As you’ve no doubt heard and read, last week one of the world’s great innovative geniuses, Steve Jobs, died of cancer at age 56. As I’ve pondered a little over his many contributions and accomplishments, I’ve realized that what may be even more enlightening and inspiring than the 244 patents with his name listed in the US Patent Office, and the products he helped “give birth to” that have drastically changed the world we live in, is the miracle making mindset of the man. Exploring one of his major mindsets, following (in his own words) is an excerpt of a commencement address he gave at Stanford University. It seems so appropriate in these difficult times when so many are facing challenges of severe adversity, fear and failure. Here is Jobs’ insightful take on that, borne of his personal experience. I hope it stimulates your thinking and your optimism and gives rise to greater action and success. If it does, and if you’d like more help to breakthrough and find what he’s talking about, I’ll offer some at the end of the article.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
“I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired.
“How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.
“I really didn’t know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down – that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.
“I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.
“During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple’s current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.
“I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going
was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
What are you struggling with? Perhaps you’re overwhelmed by the cumulative demands of running a business – building it, marketing, sales, branding, finding clients, doing the work, billing the work, collecting for the work, administrative or operational issues, managing personnel, worrying about cash flow, and more. Have you lost the passion you had when you first entered your profession or started your business? Do the obstacles and constant challenges feel like the doors of opportunity have closed or you’ll never pry them open? Do you ever feel like you’ve lost control of your time, your business and your life? Like Steve Jobs did, do you believe you’ve failed?
I hope this arms you with some fresh perspective and inspiration for your own circumstances. I love Jobs’ advice to “….Don’t settle….it just gets better and better….so keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”
So I want to help. If you want to experience a massive breakthrough, get help finding what you’re looking for OR if you already know what it is but want to get “unstuck” and accelerate your success, consider taking advantage of a Grab Your Success Strategic Breakthrough Session . And for a limited time, as a member of our Winner’s Edge community, you can have it at more than half off by using the code “JOBS-HALF”.
Here’s to your increasing success!