This blog is by Shyam Ramanathan. The purpose of this blog is to inspire, motivate, share insights on leadership,management,personal development,success and share book reviews. The views expressed here are his own and do not represent his organization.
Steve Jobs is one of the most versatile and innovative business icons of our times. Here is my take on what to learn from Steve Jobs
S – Sell yourself–Steve Jobs was unafraid of showing off. In fact it could be argued this was his biggest asset. Unless you show others what you are capable of nobody is going to know. I think we should learn to sell ourselves not in an abrupt manner but a classy manner. This requires practice but this will pay off in spades. He was always in the spotlight, enjoyed it and created the larger than life personality.
Lesson: Never sell yourself short. Always exhibit your prowess.
T – Talent– If there is anyone who epitomizes the word talent it has to be Steve Jobs. How many people started a company in the garage, enjoyed massive success, get fired from the company he founded, founded another company, made successful movies and came back for one of the biggest turn around in business history. He is one who believed in his talent even when he was at his depth. Never lose faith in your ability in spite of any setbacks you face.
Lesson: Believe in your Talent and show case your best self at all times.
E – Enthusiasm– Steve Jobs did everything with unwavering enthusiasm. He was unafraid of the rule book and pushed the limits of innovation. Everyone looks to the customer for ideas on what they want. Steve went the other way he invented what he believed would make the customer get wowed. One example is he even wanted the inside of the mother boards to be so beautiful and when the team asked who would see it Steve replied “I will”. He could turn on his charm/enthusiasm at will and had the ability to charm one and all. There is no charisma without enthusiasm. As documented in Inc Magazine back in the 1981 cover story “When Steve Jobs speaks it is with “gee-whiz” enthusiasm of someone who sees the future and is making sure it works”
Lesson: Do everything with your stamp of enthusiasm.
V – Victory –Steve Jobs is one person who believed in victory at all costs. He took a no prisoners attitude towards life and he was always looking out for the next BIG thing. Surprisingly he always found the next best thing for the world to be awed. Of course there are also stories where he would turn down someone’s idea and then say the same idea to a group as if it were his own. This is obviously something not to learn but his overall genius masks any downsides he may have had. He wanted to always control the software, hardware and operating system for all products as that would give complete leverage and gave Apple total control/responsibility of the user experience.He was obsessed with minimalism to ensure the customer experience was simple.
Lesson: Begin with the End in Mind and plan for ultimate victory.
E –Energy –Without high energy he could not have sustained his passion over the years in wilderness. He could easily have retired into the background after his ouster as he had already enough money but he had a bigger vision for his life and started another company which showed his tremendous drive. He had enormous energy and this was very much exhibited in his second coming to Apple(he was also running Pixar at the same time which took a lot out of him) where he patiently took the title of Interim CEO and ensured consecutive quarters of profit before taking the permanent post. He was an unstoppable person with enormous energy and it paid off in dividends.
Lesson: Keep your energy levels high at all times and determine which times of the day are your most productive and do your most important work at that time.
J – Journey – His life epitomizes that life is a journey. Even for a person as talented as Steve Jobs, there will be setbacks/bumps along the journey of life. It is how we bounce back from seeming setbacks that truly measure our heart for exceptional success. The journey is an adventure and we all can have a second coming like Steve Jobs if ever we find ourselves in a precarious position provided we believe in the journey and understand that life is not a destination. Ups and downs are part of everyday life.
Lesson: Life is a journey not a destination. Enjoy the adventure.
O- Optimism – The key to success lies in optimism. It’s not what happens to us but how we respond to what happens to us that matters. Steve Jobs believed in his products even when he was the only one with the vision. He was not even sure if it will be accepted in the market but he showed undying optimism to see success till the end. Even in his professional nadir he showed enduring optimism and show what one can achieve with optimism and belief. An example is the Apple Stores concept. Initially the media had written this off as a non-starter but Jobs believed in it.He wanted to take retailing and brand image to a new level.
Lesson: Be an eternal optimist. An optimist sees an opportunity in every difficulty.
