Learning to be awesome at anything you do, including being a leader | Tasha Eurich | TEDxMileHigh

Translator: Alina Siluyanova
Reviewer: Denise RQ When was the last time you had
no idea what you were doing? (Laughter) OK, I’ll go first. How does that sound? A couple of years ago I decided
I wanted to learn Spanish in preparation for a trip
I was taking to Mexico. I know French, I thought;
how hard could it be? So I did what any self-respecting member of the 21st century would do
to become fluent in a language: I downloaded a flashcard
app on my iPhone. OK, so flash forward a few months. My two girlfriends and I
had just arrived in Cancun. We leave the airport, we get in the cab, and I decide that I’m going to make
some small talk with the cab driver. So I confidently state, (Spanish) “Estoy excitada ir
al hotel porque soy casada.” (Laughter) Some of you know
where this is going, yeah? OK. And the look on the cab driver’s face made it instantly clear
that I had not just said, “I’m excited to go to the hotel
because I’m tired.” What I’d actually said was: “I’m sexually excited to go to the hotel
because I’ve just got married.” (Laughter) So, needless to say,
I felt exposed and embarrassed. But what about you? Maybe, you’re struggling
to run your business, fighting to master a skill
you need to do your job, or just trying to lower
your golf handicap. Have you been meaning
to get a mentor or take a class, or, in my case, find a Spanish tutor,
but you never really got around to it? You know what I’m talking about, right? It’s that thing
you’ve been dying to master. And if you’re a type A person like me,
it probably haunts you in the form of a line on your To-Do list
that you never cross off, because you’re so bogged down
in the tyranny of the urgent. Have you experienced that? So, whether you’re a business leader,
an employee, a hobbyist or a beer league hockey player, how much time and energy
do you invest to become totally awesome at what you do? Here’s my big idea. When it comes to your own development you can’t keep waiting
until you’re less busy or for someone else to do it for you. No one will truly invest in you but you. Now, my life’s work
is to help leaders be better. This passion began in my childhood when I saw the power of leaders
to transform people’s lives. Shortly after my parent’s divorce,
my mother started her own business, and it didn’t just support our family; it supported the families
of the 25 people who worked for her. And now, as a grown up,
and an organizational psychologist, I apply this scientific principles
of human behavior to help leaders and companies succeed. But a client of mine recently explained
what I do far better than I ever could. Here’s what she said, “Leadership is my Everest,
and you are my Sherpa.” (Laughter)
Pretty great. So, in the last 12-years of being
an executive Sherpa, or coach, I stumbled upon a pattern. Three steps for radical improvement that don’t just apply
to business leadership, they apply to anything
you want to do better. And today I’m going
to share them with you. But before I do that,
you might be thinking, “Really? Anything?” In short, yes! Whether you’re a body builder
or a bartender, a surgeon, or a screen writer,
a violinist, or a volunteer, if there’s something
you want to do better, these three things will help you
become totally awesome at what you do. OK, so three things. Should we get started? Excellent. All right, step 1 is to know thyself. Here’s the bottom line: most people are completely delusional
about their own skills and capabilities. (Laughter) It’s true, and I can prove it. Researchers Justin Kruger and
David Dunning uncovered this phenomenon which they modestly named
the Dunning-Kruger effect. But some of you might be more
into NPR than science, and you might know it as
the Lake Wobegon effect. (Laughter) [Welcome to Lake Wobegon,
where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking,
and all the children are above average.] In a series of four experiments
Kruger and Dunning found that most people completely
overestimate their talent. What was even scarier, at least to me,
was that the least competent people were the worst at recognizing
their incompetence. Are we bad people? Rarely. Are we stupid? Not usually. We just live in a world
where people hardly ever tell the truth. We’re polite, we’re busy, we’re afraid, and then there’s the classic
frontal attack of: “Can I give you some feedback?” Now, if you don’t run the other way
when someone says that to you, you’re probably feeling a little defensive when you hear
what they have to say, aren’t you? So, for me, in my work coaching leaders, I’m often sent in
to tell someone the truth when everyone else is afraid to. And today, I’ll tell you a story
about an executive I coach named Steve. But remember these three steps
apply to anything you want to be better. OK, so here’s the deal. When I met Steve, he thought
he was doing a bang-up job. (Laughter) But when I talked to his team, I learned pretty quickly
that that wasn’t the case. They said he was as smart as they come. But they told me he had some,
let’s just call them “quirks”. No, no, let’s be honest.
His team thought he was a jerk. He would bark orders at them.
He would question their competence. He would scream at them, in a way
they found unprofessional and frightening. This is a true story. One of his employees
had just started taking blood pressure medicine because of it. And lucky me, I got to be the jerk
who told him all of that. So, just imagine that you’re with me
in Steve’s palatial corner office. So, we sit across from each other
at his huge wooden conference table. I look him dead in the eyes. I said, “Steve, there’s no way
around this. Your team hates you.” (Laughter) Are you surprised? And his horrified expression
said that he was incredibly surprised. He said, “How could they say
these things about me? (Raising voice)
How could they say that I yell?” (Laughter) So then he stared out of the window
for what seemed to me like an eternity. He said, “You mean
I’ve been doing these things for the last 20-years, and nobody told me? But eager to give Steve
some good news, I said, “Steve, don’t worry,
these problems are totally fixable, and you just took
