Life – Terror. Ecstasy. Fight. Denial. Flight. Failure. PAIN. Forgiveness. Reconciliation. Hope. Love. Peace – Death.
A story about love and loss
Steve Jobs, a modern day (digital), visionary, revolutionary, entrepreneur, inventor, teacher, father and husband, incredibly successful despite him dropping out from ‘college’. Jobs is on record as saying “he was lucky”, lucky, as he found ‘what he loved to do’ early in life. Most people spend, at least, two thirds of their time, their lives, working, earning a living, providing for their family and themselves.
Job satisfaction ‘Life’ satisfaction, to be able to find, and achieve a job, a career that you truly love is one of the greatest achievements of all?
Think about your own parents, your friends parents other people around you, working people? Think about what they do, their jobs, careers? How many of them enjoy what they do for a living? How many love what they do? How many make ‘enough’ money from what they do for a living? How many earn more than enough, even ‘too much?
Do they love what they do?
Jobs started Apple with a friend, from his parents garage aged 20. They worked hard, in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of them in a garage into a $2bn company with over 4,000 employees.
Jobs had just turned 30, Apple had just released ‘their finest creation’ — the Macintosh — and he was fired. How can you get fired from a company you started (owned)?
As Apple grew he hired someone who he thought to be very talented to run the company with him. For the first year or so things went well. But then their visions for the future began to diverge and eventually they had a falling out.
The board of directors sided with the new guy. Aged 30 Jobs was, very publicly out. What had been the ‘love’ the focus of his entire adult life was gone, he was devastated.
Genuine, powerful, feelings of real loss, the kind of grief usually associated with death, the death of a loved one. A difficult grieving period, ushering additional feelings, questioning ones-self, guilt, disappointment for at least a few months after which he concluded that he had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down – he had dropped the baton as it was being passed to him.
He even went as far as to meet with (former business partners) David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologise for screwing up so badly, for being a very public failure.
Even thought his instincts were screaming at him to run away (flight not fight), far away from the valley. Something slowly began to dawn on him — despite everything, he still loved what I did.
The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. Massive, traumatic, heart wrenching rejection, despite this he was still in love. And. He decided to start over.
He couldn’t possibly see or fully understand it then, in that hurtful moment but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to him. The kick in the teeth (rightly or wrongly, deserved or not) became a (his) catalyst for change, the new red rag to his bull, himself, clearly, a person who needs those challenges.
The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It had freed him to begin (another) creative periods of his life, one of the most.
During the next five years, he started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and on a personal level he met and fell in love with a woman who eventually became his 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, and he returned to Apple, and the technology they developed at NeXT became the heart of Apple’s current renaissance. Thus completing the circle, Jobs conquering ‘the world’ returning to Rome, the victorious hero and emperor, (again).
Jobs, had has his own family (a different kind of love, challenge and satisfaction)? A new successful company plus his professional redemption, one final night with the old girlfreind who had sacked him for the college quarterback.
He admits himself that none of this would have happened if he hadn’t been fired from Apple. It had been the end of the world at the time, but (he felt) he needed it.
Who knows, only him? Maybe not even he? If he had not been sacked he might have gone on, with Apple and also had an equally incredible career, life?
What is the (my) point?
Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. Sometimes the worse things, bring out the best things? I was once sacked from a band, my band, my first band.
I had returned from a two-week (work) training course, around 9.00 pm I received a telephone call telling me I was no longer in the band, Jimmy, bass player (the messenger), lived less than a minute walk away, 400 yards but he delivered the discharge by phone, not even the courtesy of face to face.
The reason stated was ‘a lack of commitment’.
Nothing could have been further from the truth. I was devastated, I hung up and cried. After the grieving process I moved on, found a new band as soon as possible, we did ok, most importantly, better than my former band. It took many years to heal, some of the band reconnected many years later, I even worked with ‘some’ of them again. Others not. They did admit that they were never ever able to replace me. Nothing quite compared to the old ‘riff master’. I thought about what if, 12 months later, they had asked me to ‘come back’? Would I have refused?
They never and I carried on because it was what I loved to do, and I had no choice. Never look back.
You’ve got to find what you love. If you are lucky you will find it early. That is as true for your work as it is for your love.
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 (for less).
My own personal thanks go out to the memory of a very special man, thanks for giving me, my children, the world many things, especially, Toy Story, one of the greatest ‘love stories’ ever told.
(Steve Jobs, Born February 24, 1955 – Died October 5, 2011, aged 56)
Thanks for reading