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  • This is great.

  • (Polish) Welcome, everyone.

  • (Applause)

  • (Polish) Hello. (Laughter)

  • (Polish) I'm sorry, I understand a little,

  • (Polish) but I don't speak Polish well.

  • (Polish) I'm sorry.

  • (Polish) Is English good? (Laughter)

  • (Polish) I hope so.

  • (Polish) We'll see, (English) we shall see.

  • Can you turn the master volume down up there a little bit?

  • Someone in the sound booth? Good.

  • This has been a great experience for me, living in Poland

  • for the last 3 years, I've lived in Cracow,

  • I love your city, the people, Poland.

  • Thank you, it's a great place.

  • (Applause)

  • I go back to Seattle, where I have my office.

  • People say, "What are you doing in Poland?"

  • And I say, "You've never been there."

  • (Laughter)

  • Now, there's certain things that are different about Poland than America.

  • We were at the end of one of our 3.5-day leadership development seminars,

  • and a participant came up at the end,

  • and I said, "How was this for you?"

  • And he said, "Nieźle, nieźle."

  • (Laughter)

  • My first week in Poland. He walked away,

  • and I turn to my colleague Darek, and I said, "Darek, what does that mean?"

  • And he said, "Not bad." (Laughter)

  • And I said, "Not bad?"

  • (Laughter)

  • Geez, 3.5 days!

  • And Darek said, "The guy just told you that you changed his life."

  • (Laughter)

  • (Applause)

  • And I said, "Well, why didn't he tell me?"

  • He said, "He did, he told you it was 'not bad'." (Laughter)

  • He said, "John, this is Poland!" (Laughter)

  • So, anyway, it's been a wonderful time here.

  • I want to talk with you about something dear to my heart,

  • and it goes like this:

  • How to turn your workplace, your job,

  • into an experience of personal development?

  • You know what a midlife crisis is, right?

  • A midlife crisis is when you get to the top rung of your ladder

  • and realize you leaned it against the wrong wall.

  • (Laughter)

  • (Applause)

  • Now --

  • (Applause)

  • So, I'm going to do anything I can in the next 18, now 16 minutes,

  • to help you lean your ladder against the right wall.

  • (Polish) All right?

  • John Scherer: OK. Audience member: (Polish) Not bad.

  • J.S.: (Polish) Not bad! (Laughter)

  • (Polish) Not bad, (English) not bad, OK. (Polish) We'll see.

  • OK. (Laughter)

  • Now, some of you that are already past your midlife crisis,

  • I have another saying for you, and that is,

  • "It's never too late to become what you might have been."

  • OK? So here we go. We're going to go fast.

  • Where do you spend most of your awake time?

  • What's the answer?

  • Audience: Work. J.S: Work.

  • Maybe some of you are students, but when I ask the question:

  • "How many of you spend 8 hours a day at work?"

  • Let's say you work, raise your hand, 8 hours a day.

  • OK, 9 hours a day?

  • 10 hours a day?

  • Come on 11? Come on 12?

  • See? OK, I rest my case. (Laughter)

  • You work more than you sleep.

  • You spend more time at work awake than anywhere else in your life,

  • so the workplace is an extremely important part of your life.

  • Now, I ask people, I'm going to ask you.

  • As a human being, are you a finished product,

  • or are you a work in progress?

  • What would your answer be?

  • Work in progress, everybody says that.

  • I go, "OK, where do you do your progressing?

  • Where do you do your developing?"

  • And people talk about seminars,

  • and they talk about their religious institutions.

  • They're reading books and so forth.

  • And I say, "What about the workplace?" And they go, "Workplace?

  • What's that got to do with, you know, progressing?"

  • So this is my mission in life, really.

  • It's to help people turn their workplace

  • into a place where they can grow and develop.

  • In America, this is kind of the way it's seen by many people.

  • It's like I have a life and I have work.

  • How do these two relate to each other?

  • Some people have it -- Let's see, do I have a laser here? Does this work?

  • Yeah, oh, cool.

  • So, some people have a life and a work

  • and they're trying to put them together in some equal fashion.

  • Other people say, "You know what? No, my life --"

  • I think some of the people who were up here, performing,

  • are this way: "I've got a life. And my work is a part of my life

  • but it's not my whole life."

  • This is what I experience in Poland:

  • I experience that --

  • (Laughter)

  • I was giving a talk recently in Wrocław, and a young man came up to me,

  • he's a photographer,

  • and he said, "My mother said, 'Why are you wasting

  • the education that we gave you?

  • Why don't you go get a real job?'"

  • And, because --

  • He said, "My mother is from the older generation in Poland,

  • where the important thing is to have a job.

  • It doesn't matter what the job is, it doesn't matter if it fits you or not.

  • Doesn't matter if it has anything to do with what you really want to do.

  • You've got a job? Keep the job.

  • "For Pete's sake, why don't you get a job, so you'll have a job?"

  • I'll tell you in a minute why I'm going to advocate that all of you --

  • How many of you have a job?

