I found out this morning, as did many of us, that Steve Jobs had died. It saddened me and to be honest I wasn’t really sure why. Although I love Apple products, I’m no fanboy, but still it depressed me. To cheer myself up I thought I’d watch the video “How to live before I die” recorded back in 2005.
Photo Credit: Daniel D’Auria
We all love a rags to riches story, they help us feel that anything is possible.
If you’re not doing what you love, don’t stop until you get there
Steve Jobs came from nowhere. He was given up for adoption to unschooled parents and later became a college drop out himself living off charity and friends. With such humble beginnings, how did he become the Steve Jobs we all know?
The only way to do great work is to do what you love.
How many of your recent projects have inspired you? Are you proud to have your name on them? How many of them make it into your portfolio? If you can say, “all of them”, then this post probably isn’t for you.
Who’s to blame? The client, the project, or you?
It’s probably your fault (and mine), if for no other reason than we take on projects that doesn’t excite us. Why do we do this? We live in the real world and bills need to be paid, right? Striving to get your perfect client, and your perfect project is not something that just happens, it’s a process that we have to work on. Over time we inch a little closer to where we want to be.
Even the mighty Steve Jobs was fired from his own company, no doubt shaking his faith in what he believed, but I don’t to explain how he came bouncing back! Not everything is plain sailing. We have to pull up our socks and work damned hard at it.
Keep looking and don’t settle
Photo Credit: Doug Garding
Keep striving for that business nirvana. Sure we take on projects we don’t always relish, but it’s part of a bigger picture. We’re striving towards something better. We all have our personal goals and these need to be held sacred. Write them down and revisit them from time to time. If your having a bad time of it and work has temporarily dried up, whip out that list and get yourself into gear.
Keep moving forward. Keep looking for that road to take you there. If this means learning a new technology or teaming up, do it. Think about the BIG PICTURE. Keep looking. I have tried several business ideas that haven’t panned out and with each failure I’ve learned something new. Don’t settle!
Live each day like it was your last
Photo Credit: Iwona Erskine-Kellie
During his speech at Stanford University Steve Jobs said: If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “no” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
How many of us can raise our hands and say that we have the courage to take such action? How many of us merely settle with what we’re given? It’s easily done. We plod on, every now and again raising our heads to check that we’re not going to crash into anything.
How about we take Steve’s advice and change something! Not getting the projects you want? Then do something about it. Complaining won’t change a thing. Turn off the computer and go and talk to some real people about the ideas you have. Learn a new technique or language, market yourself to the sector you want to work. Get proactive. Nothing happens by itself.
If today were to be the pinnacle of your career, would you be happy?
You’ll know when you find it
Here, I’ll have to take the man at his word. Perhaps you’ve already found it. You wake up in the morning and jump out of bed, anxious to tear into that new project. If you want more of what you have in front of you, then it may just be that you’ve already found it. Be warned, if you don’t keep moving, you stop, and no good can come from standing still. Have a clear picture of what you want, so that when it arrives, you’ll know you’ve found it.
You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart
Photo Credit: Mark Kenny
This is something I have issues with. Outside of my articles I am not the most confident of people and sometimes the fear of failure can be overwhelming. It’s easy to stay small and remain unnoticed. For some that’s fine, remaining small is in no way a negative thing. What I am referring to is that lack of belief in oneself. We need to have the strength to say “To hell with it, I’m gonna try”. What have we got to lose? If we fail, will there be hoards of people laughing behind our backs, reveling in our failure? No, and even if there were, so what? With every failure we learn valuable lessons, and with every lesson learned we know what to change for our next effort. If death is our final frontier, then it’s laughable to be scared about pushing ourselves to reach personal and business happiness.
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life
Photo Credit: Sheldon Wood
How many years do we have to get it right? 10, 20, 50, 70? None of can know. The only certainty is that if you live as someone else dictates, then you will have a hard time finding happiness. This applies to all aspects of our lives. Do you want to work as others say you should? Do you want to live as others say you should?
It’s very easy to say that we want something different, but it’s the doing that stumps most of us. We need to fight for our futures. Without a solid plan, things drift and we end up getting lost. Time is a valuable commodity. Know where you want to be.
Stay Hungry, stay foolish
Steve ends his speech with a real gem, and it’s something I will try to hold on to. Stay hungry, stay foolish Being foolish doesn’t mean to be a fool…I hope. We need to hold on to that hunger that drove us to want things in the first place. Why did we want to be designers, writers or illustrators? What made us want to work in a particular sector? Hold onto that hunger and be foolish enough to keep pushing, to keep trying new things. Pay no attention to those who say you’re wrong. It’s up to each and every one of us to find out for ourselves. We need to fall on our face, so we can get up, brush ourselves off and say, “again, again and again”. The time will come when we stop falling. The time will come when you can say, “I’m where I want to be”.
Here is Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address video in full:
You may also like…
Repeat Work and the Search For The Holy Grail →
Thoughts and Considerations for Freelancing on a Part-Time Basis →
Is Working Freelance Really Worth It? Pros and Cons →
Promoting Your Freelance Design Business with Social Media →
Tips for Converting Your Freelance Operation into a Business →
Thoughts on why Spec Work is Bad and Why You Shouldn’t Do It →
3 Simple Ways to Attract Higher-Quality Clients →
Tips for Landing your first Freelance Design Job →