What was the secret of Steve Jobs’ success?
1: “As the sun was setting over the Hudson River on a brisk October day two men stood on the terrace of a luxury apartment building overlooking New York’s Central Park,” writes Carmine Gallo in his powerful book The Storyteller’s Secret: From TED Speakers to Business Legends, Why Some Ideas Catch on and Others Don’t
“One man, a rebellious 26-year old, dressed in a mock turtleneck and blue jeans, stared at his running shoes for a long time without saying a word. Then, as quickly as a light switch moves from off to on, he turned to the man by his side – a successful corporate executive who was one month shy of his forty-fifth birthday- and delivered the words that would transform the lives of both men and change the business world forever.
John had just turned down Steve’s offer to run Apple. He remembers the question landed like a “punch in the gut.” He would change his mind and choose to join Apple.
2: Upon hearing the news of Steve’s death in 2011, John remarked, “Steve Jobs was intensely passionate at making an important difference in the lives of his fellow humans while he was on the planet. He never was into money or measured his life through owning stuff.”
This week we are continuing our exploration of the principles of storytelling which Carmine outlines in his book. He believes storytelling is a critical 21st-century skill for business leaders.
Story explains why “many ideas fail to gain traction, while others trigger global movements. It explains why many leaders fail to inspire their teams, while others persuade people to walk through walls,” Carmine writes.
It starts with passion.
“It’s nearly impossible to be a successful storyteller without passion,” writes Carmine. “Passion leads to energy and without energy, enthusiasm, and excitement it becomes very difficult to hold an audience’s attention.”
Inspiring storytellers are inspired themselves.
Steve Jobs “captivated our imaginations because he had a wild and wondrous appreciation for how technology could change the world and he had the courage to express it,” Carmine writes.
Upon returning to Apple in 1997, Steve said: “This is a very complicated world. It’s a very noisy world and we’re not going to get a chance to get people to remember much about us. No company is. And so we need to be really clear on what we want them to know about us… Apple’s core value is that we believe that people with passion can change the world for the better.”
Business leaders and aspiring entrepreneurs are wise to take note. We must be clear on what we want people to know about us.
3: Carmine outlines four questions to help us articulate what we are passionate about. The first question applies to founders, but the remaining three apply to all business people.
1: Why did you start a company?
2: What does your company do?
3: What are you passionate about?
4: What makes your heart sing?
“Don’t ask, ‘What do I want to do?’ Ask yourself, ‘What makes my heart sing?'” Carmine suggests.
Reflection: What makes my heart sing?
Action: Journal about my answers to Carmine’s four questions above.