  • In a minute you're going to see, I'm going to advocate

  • that you quit your job. So standby.

  • (Laughter)

  • Don't get nervous, it's alright. (Laughter)

  • This is what I notice a lot in Poland.

  • People actually build a wall

  • between their life and their workplace.

  • My friends have told me that in the old days

  • your family system, your social and your friends

  • were completely separate from work.

  • They said, "You can work beside someone for years

  • and not know really the name of their spouse

  • or if they have children or any problems going on in their life."

  • It's completely separate.

  • So what I'm saying is you can't separate --

  • How can you separate your life from your work?

  • You are a human being in both of those places.

  • So I've got a suggestion for you here.

  • Oh, you can't see that.

  • It's a really cool picture, but you can't see it.

  • (Laughter)

  • It's not what you made today, when you go to work,

  • it's not just what you made,

  • but what are you being made into.

  • It's not just what you produced for the company,

  • but what is being produced in you

  • while you're producing that for the company.

  • Or like this: It's not just what happened today at work,

  • but what is happening inside of you

  • while all that stuff is happening at work.

  • Two people go to work, side by side:

  • One person goes home at the end of the day and says,

  • Oh my God! What a disaster... I'm going to... I..."

  • The person working right beside them goes home and says,

  • "Man, I really learned a lot. This is incredible."

  • So, "Everyone gets the experience, some get the lesson."

  • My favorite quote from T.S. Eliot.

  • I'm going to rip through some of this.

  • I think we show up with an assignment of 3 parts:

  • discover who we are, express it into the world

  • in such a way that makes a creative difference.

  • Now, I'm going to suggest that you turn your job, your workplace

  • into a classroom, or a dojo. I do a little Aikido.

  • It's like a place where you can practice being who you are.

  • Why not?

  • Your faculty is waiting for you every day.

  • And the faculty are those idiots you have to work with.

  • (Laughter)

  • You know. In fact, the worst person there is your most important teacher.

  • But that's the advanced class, OK?

  • The curriculum is all that happens to you all day long.

  • I know the word in Polish, but they told me not to say it.

  • But it's all the stuff that happens to you during the day,

  • that's your curriculum.

  • And, you know what? There are no grades

  • except what happens inside your body

  • when you go home at the end of the day.

  • That's how you measure what happens at work.

  • And there is a final exam, but by then it's too late.

  • A "job" by the way, the word "job,"

  • comes from the old-English word, "gobbe,"

  • which means, "a lump of something."

  • So, in the old days you took stuff from here, and you moved it over here.

  • You got paid by how many lumps, or "gobbes,"

  • you moved from here to here.

  • So, in, out, in, out.

  • Today: in basket, out basket.

  • In basket, out basket.

  • All day every day, no matter where you are, whatever level.

  • You take stuff in, you move it over here.

  • That's a job.

  • Personally, I don't want to have a job.

  • If that's a job, I don't want one, OK?

  • I recommend that you not have a job,

  • but you look for your work.

  • What is your work?

  • What is the work that you're here for?

  • "Work" comes from the Greek word for "erg,"

  • which, I think, I'm going to look at my physics man here,

  • I think it's how many calories it takes to move one gram one centimeter.

  • If I remember my physics right, 101. Is that close enough?

  • (Polish) Audience: Not bad. J.S.: Not bad.

  • (Laughter)

  • (Applause)

  • So, work got switched from "erg" to "werk" in old German,

  • which then became our word, "work."

  • So, "work" is energy with a direction.

  • It's purposeful energy.

  • So, personally I think you should

  • quit your job and find your work. Okay?

  • It's seriously a very important thing to do.

  • Now, I want to tell a story about this, real quickly.

  • I was doing an executive seminar for a woman

  • who ran a big corporation in Seattle,

  • and her team of vice-presidents.

  • We'll call her Charlotte.

  • And behind her back, they called her "the dragon-lady."

  • OK? So, (Polish) in Polish?

  • How do you say, "dragon lady"?

  • Audience: Smoczyca. J.S.: Yeah, like that, OK.

  • So, at this point in the seminar, she says,

  • "This is sweet and wonderful, but what has this got to do

  • with leadership and running this organization?"

  • And I said, "OK. What would you do with your life

  • if you didn't have to come to work every day?"

  • She said, "I'd go home and play with my grandchildren."

  • I said, "OK. Let's go with that."

  • And I asked one of the vice-presidents to take some notes.

  • So they went up to the easel, flip-chart.

  • And I said, "What is this about your grandchildren?"

  • She said, "Well, first of all, I have to get the house ready."

  • "What does that mean?" "I want to make sure it's safe.

  • and that there's some interesting things there

  • for them to do,

  • that they have enough food and things to do,

  • and then get myself ready. I've got to have the right attitude."

  • "What is it?" "I've got to be ready and show them

  • how much I care about them, and so on."

  • All this is getting written down.

  • "The kids are coming, what do you do?"

  • "I greet them at the door on my knees."

  • "On your knees? Why?"

  • "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.