What Would Steve Jobs Do? How to Recover as an Entrepreneur After a Setback

Here’s a story for anyone currently facing a difficult time on the journey to career success. The year was 1985. A young business man was fired from his job at a computer company in California. He had no college degree and had just barely turned 30 years old. His mind was full of innovative ideas, but he was told he was too reckless to ever run his own business.

That man was Steve Jobs.

Of course, you don’t need me to tell you that Steve Jobs eventually recovered from his devastating career setback. As we all know, he later went on to become one of the most successful entrepreneurs of all time.

Why is the story of Steve Jobs so important? Because it is powerful to realize that you’re not alone if you’re going through a humiliating or devastating experience. Author Alan Deutschman writes, “At 30, he has this humiliating defeat. But he persists. He has this incredible tenacity. He holds on and comes back with triumph.”

As Jobs shows us, a career setback can be humbling – but it doesn’t have to signify the end of your career. Although your own situation is probably different from Jobs, you can probably learn a lot from his experiences and words of wisdom. After all, as Rob Siltanen says, Jobs was the man who helped transform Apple from a laughing stock company to “the stock you dream of owning.”

Here are some tips that apply to almost any situation:

  • Reinvent yourself. Jobs was known for his innovative thinking, and he never put all his eggs in one basket. Although we typically think of Jobs as the founder of Apple, it wasn’t until after he was released from the company that he purchased Pixar.
  • Think different.” This became a slogan for Apple after Jobs returned in 1997 and he was directly involved in the creation of the ad campaign. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Use this time to come up with exciting new ideas that you feel passionately about. Start a new business. Invest in a new company. Make a new career move. As Jobs would say: “Stay hungry… stay foolish.”
  • Be patient. Although Jobs purchased Pixar in the mid-1980s, Pixar’s first hit film wasn’t until 1995 with “Toy Story.” Meanwhile, Jobs founded a computer startup called NeXT in 1985 after being released from Apple; however, NeXT’s first product wasn’t launched until 1988. After nearly a decade, Apple agreed to purchase NeXT in 1996. This ultimately led to Jobs eventually being rehired as CEO of Apple. Just imagine if he had given up on any of his business ideas before they’d had the chance to become ultimately successful!
  • Have faith During his commencement speech at Stanford University in 2005, Jobs described how “scary” one of his own personal struggles was, and how he just had to “trust that it would all work out okay.” Never lose faith, don’t give up on yourself, and you might find that the most difficult situations in your life eventually lead to some of the best situations in your life.

To quote Apple’s “Think Different” campaign: “Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes [and] the ones who see things differently.” Because entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs (and possibly you, too) realize that more often than not, the people who believe that they have the power change the world, are exactly the ones who do.

Author: Larry Mager

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