the most important step.” “I did? Really? Great! Wait, what did I do?” “You’ve just accepted reality.” [Truth] So what about you? If you had room for improvement,
would you know? Delusions about ourselves
are the roadblocks on the journey to becoming awesome. So, no matter how hard it is, you have to take responsibility
for learning the truth about yourself. So how do you do that? Here’s my advice. For you, step 1 means
knowing where you stand. So first, if you have them, you should be looking
at your objective measures of success. A surgeon might look
at her complication rates. A gardener might look at which of her
plants have lived and which have not. Then you look at your subjective measures. The easiest way to do this is to find
someone who will tell you the truth. Ask them: what am I doing
that is helping me succeed? What’s getting in the way, and how
can I adapt my approach to be better? Remember, above all, seek the truth. OK, so you’ve gotten this feedback,
you know where you stand. Step 2 is to pick one thing to work on. In my experience, once people have
all this feedback, they are raring to go, and they wake up the next day
and try to change everything. Think about that.
It’s ridiculous, isn’t it? It’s like going on a crash diet
to lose 10 pound in a week. Here’s the truth, it is far better
to make progress on one thing than little to none on many things. Let’s go back to Steve. We can all probably agree that he had lots
of choices of things to work on, right? But there was one thing that would give him
the most bang for his buck. Do you know what it is? Steve had to learn
to get control of his anger. We agreed that we wouldn’t work
on anything else until we got that under control. So, over the course of the next month,
that’s exactly what he did. He learned to soften
the tone of his voice. He learned to bite his tongue. He learned to question instead of blame. And, lo and behold, in a matter of weeks,
he started to get a handle on it. So we moved to listening skills.
Then to coaching. On and on it went,
one thing at a time for months. So what do you think Steve noticed? In a very short time, he felt
a new level of confidence. Now, this wasn’t hollow confidence
that comes from delusion, it was real confidence
because he was doing the right thing. Now, what did Steve’s team notice? In a very short period,
they started talking about this wonderful guy
who they called the new Steve. (Laughter) It was awesome, and the best part
was when he would back track, which we all do
when we’re trying to improve, they would ask him, lovingly,
“What would the new Steve say about that?” (Laughter) It’s pretty great, right? So for you, how do you
pick your one thing? Here’s my advice: take a piece of paper
and draw a line down the middle. On the left hand side list all
of the skills you’re trying to improve. Then on the right hand side
for each skill, on a scale of 1 to 10, I want you to imagine
that you only got better at that, and then rate how much
more awesome you would be. Start with the highest number
and work your way down. So, you know yourself,
you’ve got your one thing. If you stop here, you’re making
a mistake I see all the time, and it’s very dangerous. I call it delusional development, the futile hope that just by wanting
to get better at something, that magically you will,
as if through osmosis. It’s kind of like my trying to learn
through a flashcard app. I think we’ve established
that that was “no bueno”. So, the only thing at this point standing
between you and awesome is daily practice. For hundreds of years people used
to think that excellence was inborn. For example, scientists used to think
that the best marathon runners had differences in their lungs
or their muscles. But recent research reveals
that these differences are not inborn. What makes someone exceptional is
that they earn it through daily practice. So, the best marathon runners
don’t actually show physical differences; what’s different is how much they train
in the weeks leading up to the marathon. So, let’s go back to Steve, shall we? Steve learned to practice daily
by developing a habit. Everyday on his way to work he’d think
about what he was trying to improve, and he’d make a plan to practice it. Then on the way home,
he would think about how he did, and maybe some ideas
for what he would the next day. In sum total, Steve probably spent
less than 30 minutes a week doing this, and he saw massive returns. In less than six months,
his team started closing new deals. He felt happier and more confident, and his boss, who hired me, was ecstatic. So, what do you think?
Are some people born to be great? Sometimes. But my belief is this: Steve showed us
that with effort and commitment almost anyone can be better. In his case a better leader. Now, by the way, I always say
that 96% of leaders can improve. The other 4% are what we call sociopaths (Laughter) who lack the ability to connect with other
people on a fundamental human level. Right, so unless you’re a sociopath,
you can be a better leader. But I digress. Let’s get back to practice. The bottom line, you will not improve unless you make
a daily commitment to practice. So, everyday, I want you
to jump out of bed and say, “Today is the day
I’ll get better at my one thing!” Some days you’ll feel stuck. Other days
you’ll be thrilled when something clicks. But every day you’ll learn,
and every day you’ll get better. So, before we end, I want you
to imagine that you are there. You’ve become totally awesome
at what you do. What’s that like? How does it feel?
How’s your life better? Steve did it. Was he a superhuman?
An exception to the rule? Absolutely not. Steve was a normal person who made a true commitment
to his own development. Know thyself. Pick one thing.
Practice daily. That’s all there is to it. And I promise you, after using
this framework with thousands of leaders, I know with absolute
certainty that it works. Now, here’s the time, here’s the moment
for you to make a decision. As your Sherpa, I can show you the way,
but this is your mountain to climb. Remember: no one will invest
in you but you. So, make the commitment.
Follow the three steps. You’ll become more awesome
at what you do everyday, and you’ll be utterly unstoppable. What are you waiting for? (Applause) Thank you. (Applause)


