Many newscasters, bloggers, and ordinary people have been in a flurry talking about Steve Jobs and his legacy since his recent death. Harvard Business Review Blogger Jeff Stibel joins the ranks as he writes that:
Steve Jobs left a legacy even more valuable than his design ideals: he set an example for how to run your business to make the most of the time you’re given. He lived and acted with a sense of urgency and an abundance of passion.
Indeed, Jobs’ legacy is bigger than Apple or Pixar. Steve Jobs left important messages and an important example behind him after his death. Jobs’ legacy is really the way that he lived his life. For Jobs, life was about more than personal effectiveness during the daily grind. As Stibel says:
We all make time for our favorite things after a seismic event — a death, an illness, an earthquake — but it is far more important, albeit more difficult, to do so on a random Tuesday. I think that if Jobs could pick a legacy, it would be to inspire a few more brave souls to make sure that that the things they will do today, both in business and in life, aren’t so far off from what they would do if they knew there were no tomorrow. That’s the part that, sadly, the majority of Americans miss out on. And nowhere is that more true than at work, where we spend most of our time. For too many, work is a grind instead of a passion, a four-letter word.
Perhaps Jobs says this best in his own words. In his 2005 Stamford commencement address, Jobs outlined three important life messages to the world to improve not necessarily their personal effectiveness or their sales figures, but their outlook on life and work:
1. “You Have to Trust that the Dots Will Connect”
We can’t really know where we’re going in life until we get there, and we can’t make sense of things before they happen. Steve Jobs told his audience to have faith and trust that things will come together. This is how to have the confidence to follow your heart, both in life and in career development. In other words, use your intuition to follow your heart at work, and move in the directions that feel right, rather than trying to plan ten steps ahead of your current position.
2. “Remember that You’ll be Dead Soon”
Jobs used this idea of death to help clarify for himself what was really important. When he felt like he didn’t have anything to lose, then he was more likely to follow his heart, and that is how Jobs made his dreams come true. He also used this as a wake-up call to check in with himself periodically to make sure that he was going in the right direction. If you have too many days in a row where you wake up feeling like this is not how you would spend the last day of your life, then it could be time for you to rethink your choices and the direction of your career development, too.
3. “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish”
Rather than growing complacent with success, Steve Jobs recommended that people work to keep their hunger for creativity and innovation. Rather than getting in a routine that is a rut, Jobs advocated bringing a fresh perspective and new ideas to each problem in order to have stronger career development.