Steve Jobs on Purpose and Values

Newspaper report of Steve Jobs's death in the Suddeutsche Zeitung

Steve Jobs was an imperfect human being like the rest of us are. But in his short life he managed to accomplish more of the goals he chose for himself than most of us do.

How did he achieve this?

In his famous 2005 Stanford commencement address Steve talked about his answers. He didn’t use the words ‘purpose’ and ‘values’ — instead he talked about something even more vague: ‘love’, ‘intuition’, ‘heart’, and ‘inner voice’.

He said:

“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…

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 others’ 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.”

Can we all be Steve Jobs? No.
Should we try to? No.
Can we all learn from his example? Yes.

Applying this philosophy enabled Steve Jobs to accomplish so much of what mattered to him that when he died even foreign newspapers called him “Gesicht einer Ära” — “The face of an era.”

Applying the same philosophy will enable you to achieve more of whatever it is that matters to you.

Are you clear what your inner voice is saying? Are you following your heart, love, and intuition? Would it be useful to clarify your purpose and values — in about 30 minutes each?

Adapted from Inner Leadership: a framework and tools for building inspiration in times of change.

Inner Leadership provides a set of tools for getting clearer on what your inner voice, love, heart, and intuition are trying to tell you and for translating them into action. It starts with simple tools for connecting more deeply with yourself and for seeing more clearly. Then it crystallises your ‘love, heart, and intuition’ into ‘purpose’ and ‘values’ — because that makes them easier to convert into action. And then it helps you find more ways to put those purpose and values into action and to inspire yourself and others to make them happen.

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Photo By Wolf Gang via

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