  1. BEL- lakhdar

    May 13, 2017 at 7:57 am

    so impressive

  2. Muhammed Bin ahmed

    May 19, 2017 at 8:13 pm

    hey..im frm india..nd i would like to learn english well..pls…anyone come to the whatsapp..for helping me..im a boy having positive vibes..ha ha..jst joking…my no is +919747565240


    May 21, 2017 at 4:58 am

    "my two girlfriends and I" wow that is like an empowered xxi century girl

  4. Diepak Paul

    May 21, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    You do your work, no one else will.

  5. Aditya Kumar

    May 22, 2017 at 7:36 pm

    nice one

  6. sanjeev mital

    May 27, 2017 at 8:04 am

    I love this lady ….. I want to be like her..🙌🙌 one day I will be

  7. xmish16

    June 3, 2017 at 3:49 am

    Thank ya Jebus

  8. tramps like us

    June 11, 2017 at 2:07 am

    Leaders don't always listen, don't care what you have to say and if you say something negative to them they'll fire you.

  9. bollyblob

    June 16, 2017 at 1:49 am

    are we bad people? usually… are we stupid?… well i firmly believe 99% of the earths population (i think im beeing generous) is simply idiotic+incompetent+lots of other similar things

  10. Count D

    June 18, 2017 at 5:29 am

    Right off the bat, if you're seeking to be "awesome," you're utterly and irrevocably fucked.

  11. Bonnie Qian

    June 19, 2017 at 1:04 am

    So great!!! Thank you very much!

  12. khaled selim

    June 19, 2017 at 3:04 pm


  13. Pioneer 37

    June 19, 2017 at 4:41 pm

    Simplest and the most Effective!

  14. Just Cool

    July 5, 2017 at 6:31 pm

    Hundred likes and I would be 🌟 awesome…

  15. Harry Bijl

    July 8, 2017 at 8:43 am

    in reality i see when people try their best they won't get near as when they try their best and screw over people there's allmost allways blood on the hands of succesful people

  16. Nirvana Freedom

    July 8, 2017 at 8:25 pm

    she's good n funny. like her

  17. mariel campos

    July 14, 2017 at 6:18 am

    I watched this months ago and I didn't quite get it fully. So I just started to get to know myself. Now, I'm watching this again and I can see the things I need to work on! Awesome and motivating speech 🙌🏽

  18. Christine Zhong

    July 16, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    awesome speech that I have ever heard!!!!! And, I also commit myself to be awesome.
    Tks for your video and sharing. 1# know thyselves 2# pick one thing per month 3# practice practice everyday!!!

  19. Rakib Hossain Raaz

    July 25, 2017 at 8:26 am

    Really it's a awesome speech!!

