Get To Work: With Suzy Welch

Suzy Welch: This simple question from Jeff Bezos could transform the way you think about work

Jeff Bezos, chief executive officer of and founder of Blue Origin LLC, speaks at the unveiling of the Blue Origin New Shepard system during the Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado, April 5, 2017.
Matthew Staver | Bloomberg | Getty Images

It took Jeff Bezos just three words to change the way bestselling management author and CNBC contributor Suzy Welch thinks about work.

Welch tells CNBC Make It she was moderating a panel in Seattle when she opened up to Bezos about how much she loved the city's physical beauty and the people who lived there. She told him, "You know, you stay here in Seattle long enough and you can almost forget that New York is the center of the universe!"

She says Bezos looked at her and replied, "Where's New York?"

CNBC Contributor Suzy Welch.

Right away, she knew what he meant. "He wasn't saying New York isn't special," explains Welch. "He was wryly suggesting that my worldview was perhaps limited, and quite possibly limiting."

She says that Bezos was suggesting to her that in order to succeed in today's economy, you may have to change your worldview by leaving your home city or state.

"Plenty of us move between houses or from one town to another, but according to federal census data, upwards of 60 percent of Americans spend their lives in the same state where they were born," says Welch. "The truth is, the place you know and love is not necessarily the best place for your career."

When you come to this realization, she says, you start to think about work and life a bit differently.

"If you don't think long and hard about the 'where' of your professional journey, you might end up asking why your career isn't developing the way you'd like it to," she adds.

Welch stresses that while a lot of elements go into creating a career that you love, you want to be careful not to let the familiarity of where you live hold you back.

"If Jeff Bezos can ask, 'Where's New York?' about my hometown, try asking it about yours," she says. "It could open up a world of new possibilities."

Suzy Welch is the co-founder of the Jack Welch Management Institute and a noted business journalist, TV commentator and public speaker.

Video by Beatriz Bajuelos Castillo

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More from Suzy Welch:

What to say when an interviewer asks, 'What's your dream job?'
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What to say when an interviewer says, 'Tell me about a mistake you made'

Suzy Welch: Here's why everything you've been told about mentors is wrong
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