12 Career TED Talks Worth Listening To For Maximum Inspiration

By Jessica Best

girl leaning on fence looking up at the sky

Whether you need a morning pep talk to get your day started, a pick-me-up because you’re feeling a bit demotivated with your role or you’re just keen for some sound career advice, we have you well and truly covered.

And there’s no denying that everybody loves a good TED Talk from time to time, so treat your soul to these absolute goodies packed with motivation, enlightenment and a lot of realisation. 

Here are the most inspiring TED Talks for your career.

A Guide To Believing In Yourself

TV star, Catherine Reitman, shares her major lessons learned in seeing ideas through to their completion, not allowing others to reshape your vision and a little bit about family dynamics.  She speaks about her own life experience and going from feeling completely unqualified to being on set to being the showrunner (also known as the big bad boss) on her very own TV show. She’ll ask you whether you’ve felt that ‘tingle’ inside, that feeling you were made for something outside of your prescribed situation and how to harness that feeling and turn it into a reality. This one goes for 13 minutes so it’s an easy one to listen to while you make your bed and pop the kettle on.

How To Eliminate Self Doubt Forever

It’s the big questions in 20 minutes so strap yourself in for one of the best TED Talks of all time. Why do super smart people procrastinate? Are there really hidden patterns and belief systems within us that conspire against our best intentions? In this talk, human behaviour expert, Peter Sage, chats about some of the hidden reasons and unconscious patterns that cause us to self-sabotage and explains what we can actually do to change them. 

How To Stay Calm When You Know you’ll Be Stressed

You're not at your best when you're stressed. In fact, turns out, your brain has evolved over millennia to release cortisol in stressful situations, inhibiting rational, logical thinking but potentially helping you survive, say, being attacked by a lion or a bear (wink, wink). However, this TED Talk—Neuroscientist Daniel Levitin thinks there's a way to avoid making critical mistakes in stressful situations when your thinking becomes a little clouded.

2 Questions To Uncover Your Passion And Turn It Into A Career

Two questions, 10 minutes—what have you got to lose? We’d go so far as to say that this is the video that will change your life. Yep, in 600 seconds, social entrepreneur Noeline Kirabo reflects on the questions that will help you find your passion and potentially, life’s purpose.

How to Get Your Brain To Focus

It’s an age-old question but let’s be honest, we need a helping hand to focus our brains at times. At the helm of this talk is Chris Bailey (author of a book called Hyperfocus) and he goes through how to harness our attention to focus deeper, get distracted less, and even become more creative? That’s a winner in our eyes.

How To Make Stress Your Friend

This TED Talk has over 10 million views so crank the play button and get listening. If you’re, simply — stressed about stress, then this TED Talk will be a gamechanger for you (especially if you’ve got around 15 minutes to spare). While our normal ideas around stress have pretty much been made into a public health enemy, there’s some new research around which suggests your heart pounding and breath quickening in stressful situations, might not be as bad as you think it is. The awesome psychologist, Kelly McGonigal, will take you through the reasons why you should see stress as a positive and introduces us to an unsung mechanism for stress reduction: reaching out to others.

Get Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable

Okay, we get that’s easier said than done but feast your eyes on the video that will transform the way you go about your day at work. The beautiful Luvvie Ajayi isn't afraid to speak her mind or to be the one dissenting voice in a crowd, and this TED Talk basically says — neither should you. "Your silence serves no one," says the writer and activist says, outlining the importance of realising your own values and boundaries. In this bright, uplifting talk, Ajayi shares three questions to ask yourself if you're teetering on the edge of speaking up or quieting down — and encourages all of us to get a little more comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Grit: The Power of Passion And Perseverance

What does success look like to you? It can be a hard thing to imagine if you don’t try to visualise this often, or even if you’ve never thought about it before. Leaving a high-flying job in consulting, Angela Lee Duckworth took a job teaching math to seventh graders in a New York public school. She quickly realised that IQ wasn't the only thing separating the successful students from those who struggled. Here, she explains her theory of "grit" as a predictor of success and we guarantee this will give you some perspective in times of hustling during your career.

Motivate Yourself With Visions, Goals And Willpower

Why do we sometimes have a hard time reaching our goals? How can we achieve what we set out to do without feeling like we have to convince ourselves to get to work? The key, says Hugo Kehr (who’s a big-time psychologist), is motivation. This guy has created a model way of thinking, to teach us how to check-in with what drives us to pursue a particular goal and how to find the best support to reach it while also being happy. His current research focuses on what motivates us as humans, and why we sometimes struggle with conflicting drives and a lack of willpower so you’ll definitely be able to pick up some hot tips on how to push through overwhelming times at work. 

Three Questions To Unlock Your Authentic Career

We agree, we were a bit hesitant about this one at first too but this TED Talk does not disappoint. Ashley Stahl is an award-winning advocate for women in security and she currently runs her own business as a career coach to college students and fresh graduates seeking to unlock their career goals and land the jobs that they deserve. If you’ve got 10 minutes to spare, throw this talk on and prepare to have your mind blown.

How To Figure Out What You Really Want

Isn’t that just the age-old —what do we really want? Ashley Stahl is a career coach, author, former counterterrorism and podcast host and this outright legend has three key steps to help you find out what your life’s purpose is (sounds easy enough, right?). This TED talk is a goldie if you’re shrouded in a bit of "career fear” and want to tap out of your pigeonhole and into something you’re actually passionate about. Watch it here.

Unconventional Career Advice

If you’ve got a spare 15-minutes in the morning, you’ve got time to take in this glorious episode that will no doubt inspire some serious life changes. This Ted talk is packed with inspiring quotes from the likes of John Lennon, Steve Jobs and Tom Hanks and includes some epic ideas to keep in mind like—have a direction, don’t have a plan. 

And here are some hot tips on how to buy your first property.

Image credit: Mike Von

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