Don’t Wait to Thank Your Mentors and Heroes

Steve Jobs Artwork by David Datuna, Mironova Gallery

Like many, Steve Jobs had an influence on my life.  He taught me a lesson recently.  It was in his passing that I learned not to wait to seek out my heroes.  Steve Jobs did not live that far from me but we didn’t know each other.  He was a distant mentor on a pedestal of brilliance and accomplishment that most of us feel is out of reach. Perhaps you have a hero or someone you feel this way about? Perhaps, like me, there are those that are gone now and you wish that you had expressed how you felt about them.

My getting to thank Steve or ask him a few questions also seemed out of reach.  I felt that I would have time and better means to do it after I had made it to the next achievement. I felt that I needed to reach another milestone or two to be worthy of a visit. Now, I’m just sorry that I didn’t reach out and make it happen.  I’m sorry that I put myself in that group.  You know the one…the group that feels that other groups are out of reach and beyond our ability to approach and communicate with them.

The human spirit welcomes persistence and audacity. I know, had I made it important enough, that I could have met and thanked Steve Jobs for his influence on me.  His accomplishments are recognized by many and by a world changed by his vision.  I would have liked to have shared, though, the spirit in me that was a contribution unknown to him. I would have liked to have had a handshake and a reasonable look into his eyes if nothing more.  There are those on my list of aspiration contacts; Heroes, mentors and thought leaders that I admire or aspire to better understand. I am reaching out to them. I owe them my thanks and I imagine that would be glad to have it.

Wouldn’t you imagine that Steve would have wanted us to believe that no other human you wish to connect with, to ask questions of, to learn from, is ever out of reach?

A few lessons from Steve Jobs that I will teach my children and continue to teach myself:

From Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address:

“You’ve got to find what you love. That is as true for work as it is for your lovers.  The only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work.  The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And like any great relationship, it just gets better and better. So keep looking. Don’t settle.”

“Don’t be trapped by Dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.”

“Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish”

A few more:

“Customers don’t know what they want unless you show it to them.”

“Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.”

“Learn from failure.  Being told you can’t do something should make you want to do it even more.”

“See the big picture.  Even if you don’t control the big picture, see how your part fits into the big picture, and make it better.”

Do you have a hero or a mentor that doesn’t know who you are? Have you sent a letter or tried to reach out and say thank you? How much more might you learn if they are open to you reaching out?

Read “What I learned from Steve Jobs” by Guy Kawasaki (who worked for Steve) on CNET News

Read 25 Things I Learned From Steve Jobs (by way of reading the recent  Steve Jobs Biography by Walter Isaacson)

Steve Jobs Biography – Biography.com

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