There are times in your career as an Account Manager, particularly when things aren’t going so well, that you will ask yourself whether you’ve chosen the right path for you.
Maybe the thoughts have been brought on by having a bad day at the office? Is your boss not giving you any encouragement? Fed up with the pressure and late nights? Feel you haven’t got a life outside work? Not being promoted fast enough?
You start asking yourself questions like; Is what I’m doing now fulfilling me? Am I really enjoying life as an Account Manager? Do I want to continue with this role/job/agency? If I wasn’t doing this, what else would I do? Would it be any better somewhere else?
If you’re at a point in your career that you’ve started wondering if you’ve chosen the right path, a great source of inspiration is Steve Jobs’s speech about the most profound lessons he’s learnt during his life.
He made this speech to the graduates at Stanford University in 2005 and you can watch the whole thing at the end of this post.
Here’s a brief summary of three of his key life lessons:
Life lesson 1: “Connecting the dots”
You have to have the courage to follow your heart and trust that one day you’ll be able to look back and connect the dots of your life and it’ll make sense.
Life is a series of incidents or ‘dots’. It’s only when you look back on your life that you can see how one incident leads to another which leads to another etc.
If one incident is a seemingly negative situation at the time, you realise looking back on it that somehow it lead you to something more significant and meaningful.
Steve shares the story of how his parents who hadn’t gone to college adopted him and how he felt guilty at how much of their money he was spending on his education so he dropped out.
If he hadn’t dropped out he would have never taken a calligraphy course, if he hadn’t taken that course he’d never have been able to apply his knowledge of typography to the first Apple Mac.
Life lesson 2: “Love and loss”
Work takes up a significant part of your life. Find what you love doing and you’ll do great work. Like all matters of the heart, you’ll know it when you find it. Keep looking and don’t settle.
Steve shares the story of when he started Apple and then at 30 got publicly fired by his own Board of Directors.
Although he felt like a public failure he said the time that followed was one of the most creative periods of his life.
He realised he still loved what he did so he started his career over again. He set up two further companies; Pixar, probably the most successful animation studio that produced Toy Story and NeXT, which Apple later went on to purchase.
He also met and married the woman of his dreams. In hindsight getting fired was the best thing that could have happened to him.
Life lesson 3: “Death”
Remembering you’re going to die is the best way to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. Fear of embarrassment or failure fall way in the face of death. You’re already naked. There is no need not to follow your heart.
Death is the most important tool to help you make the most important choices in life.
If you live each day like it was your last, some day you will be right. Throughout his life, Steve Jobs asked himself this question every day ‘if today was the last day of my life would I want to be doing what I’m about to do?
Noone wants to die and yet death is the destination we all share. Death is the single best invention of life. Death is life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Sometime soon you’ll be the old and cleared away. Your time is limited.
Don’t waste it by living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma living by someone else’s beliefs. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your inner voice. Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow know what you want to become. Everything else is secondary.
Steve remembers when doctors found a tumour on his pancreas and told him he could expect to live for no more than 3-6 months. However, after another test they realised it was in fact operable and treatable. However, he had lived with the diagnosis all day. It was the closest he had ever been to facing death.
Check it the whole speech here. It is 15 minutes worth of inspiration:
And if you’re interested in reading more, you can read Steve Job’s biography by Walter Isaacson.