Words I have shared here before. Cancer can rob a man of many things. Including life. But it cannot erase the way one lived. That is the legacy of a man. And it will never break the spirit of those who share both the privilege and responsibility to carry the legacy forward in life. A visionary leader. A pioneering spirit. A philosopher for our time. A father. A husband. A mentor. A man who changed the world. Many things to many people who mourn his passing far too soon. I didn’t know him. That didn’t matter. I live the iLife. When I started my company one of the first moves I made was trading in my PC for a MAC. My Blackberry for the iPhone. I wanted to be on his team. I believed what he believed:
“We believe that people with passion can change the world for the better.”
His philosophy. So often my inspiration. I carried a crumpled up copy of his Stanford University commencement speech in my bag and referred to it often. His words of wisdom on work were simply priceless: “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.” His words of wisdom on life were even better: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something. Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” He followed his heart. He changed things. Pushed the human race forward. He left us so much. Perhaps the question truly is, what are we doing to do with it?
Ryan Estis is a Keynote Speaker & Management Consultant blogging about business performance.