Do You Cry Like Steve Jobs?
The news about the latest iPad and Apple’s dividend payout these past few days has gotten me thinking again about the genius of Steve Jobs.
When I read Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson last fall I was struck by three aspects of his life that seemed to me to hold valuable career advice and lessons for women professionals and entrepreneurs.
- Steve Jobs cried a lot! Apparently he cried when he was happy, mad, sad, or frustrated. Now, crying is not (in and of itself) a thing of which to be proud, and tears should never be a strategy put to use at whim. But, Steve was totally okay being emotional and being his real authentic self at all times. Very sensitive, sometimes rude, always creative, he wore his emotions on his sleeve, and yet this did not inhibit his growth and contributions. Part of his success came from always being true to who he was. We have to ask ourselves, why then are women always being told how they need to act differently, to conform and never ever to cry or be emotional at work.
- Many people helped Steve along the way, people he knew and many he did not. Even at a young age, he was not shy, unabashedly calling up powerful people like Bill Hewlett, the co-founder of Hewlett Packard and just asking for what he needed. The lesson: don’t be afraid to ask for what you need. You will likely be surprised at who might help you.
- Steve had lots of failures, many of which were well documented but just as many went unseen. Some of those failures got to him, some of them took years to overcome. None deterred him for long, and all contained very valuable insights for his later successes. What struck me about Steve’s journey is the sheer number of failures he experienced. When we look at successful businesses and professionals, we are apt to gloss over, or forget, or not fully know the arduous journey and tenacity it took to achieve that success. Research has shown that women in particular seem daunted and feel deterred by failures, or perceived failures, quickly concluding that the goal is too hard to achieve and / or that they are not capable enough. Much has been written about why and how women need more “failures.” I would say also that women must be ready to recognize the fear and doubt where it creeps, and move forward despite it.
What drove Steve was his unrelenting focus and commitment to his vision and goals. My takeaways for women from Steve Jobs:
- Be your authentic self – even if it means occasionally crying at work.
- Ask for help – even from those you think are least likely to help you.
- Persevere – even if you are rocked to the core with self doubt.
Wishing you Apple-like success!