Ted Talks provide powerful and impactful messages with ways you can take action and make positive changes to your life NOW.  Below, I've linked my favorite talks with some of the most influential thought leaders of today.

The Power of Vulnerability 

Brene Brown studies human connection -- our ability to empathize, belong, love.  In a poignant, funny talk at TEDxHouston, she shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity.  

Your Elusive Creative Genius 

"Eat, Pray, Love" author Elizabeth Gilbert muses on the impossible things we expect from artists and geniuses -- and shares the radical idea that, instead of the rare person "being" a genius, all of us "have" a genius.  It's a funny, personal and surprisingly moving talk.  

 My Year of Saying Yes to Everything || Shonda Rhimes

The legendary Shonda Rhimes created the TV hits Gray's Anatomy and Scandal, and is involved with three or four network series every season. That's a lot of work, and when it's going well--when she feels engaged and enthusiastic and at her creative peak--she calls that "the hum." But one day the hum stopped, and try as she might, she couldn't get it to start again, she explains in this deeply honest talk. Rhimes was bereft. But she was also a single mother who'd promised herself to say yes to everything asked of her that year. So when her toddler asked her to play as she was on her way out the door, instead of leaving she said "yes" and stopped to play for a while. And she promised herself that from then on, if humanly possible, she would stop and play whenever her children asked her. (As she points out, any child will get bored in 15 minutes or less, so it wasn't a schedule-crusher.) It was a great thing for her family, and to her surprise, by taking the time to play for a few minutes with her children, Rhimes brought the hum back to her work, as well. It's a great lesson for our overworked, overcommitted, always-in-the-zone times.

Questioning the Universe 

Professor Stephen Hawking asks some big questions about our universe -- How did the universe begin? How did life begin? Are we alone? -- and discusses how we might go about answering them.

How Great Leaders Inspire Action

Simon Sinek presents a simple but powerful model for how leaders inspire action, starting with a golden circle and the question "Why?" His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers -- and as a counterpoint Tivo, which (until a recent court victory that tripled its stock price) appeared to be struggling.

The Puzzle of Motivation

Career analyst Dan Pink examines the puzzle of motivation, starting with a fact that social scientists know but most managers don't: Traditional rewards aren't always as effective as we think. Listen for illuminating stories -- and maybe, a way forward.