He was called a genius. But he was also criticized for being arrogant. Steve Jobs led a remarkable and varied life. Now, as we head into a new year, let’s look back at the best of Jobs and see how we can apply his self-leadership advice to our own complicated business and personal lives.
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”
Steve’s life was cut short by cancer. He was only 56 when he died in 2011. His battle was a long one and he knew his time would be short. And so, he chose not to waste it. Over the holidays, let us review our priorities and audit our time. We need to look inside ourselves and ask what really matters – to us, not to those who think they know what is best for us. Then, we shall write down those important things as the must-do objectives for 2016.
“Things don’t have to change the world to be important.”
Not too many of us will come up with the next iPad. Doing the smallest things can be very important too. Making a product just a little easier to use, offering a smile to someone in need or getting down into the trenches with your employees – all seemingly little things that can make a huge difference. It’s not about doing big things. It’s about doing important things.
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“Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.”
Some of the biggest accomplishments of his life and the things he is best remembered for today happened after Steve Jobs was diagnosed with cancer. He lived 7 years with a disease that was killing him, but through that time, he never stopped believing in himself and in others. Life can throw us bricks, often when we least expect them. But we can throw bricks too. Solid commitment, confidence and the sheer will to succeed.
“Quality is much better than quantity. One home run is much better than two doubles.”
Many of us in business today are obsessed by numbers. How many sales did we make? How many views do we have on our social media posts? Steve Jobs didn’t start out trying to be the biggest. Instead, he cared about pursuing his dream of excellence. He cared about being the best. The irony is this. When we place the emphasis on quality – quantity becomes a natural by-product. As we look ahead to 2016, let’s make excellence in all aspects of our life, both business and personal, our number one priority.
“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.”
Have you “settled?” Have you given up, even if much of your life is still ahead of you? From his grave, Jobs is pleading that we not settle. All of the things we have in this world are due to the fact that someone never gave up. Yes, you will fall. But you will pick yourself up, adjust and carry on. The world today is in urgent need of people who choose not to settle.
“I don’t really care about being right, I just care about success.”
Much has been said about the temperament of Steve Jobs and how he treated others. He was human and had all of the imperfections that entails. But his priority was succeeding, even if it meant admitting he was wrong. In the coming year, let us spend less time on showing others how right we are and more time on listening and focusing on the end goal.
“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.”
Steve Jobs knew that when all is said and done, and death is at the doorstep – the moments in our life in which we felt embarrassment, the fear of failure and the times we chose not to believe in ourselves – will all mean nothing. So he forged ahead, willing to act in spite of the risk of embarrassment, in spite of any feelings of fear and especially, in spite of what others thought about him. Steve Jobs led a brave life. He wanted us to do the same. In the year ahead, choose not to be influenced by the negativity of others and demons of your own mind. Instead, vow to make life the adventure it is meant to be.