Last night came the news that American innovator, Steve Jobs, died.
I’ve never met him, but he has had such an impact on my day to day life that he and I arguably have had a very intimate relationship.
It’s a great loss to us all, and friends and colleagues have been reflecting on their first Apple experience and how influential the technologies have been in their lives. Then, the conversation flows into this uneasy gap.
What do we do now? We’ve unconsciously come to count on techological innovations to move us to new habits, new ease, new ways of thinking and new things to accomplish. Of course, I’m absolutely aware I type this blog because of the mind of Steve Jobs…
But it’s the heart of innovation that we often forget. Who will be the next genius? Who will be the next innovator? Who will replace (as if) Jobs?
The better question is “How can we all tap into the passion and drive that Jobs had that allowed him to be successful AND SATISFIED in his life?”
Part of why we identify with him so easily is he had public failures–his own company fired him at one point, only to hire him back later and soar to new heights with him at the helm. He dropped out of college and learned and learned and learned. He chased ideas and desires in ways we think we aren’t allowed to. But look at Steve Jobs! Look what happens when you chase after the life and work that you want to do!
Though he is truly a shining star, a unique entity among us, we can all master our lives as Jobs mastered his.
Known for his commencement address at Stanford where he references how he mastered his life, how he lives passionately and makes his work what he wants to be doing, Jobs had a handle on what the three of us have become good at as well.
Recognizing your vulnerabilities, recognizing honesty within yourself and knowing what you want to give your work and what you just won’t give to your work are important realizations. They take time, they take focused thinking and they take bravado.
The end of Jobs’ Stanford speech harkens to The Whole Earth Catalog of his youth and a final back cover that says, as caption to a seemingly endless dirt country road, “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish.” The sentiment is available as book titles, posters, t-shirts and more and is often credited to Jobs, but he was citing those before him with the same imagination and sense of adventure. Perhaps the best tribute to someone who demonstrated what work-life was–not balanced it, but made it extraordinary–would be to do just that.
We can help.