Today would have been Steve Jobs’ 60th birthday.
Yesterday, author Seth Godin suggested we make today Ruckusmaker Day to celebrate a root narrative in American culture — the narrative of the pioneer. The difference maker. The creative, innovator and change agent in all of us.
There’s too much out there already about Steve Jobs, his impact and legacy. And too many people have unpacked “lessons” we can learn from Jobs’ life and example.
I don’t want to add to that clutter and noise.
We all know he was a master storyteller. Not just in his presentations and interviews. But in the story he cultivated through Apple’s choices and culture.
What made Steve Jobs unique was his deep care.
That’s the one thing I want you to take away from this little essay.
What makes you invaluable to those you serve is your deep care. It is the one thing your competitors can’t copy or steal. It is your ticket to your own monopoly.
But beware! To care is to risk. To be vulnerable. To give. To have faith.
When you care, you will be ignored. Snubbed. Laughed at. Sometimes attacked.
It can feel humiliating. And hard.
But then something happens.
Someone shares your care. And it begins to spread.
Steve Jobs cared. At first, that care was shared among his core team.
Over time, it permeated the company’s culture. It spread to Apple’s core customers and partners. And, ultimately, Apple and Jobs were narratives shared throughout the world.
That narrative started in 1976. And didn’t begin to peak until around 2001. Twenty-five years is quite a long time.
Are you invested in something you’re willing to fight that long for? Or longer?
Who you are and who you become grows out of how much (and how often) you care over time.
To care about someone or something beyond yourself is to push yourself (and others) to take one more risk. Give one more time. Believe for one more day.
There are a lot of people in our companies and communities who don’t care. And there are a lot of folks who only care about themselves.
To be a ruckusmaker is to be someone who cares in big ways about ideas, people and causes that can change the world.
When I read Seth’s post yesterday, I decided to postpone the post I had originally scheduled for today. And I had blocked off time last night to write an epic post about Ruckusmakers for today.
Then something happened. We had quite a scare. And spent the night in a hospital caring for one of our children.
I could have easily launched the post I already had in the can. But I care deeply about this ruckusmaking idea — this narrative:
The more you care about those you serve…the more of a ruckus you’ll be willing to make and crap you’ll be willing to take to elevate their lives.”
What you do — whether its marketing, sales, ministry, fundraising, recruiting, managing, designing, coding, whatever — matters. Because no one in this world can care quite like you do.
It’s your voice. Your fingerprint. Your signature. Your brand. Your responsibility.
Now go make a ruckus!
Oh yeah, one more thing. Reach out to someone right now. Send them the link to this piece or Seth’s piece or something that’s touched you and invite them to join you in ruckusmaking — in making a difference to those you serve.
Here are a few ruckusmakers who have influenced my thinking and life:
- My father — Reynold Jennings
- Fred Rogers
- Brother Lawrence
- Jerry Lewis
- Gary Snyder
- David Meerman Scott
- Anita Roddick
- Regis McKenna
- Theodore Levitt
- Jack Kerouac
- Tom Peters
- Seth Godin
- C.S. Lewis
- Clayton Christensen
- John Steinbeck
- Sofia Coppola
- Madeleine L’Engle
- Wes Anderson
- Brian Clark
- Mark Lee
- Steve Irwin
- Ernest Hemingway