What Story Are You Telling?

“Death didn’t happen to Steve, he achieved it.” – Mona Simpson

After reading through the Eulogy written by Steve Jobs sister, Mona Simpson, these words stood out more than any others.

I’m hard-pressed to remember a man who indirectly had such a direct impact on the lives of so many. He left behind innovation in the way we think, the way we buy, and above all, the way we live. His ingenuity, drive, and innovation make what we do day-to-day possible.

But Mona’s eulogy wasn’t focused on Steve’s massive accomplishments or his mega-paycheck. It wasn’t even focused on the imprint he forever made on the world of technology and culture we live in.

Instead it focused on the simple principles of a hard-working, dedicated, creative man.

  • “Steve worked hard at what he loved. He worked really hard. Every day.”
  • “Novelty was not Steve’s highest value. Beauty was.”
  • “He was willing to be misunderstood.”
  • “Steve was humble.”
  • “Steve liked to keep learning.”
  • “Steve cultivated whimsy.”
  • “He treasured happiness.”
  • “He tried. He always, always tried, and always with love at the core of that effort. He was an intensely emotional man.”

I don’t have a sister, but I’d consider myself lucky that when my time comes, my wife, my future son/daughter, my family and friends – have similar things to say about me. That I loved unconditionally, worked hard, remained optimistic, and never stopped learning.

We’d all be so lucky.

To again quote Mona:

“We all — in the end — die in medias res. In the middle of a story. Of many stories.”

We never know when our time will come. But that time is inevitable. It will come. And it is literally impossible to accomplish every single thing you want to accomplish before it does. Even in the case of Steve Jobs, who accomplished so much, both personally and professionally. His time still came in the middle of a story that was still being written. That even today, though he’s no longer with us, continues to write itself.

What story are you telling? What story will others tell when you’re gone? How will it continue to be told by future generations?