On Transformational Leadership: Remembering Steve Jobs

Stay hungry; Stay foolish. ~Steve Jobs (1955-2011)

I’ve been quiet lately on the blogging and social media fronts–attending to a number of  matters, including over-due computer tune-ups, an intensive job search, and in between, some well-earned self- and family-maintenance.

But it’s impossible to hear the news of Steve Job’s passing, without marking it here. If I ever questioned the value or purpose of blogging and social networking in my own life, I think it became clear to me last night, when I was able to vicariously share online the outpouring of sadness over Steve Jobs’ death and the admiration so many feel for the legacy he leaves behind.  Last night, I keenly felt the gift my blog and social networking presence on Twitter remain to me—by being able to avail myself so quickly to such an immediate public platform—lifting up my own voice, within such a connected, often vibrant community– in praise of such a sheer creative force. And in so doing, to do my small part to observe and carry on, all that legacy means.

It was a moment where whatever our differences, many of us came together to salute the spirit of innovation, which Steve Jobs represents. And more than that—the courage and dignity by which he faced his own failures and mortality—how he saw these conditions, as the best drivers to making our time here mean something…and as a challenge to each one of us, to continue to live up to our own personal gifts.

For me, Jobs’ life and work represent many of the themes I’ve been exploring personally  and at this blog, especially on transformational leadership, to date, mainly from a technical writer’s vantage point, but with implications for whatever paths we respectively travel.

I take as a strong inspiration, Jobs’ integrative vision:

It’s in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough—it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our heart sing, and nowhere is that more true than in these post-PC devices.

Until last night, I’d never heard in its entirety Jobs’ 2005 Commencement address at Stanford University, but I ‘m glad I can refer to it, as a writer, and much more so as a person, for those times which inevitably arise for all of us, when we need the reminder to remain true to our own voices.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own 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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3 thoughts on “On Transformational Leadership: Remembering Steve Jobs

  1. Great post! I loved the ‘technology married with liberal arts’ element. I was never a huge Mac person until I started using it for web design and to improve my skills as a technical communication student. I always described my MacBook as ‘huggable’. After I finish a paper or project, I always feel grateful that I was able to work on such a wonderful piece of technology. It is exactly the same feeling that I have when I finish a good book. He really understood the emotion/technology connection. That having a good medium is essential for the creative process and that the creative process isn’t just limited to drawing or painting.

    • Thanks for dropping by and for your comment, Annemarie. Your description of the MacBook as “huggable” really resonates. Yes, Jobs understood the emotion/technology connection, possibly like no other. And the kind of creative process we’re referring to here, what I’m learning is known as design thinking, is not limited to traditional art, but can be extended to solving our most serious challenges, in business or otherwise. IMHO, this mindset is one of many technical writers’ greatest strengths.

  2. I did the same thing you did yesterday–went to the that wonderful commencement address on YouTube, and then wrote my own blog post. So we can commemorate and, frankly, miss, Steve, but the real message is to become more like him. I’ve been brought back to my core by his death–which I learned of, like so many others, on my phone through a text from the local radio station (KCBS, San Francisco). As a tech writer (and writer) I’ll follow your blog now and look forward to more. Thank you.

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