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Tuesday
Oct112011

Steve, thank you for transforming our lives

I found out about the passing of Steve Jobs via two text messages. I was at a business dinner, when I looked down at my phone and read a text my boyfriend sent. It read: "Steve Jobs is dead." My Honey is very straight to the point, temporarily forgetting this I typed, "what"? He replied "ahem, use your iPhone." Ironically enough, I did and found all the details I didn't want to read. My eyes started to water, just a bit. As I tried to pull the facts together my good friend Maria sent me this text: "Steve Jobs is gone. True visionary - gone too soon."  After realizing this really happened, I composed myself and relayed the news to my colleagues. For the next 30 minutes, we talked about Steve. We discussed his genius, temperament, personal life, cancer, and asked ourselves how the innovation world would move on without him.  Everyone is sadden by the passing of Steve and everyone has a story as to why. I wanted to take a minute to share how he motivates me.

My first computer was an Apple llc and above is a picture above of Steve holding it in 1984. The Boston Globe put together a slide show of Steve and his products. Once I saw this picture, I had to share it. Looking back, I've been a Mac user for a long time now, and I can see how computers slowly became more and more meaningful to me. As a result, I started learning more about Steve Jobs and his work. It wasn't long before I realized he possessed characteristics that I needed to continue cultivating and/or developing to learn more about myself and how I would shape my future. Steve wasn't perfect, but I truly got a sense of who he was becoming during his Stanford Commencement Address. I thought it fitting to share a few pieces of that address which resonated the most with me.

Connecting the Dots

Recalling the elements he learned in the calligraphy class he took after dropping out of Reed College, Steve made Mac the first computer which incorporated typography into its font library. This was the beginning for all computers because according to Steve and me, "since Windows just copied the Mac, it's likely that no personal computer would have them. . . You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down and it has made all the difference in my life." Those dots are wily. They don't make sense when you're experiencing your journey, but when you look back, you see why they were there in the first place.

Life May Hit You. In the Head. With a Brick.

"Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did.  You've got to find what you 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 they years roll-on." This quote will motivate anyone, but it took on a different meaning for me when I became a small business owner.

The Future

Steve discussed death during his address, and of course when I found out about his passing, I pulled up his speech to locate this quote: "Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking . .  .  Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary." No truer words spoken.

Steve has and will always be one of my mentors. I will miss him, but will do my best to let him live inside of me by staying hungry and staying foolish. I will also keep the words of Fernando Parrado (one of the sixteen Uruguayan survivors of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571, which crashed in the Andes mountains on October 13, 1972) in mind as they are quite fitting: "Life is not measured by the breaths you take, but in the moments that take your breath away and how the people you love make up the most important moments. Because you will never know what will happen tomorrow."

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