I am writing this on my 2011 MacBook Pro. Last night one of my heros died – Steve Jobs.

My husband says ‘I’ll never go back to Windows’, after a few weeks of flirting with my our Apple laptop.

In 2006, I had a sleek black iPod which we loved. I still have it, dead as it is.

But it was in 2009 that I first ‘met’ or even cared that there was someone called ‘Steve Jobs’.

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For those who don’t know – 2009 year was a tough one for me. I had a challenging time at work – I considered quitting except I didn’t think I had anywhere else to go. And that’s when I began blogging –  a period that cemented my passion for food, writing and photography. With absolutely NO regrets.

I don’t know how/who led me to the commencement speech he gave at Stanford in 2005. I have sent it on to many friends and I have a printed copy in my black purse. That day, I fell in love with Steve Jobs.

I write this in full knowledge of the fact that he had his faults. Who doesn’t? We all have so many sides that are visible from a variety of perspectives. I acknowledge that.

But his speech changed my life in 2009 because he echoed my silent, unarticulated ‘scared’  voice – Find what you love!

He shared three stories about his life – his adoption and dropping out of school where he learnt Calligraphy and typesetting, which ended up defining the look of today’s computers.

Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life. SJ, 2005

I too look back on my life and when I join the dots, I see how challenges, especially the mountain of 2009 have shaped me and changed me….for the better. The only difference now is that I trust and know myself, something I couldn’t say for certain two years ago.

I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life. SJ, 2005

I didn’t know it then but it turns out that having a hard 2009 was the BEST thing that could have happened to me. I had reached a stage where I was at my lowest and  I felt like I wasn’t important in the grand scheme of things but then it was replaced by a sense of being low and having no need to fear a fall’. I began slowly to prove to myself and those that doubted that me that I was capable and competent and to be honest, that gave me and continues to give me SO much freedom. I am so thankful to God and Steve Jobs for making me realise that ‘All things work together for good.’

Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And 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 as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle. SJ, 2005

I admire his ode to passion and finding oneself in the words above. It gave me and still gives me courage to strive to do what I love and obey my heart’s call. I’ve learnt that we have choices, and for each – good and bad, there are consequences. Because of him, my motivations and intentions have shifted gears, geysers welling up from deep within, with less and less focus on ‘reward’….and more on ‘purpose’  and making a difference. I have found the things that are important to me. Thank you, Steve.

He makes me laugh when he says ‘No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there.’ I laugh because it is a common joke in Nigeria – ‘Everyone wants to go to heaven but no one wants to die.’

But my favourite portion of the speech is the section below. And it is now part of my email ‘signature’.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. SJ, 2005

Read the text of the commencement speech or watch the 14-minute video here.

He finished his speech by saying ‘Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.’

Steve Jobs mentored me, with his words through a difficult time and now, 2009 is recorded as my best year. I have the courage to life my life to the fullest, without fear of eternal failure and condemnation.

See you in heaven, Steve. X X X

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