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10 Inspirational Quotes From Steve Jobs That Will Change Your Thoughts On Your Career

10 Inspirational Quotes From Steve Jobs That Will Change Your Thoughts On Your Career

Steve Jobs was a difficult person to understand and work with. He was infamous for setting impossible deadlines, obsessing over design, creating a culture of conflict, and crying in meetings. But, at his core, Jobs was a simple man who loved what he did.

Through his passion, Jobs not only inspired an entire industry but whole generations to “think different” — to break with conformity and join the cult of the remarkable few. These are the dream makers. The entrepreneurs. The freelancers. The problem solvers who will not apologize for pissing you off.

I am hopeful that these 10 quotes will inspire you to join the ranks of the remarkable few.

1. “That’s been one of my mantras — focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex; you have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.”

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    Have you seen what happens when things get complicated? Of course, you have — you have experienced it far too often. It produces difficulty, frustration, and anxiety. Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits, explains that we must create an environment where simplicity is possible.

    Tip: Create focus blocks of time. This way, you can focus on the work that matters most and block out all other distractions.

    2. “Your time is limited, don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living the result of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other opinions drown your 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.”

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      You are completely disengaged from your work and your boss is beginning to take notice. But this is the job that everyone said you’d be great at, so why do you hate it so much?

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      Cal Newport, professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University, explains that to build a career that you are satisfied with, you must first answer the question “What way of working and living will nurture my passion?”

      Tip: Answering Newport’s question is an important step, but what’s more important is to not fixate on regrets.

      3. “I’m as proud of many of the things we haven’t done as the things we have done. Innovation is saying no to a thousand things.”

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        Yes, you are a people pleaser. Regardless of what is asked of you, your answer is “yes.” So the work piles on and nothing gets finished.

        David Allen, the author of Getting Things Done, explains that much of the stress that people feel doesn’t come from having too much to do. It comes from not finishing what you’ve started.

        Tip: Say “no” and say it often. If what is being asked of you does not align itself with your goals, then it will become a distraction from the work that needs to get done.

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

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          You are terrified of failing and have given self-oppression a permanent place at the table. It’s no wonder you are not a successful entrepreneur.

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          Michael Bloomberg, former NYC Mayor, explains that being an entrepreneur has more to do with “a way of looking at the world.”

          Tip: Instead of seeing an obstacle, take an intelligent risk and turn it into an opportunity.

          5. “My favorite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.”

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            You waste most of your time in meetings. What’s worse is you are so busy that you have become the bottleneck on many projects and your team members are upset.

            Productivity consultant David Allen explains that when you book yourself in back-to-back meetings, you have little time to reevaluate and process information.

            Tip: You should create a weekly review. The review builds in time for you to reevaluate and process the week’s meetings.

            6. “We don’t get a chance to do that many things, and everyone should be really excellent. Because this is our life. Life is brief, and then you die, you know? So this is what we’ve chosen to do with our life.”

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              You’ve allowed fear to paralyze you. You spend your days regretting your past decisions and dreaming about the future you could have had.

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              Do you want a better life? Make the commitment to go for it.

              Tip: Ask yourself, “When it comes time for me to die, what will I regret not doing?” That is what matters most — so go and do it.

              7. “I met Woz when I was 13, at a friend’s garage. He was about 18. He was, like, the first person I met who knew more electronics than I did at that point. We became good friends because we shared an interest in computers and we had a sense of humor. We pulled all kinds of pranks together.”

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                There are very few things in life better than a friend.

                Tip: Never take friendship for granted — it must be cultivated.

                8. “The ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

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                  It’s a big job to put a ding in the world. But what if you took that same energy and put a ding in your world?

                  Tip: Instead of having someone else listen to your problems, listen to someone else’s problems and help solve them.

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                  9. “Stay hungry, stay foolish.”

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                    John C. Maxwell, the author of 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, explains that we all must grow to discover our purpose. To become a better parent, you need to grow at relationships. To become a better entrepreneur, you need to grow in self-confidence. To become a better anything, you need to grow.

                    Tip: Keep a growth journal and record what you have learned in your life.

                    10. “And one more thing.”

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                      Life is a journey. It’s a tapestry of singular events. You can sit on your butt and hope that your calling finds you, or you can pursue your calling one baby step at a time.

                      Tip: Take a moment to reflect on your life. Do you notice any recurring themes? If you do, that just might be your calling saying “hello.”

                      Question: Which Steve Jobs quotes did you relate to the most?

                      photo credit: Pinterest

                      Featured photo credit: Zadi Diaz via Flickr

                      Featured photo credit: Steve Jobs/Zadi Diaz via flickr.com

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                      Last Updated on April 9, 2020

                      5 Types of Leadership Styles (And Which Is Best for You)

                      5 Types of Leadership Styles (And Which Is Best for You)

                      It takes great leadership skills to build great teams.

                      The best leaders have distinctive leadership styles and are not afraid to make the difficult decisions. They course-correct when mistakes happen, manage the egos of team members and set performance standards that are constantly being met and improved upon.

                      With a population of more than 327 million, there are literally scores of leadership styles in the world today. In this article, I will talk about the most common types of leadership and how you can determine which works best for you.

                      5 Types of Leadership Styles

                      I will focus on 5 common styles that I’ve encountered in my career: democratic, autocratic, transformational, transactional and laissez-faire leadership.

                      The Democratic Style

                      The democratic style seeks collaboration and consensus. Team members are a part of decision-making processes and communication flows up, down and across the organizational chart.

                      The democratic style is collaborative. Author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek is an example of a leader who appears to have a democratic leadership style.

                        The Autocratic Style

                        The autocratic style, on the other hand, centers the preferences, comfort and direction of the organization’s leader. In many instances, the leader makes decisions without soliciting agreement or input from their team.

