5 TED Talks that Will Help You Transition


Hopefully you have heard of TED and TEDx Talks. These are professionally-produced, 20 minute speeches given by industry experts and thought leaders on a variety of topics designed to stimulate thought, discussion and idea-generation around Technology, Entertainment and Design (“TED”). As you transition out of the military, these talks can inspire, inform, educate and enlighten you to new ideas, processes, perspectives and techniques to refine your career.

TED Talks are also timely conversation starters. I know several job seekers who mention them in interviews to show they are continually learning and are current with popular topics.

Following are five TED Talks that will round out your view on the transition, provide insight into the civilian sector, and empower you with new tools to navigate your transition:

  1. Simon Sinek, “How great leaders inspire action”. In his famous Talk, Sinek lays out the formula for impact and inspiration: Instead of leading with what we know or how we operate, start with our purpose and calling (our “why”). He encourages us to know what motivates us – why we do what we do? What’s our purpose or cause? Then, inside-out leadership and communication empowers us to build meaningful connections with people. After all, Sinek tells us, people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.  
  2. Amy Cuddy, “Your body language may shape who you are”. As someone who studies body language, I was fascinated by Cuddy’s TEDx Talk when it released many years ago. Still relevant today, she lays out the formula for changing your outlook (and your life?) by changing your posture. In her Talk, Cuddy challenges us to consider how power non-verbal communications are leading us to project confidence or insecurity, happiness or fear. She offers suggestions on “power poses” that change your outlook and therefore, change the way you communicate confidence.  
  3. Brené Brown “The power of vulnerability”. Researcher-storyteller Brené Brown’s famous TEDx Talk launched the conversation around human connection, relationship and how vulnerability could be the secret ingredient to a happy and meaningful life and career. Here, Brown lays out the need to vulnerability, acknowledging how scary and risky it feels. Her Talk is a funny, direct, difficult, and empowering journey to discovering purpose in life.  
  4. Four-star general Stanley McChrystal’s TED Talk, “Listen, learn… then lead” shares lessons learned from the military, and ways to apply them to civilian leadership scenarios. The events of 9-11 changed his views on technology, process, people and purpose. In his Talk, General McChrystal shares his views on building a sense of shared purpose among people of different generations, ages, experiences, and skill sets. “If you’re a leader,” he says, “the people you’ve counted on will help you up.”  
  5. Lida Citroën – “The Power of Gratitude and Generosity -- Serving Those Who Have Served.” – I have heard from many transitioning service members and military spouses that the issues I present in my TEDx Talk highlight frustrations and concerns you’ve experienced. As you navigate the next steps of your career, listen as I share the common questions veterans ask during reintegration. Hopefully you will recognize that your challenges are not unique, that your goals are shared by others, and that there are civilians, like me, who are here to help you successfully transition to a meaningful career.

Enjoy these TED Talks and share your favorites (from this list or others) in the comment section below!


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