Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles 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. Then she says goodbye to them at the door. At the end of the story she's quiet, a little bit emotional. 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." (Laughter) 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.