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  • Wow, what an honor. I always wondered what this would feel like.

  • So eight years ago, I got the worst career advice of my life.

  • I had a friend tell me,

  • "Don't worry about how much you like the work you're doing now.

  • It's all about just building your resume."

  • And I'd just come back from living in Spain for a while,

  • and I'd joined this Fortune 500 company. I thought, "This is fantastic.

  • I'm going to have big impact on the world."

  • I had all these ideas. And within about two months,

  • I noticed at about 10am every morning I had this strange urge

  • to want to slam my head through the monitor of my computer.

  • I don't know if anyone's ever felt that.

  • And I noticed pretty soon after that that all the competitors in our space

  • had already automated my job role.

  • And this is right about when I got this sage advice to build up my resume.

  • Well, as I'm trying to figure out

  • what two-story window I'm going to jump out of and change things up,

  • I read some altogether different advice from Warren Buffett, and he said,

  • "Taking jobs to build up your resume is the same as saving up sex for old age."

  • (Laughter)

  • And I heard that, and that was all I needed.

  • Within two weeks, I was out of there, and I left with one intention:

  • to find something that I could screw up. That's how tough it was.

  • I wanted to have some type of impact. It didn't matter what it was.

  • And I found pretty quickly that I wasn't alone:

  • it turns out that over 80 percent of the people around

  • don't enjoy their work.

  • I'm guessing this room is different,

  • but that's the average that Deloitte has done with their studies.

  • So I wanted to find out, what is it that sets these people apart,

  • the people who do the passionate, world-changing work,

  • that wake up inspired every day,

  • and then these people, the other 80 percent

  • who lead these lives of quiet desperation.

  • So I started to interview all these people doing this inspiring work,

  • and I read books and did case studies,

  • 300 books altogether on purpose and career and all this,

  • totally just self-immersion, really for the selfish reason of --

  • I wanted to find the work that I couldn't not do,

  • what that was for me.

  • But as I was doing this, more and more people started to ask me,

  • "You're into this career thing.

  • I don't like my job. Can we sit down for lunch?"

  • I'd say, "Sure." But I would have to warn them,

  • because at this point, my quit rate was also 80 percent.

  • Of the people I'd sit down with for lunch, 80 percent would quit their job

  • within two months.

  • I was proud of this, and it wasn't that I had any special magic.

  • It was that I would ask one simple question.

  • It was, "Why are you doing the work that you're doing?"

  • And so often their answer would be,

  • "Well, because somebody told me I'm supposed to."

  • And I realized that so many people around us

  • are climbing their way up this ladder that someone tells them to climb,

  • and it ends up being leaned up against the wrong wall,

  • or no wall at all.

  • The more time I spent around these people and saw this problem,

  • I thought, what if we could create a community,

  • a place where people could feel like they belonged

  • and that it was OK to do things differently,

  • to take the road less traveled, where that was encouraged,

  • and inspire people to change?

  • And that later became what I now call Live Your Legend,

  • which I'll explain in a little bit.

  • But as I've made these discoveries, I noticed a framework

  • of really three simple things

  • that all these different passionate world-changers have in common,

  • whether you're a Steve Jobs or if you're just, you know,

  • the person that has the bakery down the street.

  • But you're doing work that embodies who you are.

  • I want to share those three with you, so we can use them as a lens

  • for the rest of today and hopefully the rest of our life.

  • The first part of this three-step passionate work framework

  • is becoming a self-expert and understanding yourself,

  • because if you don't know what you're looking for,

  • you're never going to find it.

  • And the thing is that no one is going to do this for us.

  • There's no major in university on passion and purpose and career.

  • I don't know how that's not a required double major,

  • but don't even get me started on that.

  • I mean, you spend more time picking out a dorm room TV set

  • than you do you picking your major and your area of study.

  • But the point is, it's on us to figure that out,

  • and we need a framework, we need a way to navigate through this.

  • And so the first step of our compass is finding out what our unique strengths are.

  • What are the things that we wake up loving to do no matter what,

  • whether we're paid or we're not paid, the things that people thank us for?

  • And the Strengths Finder 2.0 is a book and also an online tool.

  • I highly recommend it for sorting out what it is that you're naturally good at.

  • And next, what's our framework or our hierarchy for making decisions?

  • Do we care about the people, our family, health,

  • or is it achievement, success, all this stuff?

  • We have to figure out what it is to make these decisions,

  • so we know what our soul is made of,

  • so that we don't go selling it to some cause we don't give a shit about.

  • And then the next step is our experiences.

  • All of us have these experiences. We learn things every day, every minute

  • about what we love, what we hate,

  • what we're good at, what we're terrible at.

  • And if we don't spend time paying attention to that

  • and assimilating that learning

  • and applying it to the rest of our lives, it's all for nothing.

  • Every day, every week, every month of every year

  • I spend some time just reflecting on what went right,

  • what went wrong, and what do I want to repeat,

  • what can I apply more to my life.

  • And even more so than that, as you see people, especially today,

  • who inspire you, who are doing things where you say

  • "Oh God, what Jeff is doing, I want to be like him."

  • Why are you saying that? Open up a journal.

  • Write down what it is about them that inspires you.

  • It's not going to be everything about their life,

  • but whatever it is, take note on that,

  • so over time we'll have this repository of things

  • that we can use to apply to our life and have a more passionate existence

  • and make a better impact.

  • Because when we start to put these things together,

  • we can then define what success actually means to us,

  • and without these different parts of the compass, it's impossible.

  • We end up in the situation -- we have that scripted life

  • that everybody seems to be living going up this ladder to nowhere.

  • It's kind of like in Wall Street 2, if anybody saw that,

  • the peon employee asks the big Wall Street banker CEO,

  • "What's your number? Everyone's got a number,

  • where if they make this money, they'll leave it all."

