“Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water, or do you want a chance to change the world?” It is reported that Steve Jobs asked this question of John Sculley. At the time, Sculley was the head of Pepsi-Cola. After successfully recruiting him, Sculley was announced as Apple’s new chief executive. Jobs has greatly influenced the way we see and use technology today. He has created and set a new standard for what it means to have a ‘smart’ mobile phone – but his road to success was not easy.
We can learn a lot from Steve Jobs. His journey, failures and successes are ripe with insights into why done is better than perfect and provide a rich foundation for reflection and discovery. In this article, I will teach you three reasons why you should start before you are ready:
Overcome the fear of failure
Jobs was born in San Francisco and was adopted at birth. Throughout his early life, he traveled to India and learned how to meditate. He said that “finding himself” was crucial to his future success, as that showed him that upon coming back to the United States, he must concentrate on doing what he really loved. Jobs co-founded Apple in 1976 in his parent’s garage when he was only 21 years old. At the age of 23, he was already a millionaire. All of this happened after he dropped out of Reed College.
In 1983 the Apple Company was already a part of the Fortune 500. Jobs was known to be very harsh and reportedly, a very difficult person to work with. But that was the quality he needed to create something as big as Apple. Sculley, introduced earlier, and Jobs, had their own differences regarding how things should be handled at Apple and complaints came towards Jobs from his workers, and as a result, the Macintosh group was taken away from Job’s responsibilities. That left Jobs feeling powerless, and soon enough he resigned from Apple.
In 1985 Jobs suffered from a mid-life crisis, which motivated him to co-launch a new computer company, called NeXT. NeXT did pretty much what Apple was supposed to do: it created a powerful computer. From this, it was clear that it wasn’t about companies so much, but rather about the person that was creating them: Steve Jobs.
In 1996 Apple was not doing so well, but decided to acquire NeXT. Ironically, Jobs was returned to the company that he had built, and a year later became its CEO. The iPhone and iPad were about to be revealed to the world and the rest of the story literally is making history.
No success is possible without failure. Fear of failure is a creature of our imagination. It’s time to manage this fear and I want to show you how. Take a piece of paper and a pen, think about your biggest goal, and start writing what in your opinion can go wrong. Ask yourself what the worst of the worst is of going for it. Then ask yourself what the worst of the worst is of not going for it. Finally, what is the worst and the best scenario of taking this opportunity?
Write everything down. Examine the pros and cons of taking this opportunity and make a decision.
Fear of failing is terrifying until we realize that it’s just an illusion of our mind. What you are afraid of is a success. Why? Because success means a massive life change, and change is scary.
“Don’t be discouraged by failure. It can be a positive experience. Failure is, in a sense, the highway to success, inasmuch as every discovery of what is false leads us to seek earnestly after what is true, and every fresh experience points out some form of error which we shall afterwards carefully avoid.” – John Keats
Embrace your imperfections
Change can be scary and that is okay because you cannot be expected to handle every situation perfectly. Nobody is perfect. The fact that each of us has imperfections is great news. This thought frees us of unnecessary pressure to handle life’s curveballs with exactness, precision, and finesse.
Your desire to be perfect may be hurting you more than its helping. Sometimes the problem isn’t that we are imperfect. Often, we are prone to believe that other people are perfect or living near perfect lives. It is no surprise that when we compare ourselves to others, we feel inadequate. Social media leads us to think, “What’s wrong with me? Everyone seems to have it all together.” We could get the impression that we are the only ones who seem to be “struggling”. The outward signs of a perfect life on social media don’t tell the whole story.
Logically, we all know that no one is perfect, but just knowing that isn’t enough to make us let go of our desire to be perfect. We either don’t see that others struggle, or we don’t hold them to the same impossibly high standards.
The definition of success is different for each of us at different stages of our lives. I believe that success needs to be balanced between our personal and business lives. Starting before we are ready contributes to our evolution. The process of evolution and the formation of positive habits, develops our ability to base our judgements on the big picture. It helps us to mature and resist the urge for immediate gratification and opt for courses of action that will pay off in the short, medium, and long-term. Starting before we are ready teaches us perseverance – the ability to sweat out a project or a situation, despite heavy opposition and discouraging setbacks, and stick with it until finished.
If we refuse to start before we are ready, we have not grown up. Make a decision and stand by it. Unsuccessful people spend their lives exploring endless possibilities and then doing nothing. Action requires courage. Without courage, little is accomplished.
“The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high, and we miss it, but that it is too low, and we reach it.” – Michelangelo
Harness your abilities and your energy and do more than is expected. Refuse to settle for mediocrity by overcoming the fear of failure, embracing your imperfections, a commitment to growth, expansion, and evolution. Do you want to spend the rest of your life being average, or do you want a chance to change the world?
• Eliot Kelly is recognized as a serial entrepreneur, business coach and mentor and has been featured on CNN, BBC Three’s Be Your Own Boss and an extensive list of magazines and articles. His four books have been translated in over seven languages and are sold in 29 countries, recently being shortlisted for Best Self-Help and Best Advice Books 2019 by The Author Academy. www.eliotkelly.co.uk, email@example.com, @eliotkellyofficial.