B- Boldness – Steve Jobs epitomized boldness and took risks even when failure was a possibility. He believed in being the best in his field and showed what a pioneer does to be called the best. He not only showcased vision, he also exhibited audacity and he believed that there is only one thing the customer wants more than anything and that is the BEST. His eye for details was amazing as he even focused on the staircases of the Apple Stores and wanted it done to perfection. Simplicity and lack of distraction was the key to the success of the stores. When the iPhone came out initially it was criticized for being too expensive and it didn’t have a keyboard but Steve Jobs had the last laugh. Once again his bold actions left people and his competitors breathless.
Lesson: Be bold with a touch of audacity and go for the best in everything you do.
S – Story Telling –Steve Jobs had a unique ability to sell to the world his vision of the story. This was famously called the Reality Distortion field and everyone who knew him has said that he sold his vision so well that no one could dispute that or take their eyes off his vision. In the book Second Coming of Steve Jobs the author says he had a seductive personality and people especially the media were very attracted to him and his personality. He was a unique ICON who made a huge difference in this world. An example is the Stanford Commencement where he gave one of the best speeches. He eloquently weaved his life into three simple stories which resonated with the audience. The three stories about his life were “Dropping out of college”, “How getting fired from Apple was good for him”, and “Being diagnosed with Cancer and the awareness it brought”.
Lesson: Be true to yourself and discover what you are best at and ensure others buy into your beliefs through your mystical presence.
What makes some people achievers? What are their thought patterns which make them super successful? This is an interesting area which I would like analyze and deep dive. Here are the 10 ways achievers think and act. This can help you develop the achiever mindset. They don’t bother about what others think – Achievers don’t worry about what others think. They are totally focused on what they want out of life and approval from others is not a necessity for them to feel good. They are totally at peace with themselves and have a strong sense of self-approval. They are action oriented – Achievers overcome fear through intense action orientation. Every successful person takes action on their ideas. As they say talk is cheap and action is everything. Instead of dwelling too much on what may go wrong they get into action. Purposeful action cures fear. They don’t put themselves down – Achievers know that anything worthwhile takes time and there will be inevitable failures on the path to success.…
The Tools of Titans by Tim Ferris has something for everyone. I skipped the health section and read the wealthy and wise sections. They were excellent. If you have not followed his podcast this would be a real eye opener. However like me if you have listened to some of the podcasts it is great to have all the information in one place. This is not an easy book to review but I have just jotted down few of the things I learned. Here they are. Push yourself harder than you thought possible. Push towards fear and handle it. This advice is from Stanley Allen McChrystal the retired Army General.Affirmations have them today and this advice is from Scott Adams. The main point is having affirmations that work for your situation. Today is going to be a great day is a wonderful affirmation to start the day with. Also have systems instead of goals. I also liked his advice where he says most of us are not going to be good in one specific thing. For example most of us will not get into the MBA. Howe…
Talent is not something that is gifted at birth. Of course there are a few exceptions that make things look so easy and we tend to believe that they are born with a certain gift. However if we go deeper they reached their Everest by harnessing their talent and get the best out of themselves.
Talent is never enough by John Maxwell is one of the best books I have read. It is quite motivational and inspirational. He identifies thirteen factors that can help maximise your talent. Here is brief overview of them with my take on each. Belief lifts your talent – The first step is to believe in yourself. You can’t go far without believing in your talent. We can all agree that we have enormous untapped potential and we have to believe first before we get the most out of ourselves. Have a personal mission statement that is exciting. My mission statement is to maximise my potential and help others maximise theirs. Passion energizes your talent – Obviously if you want to make the most of your t…
Winning is what we all want in life. With 2017 beckoning we all want to set New Year resolutions and hope the next year will be better than the current year. Irrespective of how 2016 has been you can make 2017 better. Here are 7 ways to win in any year. I have expanded each letter of the word Winning. Work Hard and Smart – It is so important to work hard no question about that. However it is not just about putting 12 hours into your work. It is about maximising productivity with the available time. Focus on top priorities and understand what the key result areas of your job are. Focus only on that and eliminate non value adding activities. Work hard while being smart. Stay Inspired – Inspiration is the fuel you need to accomplish all your goals. Decide on things that keep your inspired. It may be reading a motivational book, for others it may be when you spend time with people who are inspiring, or it may be playing the sport you enjoy. Whatever it is make sure you stay inspired and i…
Our habits make us or break us. If there is one thing that will surely help you on this journey of life it is your habits. There is no scientific formula to develop habits but one thing is sure unless you acknowledge the need for change nothing else will happen. Here are 13 habits of remarkably successful people that I have found that can be implemented to get the most out of life.