  • He says, "Oh, it's simple. More."

  • And he just smiles.

  • And it's the sad state of most of the people

  • that haven't spent time understanding what matters for them,

  • who keep reaching for something that doesn't mean anything to us,

  • but we're doing it because everyone said we're supposed to.

  • But once we have this framework together,

  • we can start to identify the things that make us come alive.

  • You know, before this, a passion could come and hit you in the face,

  • or maybe in your possible line of work, you might throw it away

  • because you don't have a way of identifying it.

  • But once you do, you can see something that's congruent with my strengths,

  • my values, who I am as a person,

  • so I'm going to grab ahold of this, I'm going to do something with it,

  • and I'm going to pursue it and try to make an impact with it.

  • And Live Your Legend and the movement we've built

  • wouldn't exist if I didn't have this compass to identify,

  • "Wow, this is something I want to pursue and make a difference with."

  • If we don't know what we're looking for, we're never going to find it,

  • but once we have this framework, this compass,

  • then we can move on to what's next -- and that's not me up there --

  • doing the impossible and pushing our limits.

  • There's two reasons why people don't do things.

  • One is they tell themselves they can't do them,

  • or people around them tell them they can't do them.

  • Either way, we start to believe it.

  • Either we give up, or we never start in the first place.

  • The things is, everyone was impossible until somebody did it.

  • Every invention, every new thing in the world,

  • people thought were crazy at first.

  • Roger Bannister and the four-minute mile, it was a physical impossibility

  • to break the four-minute mile in a foot race

  • until Roger Bannister stood up and did it.

  • And then what happened?

  • Two months later, 16 people broke the four-minute mile.

  • The things that we have in our head that we think are impossible

  • are often just milestones waiting to be accomplished

  • if we can push those limits a bit.

  • And I think this starts with probably your physical body and fitness

  • more than anything, because we can control that.

  • If you don't think you can run a mile,

  • you show yourself you can run a mile or two,

  • or a marathon, or lose five pounds, or whatever it is,

  • you realize that confidence compounds

  • and can be transferred into the rest of your world.

  • And I've actually gotten into the habit of this a little bit with my friends.

  • We have this little group. We go on physical adventures,

  • and recently, I found myself in a kind of precarious spot.

  • I'm terrified of deep, dark, blue water.

  • I don't know if anyone's ever had that same fear

  • ever since they watched Jaws 1, 2, 3 and 4 like six times

  • when I was a kid.

  • But anything above here, if it's murky, I can already feel it right now.

  • I swear there's something in there.

  • Even if it's Lake Tahoe, it's fresh water, totally unfounded fear,

  • ridiculous, but it's there.

  • Anyway, three years ago I find myself on this tugboat

  • right down here in the San Francisco Bay.

  • It's a rainy, stormy, windy day, and people are getting sick on the boat,

  • and I'm sitting there wearing a wetsuit, and I'm looking out the window

  • in pure terror thinking I'm about to swim to my death.

  • I'm going to try to swim across the Golden Gate.

  • And my guess is some people in this room might have done that before.

  • I'm sitting there, and my buddy Jonathan, who had talked me into it,

  • he comes up to me and he could see the state I was in.

  • And he says, "Scott, hey man, what's the worst that could happen?

  • You're wearing a wetsuit. You're not going to sink.

  • And If you can't make it, just hop on one of the 20 kayaks.

  • Plus, if there's a shark attack, why are they going to pick you

  • over the 80 people in the water?" So thanks, that helps.

  • He's like, "But really, just have fun with this. Good luck."

  • And he dives in, swims off. OK.

  • Turns out, the pep talk totally worked, and I felt this total feeling of calm,

  • and I think it was because Jonathan was 13 years old.

  • (Laughter)

  • And of the 80 people swimming that day,

  • 65 of them were between the ages of nine and 13.

  • Think how you would have approached your world differently

  • if at nine years old you found out you could swim a mile and a half

  • in 56-degree water from Alcatraz to San Francisco.

  • What would you have said yes to?

  • What would you have not given up on? What would you have tried?

  • As I'm finishing this swim, I get to Aquatic Park,

  • and I'm getting out of the water

  • and of course half the kids are already finished,

  • so they're cheering me on and they're all excited.

  • And I got total popsicle head, if anyone's ever swam in the Bay,

  • and I'm trying to just thaw my face out, and I'm watching people finish.

  • And I see this one kid, something didn't look right.

  • And he's just flailing like this.

  • And he's barely able to sip some air before he slams his head back down.

  • And I notice other parents were watching too,

  • and I swear they were thinking the same thing I was:

  • this is why you don't let nine-year-olds swim from Alcatraz.

  • This was not fatigue.

  • All of a sudden, two parents run up and grab him,

  • and they put him on their shoulders, and they're dragging him like this,

  • totally limp.

  • And then all of a sudden they walk a few more feet

  • and they plop him down in his wheelchair.

  • And he puts his fists up in the most insane show of victory I've ever seen.

  • I can still feel the warmth and the energy on this guy

  • when he made this accomplishment.

  • I had seen him earlier that day in his wheelchair.

  • I just had no idea he was going to swim.

  • I mean, where is he going to be in 20 years?

  • How many people told him he couldn't do that, that he would die if tried that?

  • You prove people wrong, you prove yourself wrong,

  • that you can make little incremental pushes

  • of what you believe is possible.

  • You don't have to be the fastest marathoner in the world,

  • just your own impossibilities, to accomplish those,

  • and it starts with little bitty steps.

  • And the best way to do this

  • is to surround yourself with passionate people.

  • The fastest things to do things you don't think can be done

  • is to surround yourself with people already doing them.

  • There's this quote by Jim Rohn and it says.