In his famous commencement address at Stanford in 2005, Jobs talked about how his biggest challenge contained an even bigger opportunity.
When Jobs was 30, the company he had founded and worked hard in all his adult life suddenly fired him. It was, he said, “devastating.”
For a few months Jobs felt awful, “a very public failure.” But then he reflected and decided to start over. “It turned out,” he said, “that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me… It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life… It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it.”
He also gave advice for anyone finding themselves in a similar situation:
“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… If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”
Finding what he loved was what enabled Steve Jobs to turn a tiny computer company (far smaller than Microsoft and its many other rivals) into the most valuable company in the world.
Finding the opportunities in a crisis is the attitude that defines leadership.
And, as Steve Jobs found, our greatest challenge contains our greatest opportunity.
Adapted from Inner Leadership.