Apple Computers legend, Steve Jobs, had a tough start in life – he was put up for adoption at an early age, dropped out of college after 6 months and returned coke bottles for 5 cent deposits to buy food. Despite all of that he went on to start Apple Computers and Pixar Animation Studios, and is one of the most successful entrepreneurs of our time. So how did he do it?
If you want to be successful, here are 6 tips from Steve Jobs that will get you on the right track, fast: –
1. Do What You Love To Do
Steve says “Find your true passion. Do what you love to do and make a difference!. The only way to do great work is to love what you do..”
I couldn’t agree more! Doing a job that you don’t like is like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole … you slog your guts out at work every day, but never really seem to achieve the success you feel you deserve, and each day is a battle – or a least an obstacle to overcome – because it’s all about getting through the day and getting home at night, instead of enjoying the moment.
When you’re focussing on trying to get the day over and done with, or spending time on projects or tasks that are uninteresting, you make the task at hand much harder for yourself. When the passion’s there, and you love what you do, you become more productive, energetic and fun to be around. Which scenario do you think would bring about success in the fastest and easiest way? As they say, it’s not rocket science.
So first things first, if you want to be truly successful in life, it’s important to put time and effort into realising what you love doing, and then finding a strategy to achieve it. This sounds simple, but isn’t necessarily easy – you need to be prepared to do some true soul searching and discover what passion really is to you, rather than what you think your peers, family, friends or society expect. Just because your parents want you to be a top lawyer or accountant, doesn’t mean that’s where success and passion lies for you.
2. Start Small, Think Big
Steve says “Don’t worry about too many things at once. Take a handful of simple things to begin with, and then progress to more complex ones. Think about not just tomorrow, but the future.”
Overwhelm can literally stop you in your tracks. It’s a nasty epidemic that crushes many people on their journey to success so it’s important to remain focused at all times. Overwhelm creeps in when we take our eye off the ball and allow lots of other things to flood into our conscious mind. One moment you’re focusing on a mission critical task that’s going to accelerate your success, and then the next minute you’re thinking about a hundred other things that you need to do – hey presto, along comes overwhelm!
If you break the bigger tasks down into smaller, manageable pieces you’ll allow yourself to experience success after success as you achieve each of the smaller tasks. This in turn will build momentum and motivation, and will also allow you to progress on to more complex tasks as you build confidence and eliminate overwhelm.
3. Be Entrepreneurial
Steve says “Look for the next big thing. Find a set of ideas that need to be quickly and decisively acted upon and jump through that window. Sometimes the first step is the hardest one. Just take it! Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”
All too often I come across wonderfully smart and intelligent people who have a great idea or entrepreneurial capabilities, but they aren’t willing to take the ‘jump’ that Steve talks about. What tends to happen in these scenarios is that they know WHAT they want, but they haven’t figured out HOW they’re going to get it, so they stop and don’t move forward.
Whilst it’s important to have a plan or strategy to execute your ideas, it’s also vital that you don’t allow yourself to become so acutely focused on HOW you’re going to achieve your goals that you literally come to a grinding halt. Sometimes you WON’T know all the answers, and that’s fine – just keep moving forward one step at a time and eventually all the detail that you need will unfold. By standing still, that’s as far as you’re going to get.
Jim Rowland once said “Discipline weighs ounces; regret weighs tonnes”. Have the discipline and courage to keep taking baby step after baby step forward, and you will never regret the progress you make.
4. Be Different
Steve says “Be Different. Think Different. Better be a pirate than to join the navy”
I love this one because both the ‘navy’ and the ‘pirate’ resonate with me! I spent 14 years in the corporate world (not to mention a stint in the Reserve Army!) but I ‘escaped’ that to set up Outshine Consulting. Now neither scenario is better than the other, but I think the key point to think about here is WHICH one you want to be.
If we lived in a world where everything was constantly changing we’d feel in a state of chaos.
However, to be a successful entrepreneur like Steve Jobs, it’s VITAL that you keep challenging the status-quo, looking for new ideas, being innovative and creative. Following what’s been done before you is more likely to result in ‘the same again’ rather than something cutting-edge and new.
Do you want the challenge and the change, or do you want consistency? Be honest with yourself because not everyone is made for the Navy, and not everyone would make a good Pirate!
5. Do Your Best
Steve says “Do your best at every job. Success generates more success. So be hungry for it”
This is such a critical point. If you’re stuck thinking about how to be successful, or waiting for it to happen, that’s exactly where you will stay. And quite frankly, standing still doesn’t indicate you’re hungry enough to actually WANT to be successful.
You need to get on with the job, and get the wheels of motion moving because every little taster of success that you experience – no matter how small – will help to generate more and more success. As the momentum builds, so will your level of achievement which in turn builds even more momentum and motivation. It’s the snowball effect at it’s best, but you need to be hungry to achieve your goal and willing to get moving in order to experience it.
6. Learn Continually
Steve says “There’s always “one more thing” to learn! Cross-pollinate ideas with others, learn from customers, competitors and partners. If you partner with someone you don’t like, learn to like them – praise them and benefit from them.”
If you’re not growing, your dying. This can be a harsh statement to swallow, but there’s no middle ground here – you’re either developing, learning and growing, or you’re wasting away and dying. So which do you want to be?
Steve Jobs clearly had the balance right – he didn’t achieve such huge success by sitting back and making the most of what he already knows. He was constantly creating and innovating, which only comes from continual education.
By building an effective network you can learn from intelligent people who challenge your way of thinking and help you develop new ideas and strategies to achieve success. Education isn’t all about spending money – you can develop everyday by recognising the strengths of those around you, or by picking up a book instead of plonking yourself in front of the TV again. The choice is yours.
This article was originally written in Feburary 2009, but I’m re-posting it on the Outshine blog as a mark of respect for the late Steve Jobs. You were a true inspiration, thank you.
Written by Faye Hollands – Director at Outshine Consulting. Faye is an accomplished Career Coach and Productivity Specialist who has successfully coached countless clients on how to create a career and business they love, get more done in less time, and achieve personal and professional success.
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