. But I look at the flip chart, and I said, “Well, let’s just look at this, and look at that and tell me what you see.” And she read it, and I said, “Maybe this is another description of you as a leader of this organization.”

And she said, “Oh my God.” She said, “My God. Do you mean that I could bring the grandmother to work?”

And all of her vice-presidents were going, “Oh, God, yes! Oh please, oh please!”

You know, and so, it’s really interesting. I came back three months later to do some follow-up, and the receptionist at the front desk, there was like four levels down from this executive team. She said, “John, come here. Grandma’s in the building.”

It was great, so —

So, the question I have for you is, who is that, that lives in you, that you need to bring to work?

Now, we’re going to do some more. This is what I call the “Deferred Life Plan.” This is the default plan that we were all taught in America. I’m convinced you were taught this here. You work really hard right now, do whatever you have to do in order to have what you need to have. Then as soon as you have enough of that, whatever it is, money or status, or the trophy spouse, or, you know, the toys, whatever you need. As soon as you have enough of that, then and only then do you get to be happy, be at peace, be relaxed, whatever it is.

Now, there’s one very small problem with this formula. It doesn’t work. Why? Because you never have enough. If I asked you, how much money do you need, what’s the answer going to be? “A little more than I have now.” I mean, everybody says that.

So you can never have enough — If you make your being happy, relaxed, or at peace, contingent on anything, you’ll never get there. Salespeople understand this. They make the sale, how do they feel? Good, very good, fantastic, awesome. I’ve just used all the Polish vocabulary I have.

And then, how long does that feeling last? Till the next phone call. And then it’s gone again. This doesn’t get you there. I’m proposing something extremely radical, which is to turn this whole thing around, and let what you do be an expression of who you are, and then you get feedback from the world in the form of money, but who cares? Because you’re starting from the place that what you’re doing is an expression of who you are.

Now, I want to talk about this word here: tov. I’m going to go back to my roots and the creation story in the book of Genesis, OK?

Now, the Native American storytellers in America will always say, “Now, I don’t know if the story happened exactly this way, but the story is true.” So, I’m almost positive that it didn’t happen exactly this way, but the story is true. At one point it says, “The Lord created the oceans and then looked and saw that it was…” What? “Good.” There must be some Lutherans in the room here.

So, that’s a terrible translation for that word. The word is, tov, in Hebrew. “Mazel tov,” “lots of tov.” A better translation is, “The Lord created the oceans and looked and said, ‘Yes! Yes! That’s what I’m talking about.”

“That’s a piece of me out there in the world where you can see it. You want to learn something about me? Look at my ocean.”

That’s “tov.”

My daughter — Let me do it this way. Oh, you can’t see my daughter, Emma, that’s so sad. My daughter, Emma, is 23, she’s going to school in Paris, France, studying theater, dance, and voice. And she started dancing when she could walk. And if Emma were dancing here, she would not be dancing to impress you, she would not be dancing to get feedback. She’d be dancing because she’s Emma. And Emma dances. You get Emma, you get a dancer. That’s it. The other day, on Skype she said, “Dad, if I break a leg and can’t dance, I don’t know what I’m going to do.” She said, “This is who I am.” You get Emma, you get a dancer.

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By Pangambam S

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