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Living The Authentic Life: 5 Things To Learn From Steve Jobs

Like much of the world, I have Steve Jobs on the brain.  His death earlier this week, has us all talking and thinking about the ways he changed our lives. I thought about it just yesterday with my Mac, iPad, and iPhone all crammed in my briefcase. There’s no question Steve Jobs and his innovative ideas have left an indelible mark on Good Enough Mother; heck, I’m building a brand using Apple products. Those folks made technology accessible, even sexy. Yep, Buff is right; I hail from the church of Apple.

But this is not about gadgets; Jobs left us with so much more. After he died, I began researching more about him, listening to speeches he gave and reading the words he shared with others. So I came up with five quotes that spoke to me and where I am in my life.


1. “Almost everything–all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure–these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

I said it a few weeks ago at She Streams and believe it to my very core. Fear is not your friend. That’s what Jobs is saying here, albeit in a much more eloquent way. Fear is that thing that keeps us in place, saps our ability to take risks and convinces us that we are happy where we are when we’ve merely settled. We’re all gonna die, some sooner than others. I can think of nothing more tragic than having regrets when you get to that point. When that time comes, will you be able to say you lived a life without fear or will you be wishing you had done more?

2. “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. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

WOW. I saw this and posted it on my Facebook page as soon as I did. “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your inner voice.” But we do that, don’t we? We worry about how we look or what others will say. We’re overly concerned that no one else is doing it that way so it must not work. We grip the crayon tightly and work hard to color inside the lines, even though we yearn to create free from those barriers. In my case, I spent the first half of my life, doing what everyone expected, abiding by everyone’s rules. It wasn’t until I was fired from my job that I was truly set free. That time and the years that followed, was no picnic. But when you’re at the bottom, you have absolutely nothing to lose. In those silent moments, when you’re alone and introspective, you see life differently, are able to listen to your heart and the inner voice that you shouted down for so many years. Have you had a chance to listen to that voice? Do you have the courage to follow your heart and intuition? If not, what’s keeping you from doing that?

3. “I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.”

Man oh man is this true. I wish I had a dollar or a dime for every time I woke up and felt I couldn’t go on;  I felt it just yesterday, in fact. So if Steve Jobs felt that way, I’m in good company. Because for as many successes as Jobs had, he also had failures, times when it would have been easier just to give up, pack up and go home. But he didn’t; he kept after it, learning, stretching and growing from his mistakes. I can honestly say that’s been the case for me too. Every, single thing I have gone through in the past several years wasn’t a failure, it was another brick in the wall, a piece in the puzzle, a thread in the tapestry. Up close, it doesn’t look that special, but when I take a step back, I can see what a beautiful tapestry it is. It’s hard to see how, what we view as setbacks, are really stepping-stones for the next phase.  When you look back on the places where you stumbled, do you see failure or a fresh start?

4. “I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.”

Rejection hurts like hell but can you imagine being kicked out on your keister by the company you co-founded? That’s like being kicked out of your own family. But Jobs recognized that time as a chance to learn again, to look at situations with the wide-eyed wonder of a beginner. “It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.” speaks directly to me. I am stunned when I look at what I’ve learned since leaving CBS. Had I not been kicked out, I would have never embraced social media the way I have. I would have continued doing things the way I had always done them, which in turn, would have stifled the creative side of me. How about you? Have you ever been fired from a job? Did you see it as a setback or a set up for something bigger and grander than you could envision?

5. “I want to put a ding in the universe.”

Self-explanatory. This was my whole reason for starting Good Enough Mother. I wanted to draw back the curtain on modern motherhood. I wanted to change the way people thought about mothers; to show that, while we love our kids and partners, we still have dreams, goals and aspirations of our own. It is my hope that my own, “ding in the universe” will be a paradigm shift about the way we as women, view ourselves and that we’ll take better care of us, not just physically but mentally and emotionally too. How will you make a “ding in the universe”?

What about you? Do these or any other quotes from Steve Jobs hit you at the place you are in your life? Are you living without regret, the life authentic? Do you see failure as a teaching tool or something to be avoided?






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