At one point in my career, I joined a leadership team of a small upcoming tech company. While they were really good at “tech” things, they struggled with the social interaction and people side of things. That’s where I came into the picture.
I looked around a very dark, plain white wall office in which maybe 8-10 people sat at desks in this shoebox. Communication was relegated to slack messages to someone sitting two feet from you. Only face to face talking was at formalized agenda’d meetings. This is the way many tech startups happen. This isn’t a criticism. I just need to set the stage of what I was looking at day to day. Invoke inspiration into this environment. Got it.
On the wall of my home office, I have this quote from Steve Jobs. I wanted to bring it to the walls there. I was told that was too cliche, too silly - to have a tech startup and put the words of Steve Jobs on the wall - one of the greatest tech innovators of all time. I constantly was up against a status quo that they didn’t see - they were so focused on being anti-corporate indoctrination that they didn’t realize they replicated it every day throughout the company, unintentionally. I was just as guilty because I don’t think I fought hard enough or bucked their system enough to break it. I agreed, begrudgingly, to bow out instead. This wasn’t the place for me.
I look back at the conversations around this quote going on the wall and think how tragic that thinking was. How detrimental to the culture it was. You see, Steve Jobs believed in breaking molds, believed in not stepping out of the box, but f’ing shattering the box itself. It’s in the outrageous thinking, making the impossible happen, about bucking the system and the people and the culture that tells you every single second of every single day of why you can’t do something. It’s about finding the people and the beliefs that believe anything is possible - that is the very HEART of innovation and creation. Someone told them through social media and corporate business planning and a capitalistic culture that seeing this on the wall was cliche. Was it though? Think about it - it was the perception of what people would think, not the reality of the needed inspiration - that kept this quote off the wall and this belief from being rooted into the very beliefs of the company culture.
So here’s the thing - hard stop to the bs you see on a daily basis making you think you’re wrong for being what the world isn’t ready for. They may not be ready for you, but they NEED you. Not some sh*t version of yourself the world tried to mold you into. Buck the system. Shatter the mold. Get loud. Be the person you need to be for yourself, that you are okay looking in the mirror at, that lets you sleep at night. Stop being what you think you’re “supposed to be” because let me clue you into a secret - it will NEVER be enough for them. THAT is when you find happiness. THAT is when you find your destiny. THAT is when you change the world. Steve Jobs knew it. He knew the people who questioned everything would change the world. And they do, every single day.
And so can you!
I’ll plaster this quote over every single wall I can and I’ll live it everyday because he was right y’all. He was so right.
Give us all the trouble makers, the rebels, the misfits - all the round pegs! You can keep your pretty pictures and cultured polite society. Shatter the illusions. Quit living up to someone else’s standards and set your own. Challenge yourself and as my grandfather would say, accept that challenge everyday.
Take it light. Or take it hard.
You decide which one.