Get up Early – This is totally about discipline. On average most of the highly successful people from history have all got up early. Reading about Eisenhower he slept at 9:30 pm and got up early. Ernest Hemingway and Benjamin Franklin were also early risers. When you rise before the sun you feel a sense of accomplishment and you can read or write or catch up on emails before the busy workday starts. Of course if you are working in a night shift or you are most creative in the late hours then this won't apply to you.
Exercise – All presidents exercise nearly daily. President Obama exercises first thing fo…
The future is exciting for many people but for others it is also a cause for anxiety. With so much talk about Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Internet of Things and Robots who may take over our jobs this is not an easy time. The future irrespective of which era we lived in is uncertain. I still think the opportunities available to all of us are enormous provided we ride successfully in this era of uncertainty.I have identified the following 10 keys to thrive in the future of uncertainty and take charge of your career. Be abreast of the trends – With the explosion in data, information, technology, change and competition it is absolutely imperative that you ride this wave of change by being well informed on what the future looks like. What you are doing today may not work in another 5 years. One skill which will never become obsolete is the ability to move others and increasing your sales skills is vital in the new era. So be on the lookout for changes and disrupt yourself before you…
Your commitment to excellence in all areas of your life will ultimately determine your destiny and where you end up in life. You need to plan your life to get the most out of it. You have to be strategic about your life and everything that happens to you is the direct result of your actions.
I love this definition of success by John Wooden "Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best you are capable of becoming."
Your choices determine your actions and your actions determine your outcome. Here are the five keys to get your life to world class. Deliberate Practice – We look at a lot of successful people like Sachin Tendulkar, Roger Federer or Bill Gates and we like to say they are lucky or they are born talented. However researchers like K. Anders Ericsson one of the world’s leading experimental researchers on expertise say that it takes 10 years or 10000 hours of deliberate practice to reach the top…
I have identified 10 keys if followed consistently can surely help us achieve lasting success and fulfillment on our own terms. It is a process and you never reach there but you can enjoy the journey. Here are the 10 Keys to make your life a masterpiece. Define your mission - Without a mission it is very difficult to be excited about life. A few years back I defined my mission as "My mission is to maximise my potential and help others maximise theirs." This has driven me to read, learn, write and share whatever I have learned. It has also helped me feel excited nearly every single day which is the biggest gift from having a mission. Stephen Covey mentioned this way back in 1989 with his habit "Begin with the End in Mind" and I think that is still valid today as it was then. Figure what you really want your life to stand for and you will automatically be excited about life. This requires some soul searching and serious introspection. Taking the time to define your m…
I have recently read about stoicism a lot and I can say it is a wonderful approach to life. The books I have read on this are Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday and A Guide to The Good Life by William Irvine. Stoicism is by no means resignation or acceptance of everything that happens in life. However it is a nice way to reinterpret the events in your life.
Here is my summary of learning and you can consider these 9 keys as an introduction to stoicism. Your interpretation of events – You will not be surprised with this one. As Shakespeare said “There is nothing good or bad thinking makes it so.” What this means is everything in life happens and it is your interpretation of events that is the key to staying relaxed. It is the meaning you give to events that make all the difference. For example I am overweight by 10 pounds and I can stress about it all I want but it is a fact. All I can do is continue exercising daily and doing even more to reduce further. …
Leadership in my opinion is the ability to dream big, inspire others and take massive action. Not everyone can really think big but great leaders truly think big. The Truth about Leadership by James Kouzes and Barry Posner is a wonderful primer on leadership. In my opinion this is a great leadership book that is needed as this truly gets to the truth about what leadership is.
Here are the ten truths of leadership with my take on each. You make a Difference – You need to believe that you can make a difference. Only if you believe in yourself you can inspire others to action. It will also enable you take the necessary risks to reach higher. Credibility – For others to believe in you your credibility is the key. Speak with candor and practice integrity in all situations. Values drive commitment – A leader has to be absolutely clear on where they are heading and what they stand for. Take time to understand what your ultimate meaning is. Define your values. Focusing on the future sets lead…