“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.”
“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 in my life.”
“You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your
work as it is for your lovers. 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.”
— Steve Jobs
I watched an older video today that could have been made yesterday and would have been just as fresh. And, the interesting thing to me was how familiar it was. I don’t recall ever watching it before, but it fascinated me by its familiarity to some events in my life.
I began in the car business fresh out of the Air Force as a car salesman in 1972. I realized that management was my destiny, so in January of 1975, I became a sales manager. I studied and worked at that position and through several changes in dealers ended up as a General Sales Manager at a dealership where I live. Then, after over 25 years in the business and over 5 years at this store, I got fired. It was the day that changed my life, and within a few seconds I was awash with a joy that I rarely experienced. It was as if I was let out of prison.
As I look back on all the positions I’ve had, I can see the dots connecting.
Prior to that 1997 firing, I had quit many jobs in pursuit of something more fitting, but had only gotten fired once before when I was a teenager. As I look back, it too was a turning point. Leaving the position in 1997 was my opportunity out of the car business and I made a point of it. That led to a long position outside of the auto business, but related to it in truck bodies, then into my own business in 2008. Each of these were perfect and the timing was perfect too. Each one was several steps up to me and gave me opportunities to try different things, test theories, and experience differences.
From 1997 on I now look at each change in the most positive light because I have some distance to look back and in connecting the dots see how they all work together.
What is much more important to me personally is finding things I loved to do. At each venue, I have found my niche so to speak and a way to excel in one or more ways. I would focus on that because it was what I loved doing. At each of these places and experiences though, I found frustration in forced changes that made no sense to me, and more, that sort of made it less loving. Yet, each one, I loved more, until now, I am doing what I love most and that is being in business for myself. It is a daily thrill for me now and there isn’t anything that gets me the slightest bit down in comparison.
My mantra to younger people is to find what you love and love what you do and find ways to excel, and that opportunity exists when you love what you do. It’s enthusiasm, fire, drive, ambition, satisfaction. The other thing I try to share with those interested is that there are other ways. You don’t have to settle. There are opportunities all around us. You don’t have to work at a job you don’t like. You can create your own job, life, career.
Today’s piece is a bit longer because I got very excited about seeing the video and connecting my own dots again. I hope in connecting yours, you see the perfection in it as well. Here is the link to the video if you want to watch it yourself.
Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address
“So, Keep Looking Until You Find it. Don’t Settle.”
Spread Some Joy Today–If you’re loving where you are and what you do, great. Far out. Sweet. Now, help others to do the same. If you’re not loving where you are and what you do, let others help you.