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. But in his short life he managed to accomplish more of the goals he set himself than most of us do. How did he achieve this?

In his famous 2005 Stanford commencement address, Steve talked about his philosophy. He didn’t use the words ‘purpose and values’ — instead he talked about ‘inner voice’, ‘intuition’, ‘heart’, and ‘love’. 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 learn from his example? Yes.

Inner Leadership provides a set of tools for getting clearer on what our inner voice, love, heart, and intuition are trying to tell us. And when we define them as ‘purpose’ and ‘values’ we make them easier to put into action.

Following this philosophy meant that when Steve Jobs died, even foreign newspapers called him, “The face of an era” — “Gesicht einer Ära.”

If you apply the same philosophy you will achieve more of whatever matters most to you.

Are you clear what your inner voice is saying? Are you following your heart, love, and intuition? Would you like to clarify your purpose and values (in about 30 minutes each)?

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

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Photo By Wolf Gang via

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