After a long battle with pancreatic cancer, Apple founder Steve Jobs passed away today. In the hours that followed the internet was flooded with tributes, retrospectives and quotes from the man himself.
In a sea of such quotes, one really jumped out at me. It came from a speech made by Jobs at Stanford University, shortly after receiving surgery for his cancer in 2005.
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... Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life.
(The full transcript can be found here).
Now, despite the numerous Apple products I own, I have never been a die-hard. I was never one of those people who queued for the latest iPhone, one of those people who stayed up to watch Apple Keynote speeches, one of those (all-too-common) designers who looked down on those who use PCs. To be absolutely honest, I never gave Steve Jobs a lot of my attention.
Yet, this quote has been rattling around in my head all day. You see, earlier this year I lost my job. At the time, it seemed out of the blue; in hindsight, perhaps I should have seen it coming. Regardless, it happened and in the immediate aftermath I was faced with that big question - what now? To apply for jobs with established agencies or to stand on my own two feet and go it alone. Both options had their daunting aspects, at first it seemed there was no clear winner.
In the end, however, it was an idea very similar to this quote that made the decision for me. "Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life". I realised that having someone else planning out my time, choosing my clients, speaking on my behalf just wasn't for me. That's not to say it hasn't worked for me so far, on the contrary in fact, it has helped me get where I am today. But it was time for a change. I realised that I actually had a head full of ideas on 'how I would do things'. So I leapt. I bit the bullet. I took the chance. I am now officially self-employed.
It's early days right now. There are a lot of foundations to lay. But it's the start of something exciting.
So, I suppose what I'm saying is, if you have an idea - give it a shot. If you're unhappy, make a change. But do it on your own terms, don't let someone else make that decision for you. "Keep Looking. Don't settle".
I know this isn't the kind of post regular readers have come to expect, but sometimes thoughts are worth getting down on paper (or screen!). Ideas can be tenacious. And maybe there is something here that will linger with you.
And if not, normal service will be resumed shortly. Thank you for humouring me.