  20. Renan Quarterback 7

    July 26, 2017 at 9:08 pm

    Great speach!

  21. sorunke taiwo

    July 28, 2017 at 5:54 am

    Nice Talk.

  22. sorunke taiwo

    July 28, 2017 at 5:54 am

    Nice Talk.

  23. Prateek Sharma

    August 3, 2017 at 7:43 am

    Great talk! Thanks for showing the way

  24. #zeal Azax

    August 16, 2017 at 4:01 pm

    So is trump a sociopath.

  25. Tomohisa Maruyama

    August 17, 2017 at 3:15 pm

    So nice presentation. Thank you.

  26. Oberdan Aguiar

    August 22, 2017 at 7:16 pm

    You're awesome Sasha. I really appreciated your speech.

  27. Basheer M-Hasan

    August 25, 2017 at 6:34 am

    Thanks for all You give me a great thought

  28. Muhammad Wahab

    August 26, 2017 at 8:19 am

    Outstanding !


    August 31, 2017 at 8:27 am

    no one will truly invest in you but YOU !

    Thank you for revealing these 3 simple powerful steps!!!

  30. Wadiah al-filfil

    August 31, 2017 at 11:09 pm


  31. Anna Johannes

    September 7, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    Thank you so much for this content.

  32. Kadir Jilani

    September 9, 2017 at 4:56 pm

    You are awesome <3

  33. Ahmed Abdlhady

    September 17, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    You are very good coatch thank you👍

  34. Tim Dunk

    September 23, 2017 at 7:56 am

    Beautifully said – this is your mountain.

  35. Melinda LaCavera

    September 24, 2017 at 12:06 am

    Right on! Great talk!

  36. Michelle Zareas

    October 11, 2017 at 8:42 pm

    Incredible advice, thank you!

  37. Odin2LC

    October 12, 2017 at 4:56 pm

    Smart and beautiful. Great presentation.

  38. Nawsheen Huq

    October 12, 2017 at 9:44 pm

    OMG I love the speech

  39. bdr albdr

    October 13, 2017 at 9:30 am

    you are pretty

  40. Volkan İlkehan

    October 24, 2017 at 5:44 pm

    I am doing a hw about this right now I have to ask 3 questions to my class about what she says

  41. vsleboss cacakaka

    October 30, 2017 at 9:37 pm

    Before buying on gearbest, know that it's thieves.
    They do not repay,
    on google search for "Thieves Gearbest".

  42. MotherfuckingDesiree

    November 2, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    Her outfit is cute af. Great talk though.

  43. Rhys Baker

    November 21, 2017 at 5:36 pm

    Watch my new talk: Learning how to be perfect. No strings attached. Including being a leader.

  44. Tara Khanom

    December 6, 2017 at 8:19 pm

    very good

  45. Omnipotent Being

    February 16, 2018 at 9:32 pm

    That was the first grade approach of improving yourself in any area. Sure you will make improvements in anything in knowing your level, working on one thing daily and the compound effect will take over but there is so much more than that. My god that was literally a realization I had in first grade. Now we have flow state, Tim Ferris' methods, learn a new skill in 20 hours book, hidden book of talents and much more on how to learn anything 10X faster than normal and be in the top .01% in your field.

  46. Ralph Garrett

    February 21, 2018 at 10:14 am

    Great Video!! Keep up the great work!!!

  47. OmniversoSinDios

    April 5, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    this girl is really hot!

  48. M. Vieira

    April 11, 2018 at 6:22 pm

    I' ve liked a lot Tasha, and I folow you on facebook, you are a fantastic person!

  49. Muki Abdi

    April 20, 2018 at 11:01 am

    I will be AWESOME

  50. Three Jewels

    August 3, 2018 at 8:35 am

    No… this is fake understanding. Right off the bat.

  51. Swagoto Roy

    February 9, 2019 at 4:43 am

    Self practice is the most critical step here… And that too needs to be done on a routine basis! this is where most people fail…the key is to have a goal or mission in mind so that energy and motivation drive you! Good talk in all.

  52. Swagoto Roy

    February 9, 2019 at 4:43 am

    Self practice is the most critical step here… And that too needs to be done on a routine basis! this is where most people fail…the key is to have a goal or mission in mind so that energy and motivation drive you! Good talk in all.

  53. The Last Few Pounds

    February 17, 2019 at 9:57 pm

    The content was there, but the constant lip-smacking drove me up a wall. It's a tick that a lot of people have, especially in public speaking.

Leave a Reply