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                        The autocratic style is not appropriate in all situations at all times, but it can be especially useful in certain careers, such as military service, and in certain instances, such as times of crisis. Steve Jobs was said to have had an autocratic leadership style.

                        While the democratic style seeks consensus, the autocratic style is less interested in consensus and more interested in adherence to orders. The latter advises what needs to be done and expects close adherence to orders.

                          The Transformational Style

                          Transformational leaders drive change. They are either brought into organizations to turn things around, restore profitability or improve the culture.

                          Alternatively, transformational leaders may have a vision for what customers, stakeholders or constituents may need in the future and work to achieve those goals. They are change agents who are focused on the future.

                          Examples of transformational leader are Oprah and Robert C. Smith, the billionaire hedge fund manager who has offered to pay off the student loan debt of the entire 2019 graduating class of Morehouse College.

                            The Transactional Style

                            Transactional leaders further the immediate agenda. They are concerned about accomplishing a task and doing what they’ve said they’d do. They are less interested in changing the status quo and more focused on ensuring that people do the specific task they have been hired to do.

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                            The transactional leadership style is centered on short-term planning. This style can stifle creativity and keep employees stuck in their present roles.

                            The Laissez-Faire Style

                            The fifth common leadership style is laissez-faire, where team members are invited to help lead the organization.

                            In companies with a laissez-faire leadership style, the management structure tends to be flat, meaning it lacks hierarchy. With laissez-faire leadership, team members might wonder who the final decision maker is or can complain about a lack of leadership, which can translate to lack of direction.

                            Which Leadership Style do You Practice?

                            You can learn a lot about your leadership style by observing your family of origin and your formative working experiences.

                            Whether you realize it, from the time you were born up until the time you went to school, you were receiving information on how to lead yourself and others. From the way your parents and siblings interacted with one another, to unspoken and spoken communication norms, you were a sponge for learning what constitutes leadership.

                            The same is true of our formative work experiences. When I started my communications career, I worked for a faith-based organization and then a labor union. The style of communication varied from one organization to the other. The leadership required to be successful in each organization was also miles apart. At Lutheran social services, we used language such as “supporting people in need.” At the labor union, we used language such as “supporting the leadership of workers” as they fought for what they needed.

                            Many in the media were more than happy to accept my pitch calls when I worked for the faith-based organization, but the same was not true when I worked for a labor union. The quest for media attention that was fair and balanced became more difficult and my approach and style changed from being light-hearted to being more direct with the labor union.

                            I didn’t realize the impact those experiences had on how I thought about my leadership until much later in my career.

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                            In my early experience, it was not uncommon for team members to have direct, brash and tough conversations with one another as a matter of course. It was the norm, not the exception. I learned to challenge people, boldly state my desires and preferences, and give tough feedback, but I didn’t account for the actions of others fit for me, as a black woman. I didn’t account for gender biases and racial biases.

                            What worked well for my white male bosses, did not work well for me as an African American woman. People experienced my directness as being rude and insensitive. While I needed to be more forceful in advancing the organization’s agenda when I worked for labor, that style did not bode well for faith-based social justice organizations who wanted to use the love of Christ to challenge injustice.

                            Whereas I received feedback that I needed to develop more gravitas in the workplace when I worked for labor, when I worked for other organizations after the labor union, I was often told to dial it back. This taught me two important lessons about leadership:

                            1. Context Matters

                            Your leadership style must adjust to each workplace you are employed. The challenges and norms of an organization will shape your leadership style significantly.

                            2. Not All Leadership Styles Are Appropriate for the Teams You’re Leading

                            When I worked on political campaigns, we worked nonstop. We started at dawn and worked late into the evening. I couldn’t expect that level of round-the-clock work for people at the average nonprofit. Not only couldn’t I expect it, it was actually unhealthy. My habit of consistently waking up at 4 am to work was profoundly unhealthy for me and harmful for the teams I was leading.

                            As life coach and spiritual healer Iyanla Vanzant has said,

                            “We learn a lot from what is seen, sensed and shared.”

                            The message I was sending to my team was ‘I will value you if you work the way that I work, and if you respond to my 4 am, 5 am and 6 am emails.’ I was essentially telling my employees that I expect you to follow my process and practice.

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                            As I advanced in my career and began managing more people, I questioned everything I thought I knew about leadership. It was tough. What worked for me in one professional setting did not work in other settings. What worked at one phase of my life didn’t necessarily serve me at later stages.

                            When I began managing millennials, I learned that while committed to the work, they had active interests and passions outside of the office. They were not willing to abandon their lives and happiness for the work, regardless of how fulfilling it might have been.

                            The Way Forward

                            To be an effective leader, you must know yourself incredibly well. You must be self-reflective and also receptive to feedback.

                            As fellow Lifehack contributor Mike Bundrant wrote in the article 10 Essential Leadership Qualities That Make a Great Leader:

                            “Those who lead must understand human nature, and they start by fully understanding themselves…They know their strengths, and are equally aware of their weaknesses and thus understand the need for team work and the sharing of responsibility.”

                            The way to determine your leadership style is to get to know yourself and to be mindful of the feedback you receive from others. Think about the leadership lessons that were seen, sensed and shared in your family of origin. Then think about what feels right for you. Where do you gravitate and what do you tend to avoid in the context of leadership styles?

                            If you are really stuck, think about using a personality assessment to shed light on your work patterns and preferences.

                            Finally, the path for determining your leadership style is to think about not only what you need, or what your company values, but also what your team needs. They will give you cues on what works for them and you need to respond accordingly.

                            Leadership requires flexibility and attentiveness. Contrary to unrealistic notions of leadership, being a leader is less about being served and more about being of service.

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                            Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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