YPOers; 2012 Annual Plan; 1000 Children; October RH workshops
October 4, 2011
Two Critical Books; Jim Collins Update; Andrew Sherman’s Best; Oct 14 Webcast
October 11, 2011

Remembering I’ll Be Dead Soon — Steve Jobs, 1955 – 2011

"…keeping you great"


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.


Steve Jobs, 1955 — 2011
Stanford Commencement Address

…There is No Reason Not to Follow Your Heart — Steve shared this same sentiment in his 1986 Association of Collegiate Entrepreneurs (ACE) keynote address. We had just named him the #1 young entrepreneur under 30 for his $1.9 billion in revenue for 1985. It was his first public speech after being fired and I still remember the intensity of his eyes and the graceful movement of his hands as he shared his story of launching Apple and then having it ripped from his arms.

Additional Legacy — His final admonition to follow our hearts, using our heads, that Friday evening in LA, immediately inspired me to launch YEO (now EO), which became a reality the following year and is now celebrating its 25th anniversary next year. Steve, who single-handedly made being young and being an entrepreneur a legitimate career path, not only changed industries through his work, but led an entrepreneurial revolution through his example. This is an important, and never mentioned, legacy for which Steve also deserves credit.

This Weekend — I'm going to gather my four children around my wife's Mac and we're going to re-watch Steve's Stanford Commencement Address — still the most powerful entrepreneurial speech ever given. I'll explain to my children that it was Steve's commencement address (and something Michael Gerber of E-Myth fame showed me) that directly led to our family trip around the world and subsequent move to Barcelona. I'll remind them that there is no reason not to follow your heart.

Head and Heart Tension — curiously, there was a headline my "head" wanted me to write, but my heart told me to give it some time. Or is it my "heart" telling me to write what I really want to say, but my "head" — external expectations, fear of embarrassment, thinking I might lose some of you as readers — that kept me from doing it. And maybe it is just a timing issue — possibly in a month or so I'll come clean. Anyway, this head/heart thing can be tricky at times.

Last — Steve's passing immediately took me back almost two decades to the moment I heard that my dear friend, Jeff Anguil, had died of brain cancer at age 29. Jeff, a participant in the first MIT "Birthing of Giants" program and the first YEO forum organized by Gregg Stemm (my perennial VP in building YEO), ran a successful business that still thrives today, led by his brother and sister. Slated to be the next International President of YEO at the time (and we all thought President of the US at some point!), he left us way too soon. Jeff, I still think of you — and it's for you, at this moment of Steve's death, that I shed a tear.

There is no reason not to follow your heart…

Verne Harnish
Verne Harnish
Verne Harnish is founder of the world-renowned Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) and chaired for fifteen years EO’s premiere CEO program, the “Birthing of Giants” and WEO’s “Advanced Business” executive program both held at MIT. Founder and CEO of Gazelles, a global executive education and coaching company with over 150 coaching partners on six continents, Verne has spent the past three decades helping companies scale-up. The “Growth Guy” syndicated columnist, he’s also the Venture columnist for FORTUNE magazine. He’s the author of Scaling Up (Rockefeller Habits 2.0); Mastering the Rockefeller Habits; and along with the editors of Fortune, authored The Greatest Business Decisions of All Times," for which Jim Collins wrote the foreword. Verne also chairs FORTUNE Magazine’s annual Leadership and Growth Summits and serves on several boards including chairman of The Riordan Clinic and the newly launched Geoversity. He is an investor in many scale-ups. A father of four, he enjoys piano, tennis, and magic as a card-carrying member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians.