Steve Jobs & The Hero’s Journey
The majority of us live and operate in a defined tight knit network. We occasionally meet new people through friends and colleagues who share similar beliefs, ideas and values. We are attracted to concepts that make us feel safe and warrant little thought. We follow the same leaders and read the same news sources respective of our industry.
This way of living creates a closed network. I was recently introduced to an article on Forbes by Michael Simmons called “The No. 1 Predictor of Career Success According to Network Science” which opened my eyes to an entirely new concept. Working at Nudge, I’m constantly finding new research around business relationships that’s changing the way I view my personal and professional life.
Simmons, bestselling author and award-winning entrepreneur, highlights some of his work with Ron Burt, one of the world’s top network scientists, focusing on the importance of an “open network” and how it impacts your success. Based on those findings, having a large, open network “where you are the link between people from different clusters” is a key predictor to career success.
Simmons brings this research to the real world by attributing the success of Apple to the curiosity and irregular career path of its leader, Steve Jobs. From exploring India and Buddhism to living on an apple orchard, Jobs was influenced from networks of completely varying worlds, allowing him to create something entirely different from the other technology players.
A journey that seemed completely aimless ended up being key factors in Jobs’ success. Would he have ever thought of the brand “Apple” without living on that orchard? This is where we learn about the journey. “The Hero’s Journey” is what inspires many of us on a daily basis. It is the path one takes by leaving their ordinary stable life to one that is completely unknown, full of new influences and barriers to overcome. Have you ever heard of Star Wars or Lord of the Rings?
You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. – Steve Jobs
It’s never easy to “enter new worlds of people”, especially when we’re comfortable with our daily lives and literally go out of our way to avoid a disruption to our regular schedule. Luckily you don’t have to embark on a journey to Mordor to benefit from an open network. Like any cliche business quote, the rewards of breaking outside of your comfort zone can be life altering.
The Open Network
Our CEO and Co-founder, Paul Teshima, recently wrote about his experience with opening up his network to people that would typically be outside of his close knit connections. It’s incredible how meeting with one new person snowballed into new hires and potential venture opportunities. The more we consider the positive effects of fostering an open network, the more we start to question the way we operate on a daily basis. Don’t you feel like you’re sometimes living under a rock when introduced to a new concept that radically changes the way you think?
Simmons highlights a few key opportunities that result from having an open network, including a more accurate view of the world, more breakthrough ideas and your ability to act as a connector between dissimilar groups. Do yourself a favour and checkout the article, it really did inspire me. We all have experienced the “Hero’s Journey” in one way or another. Whether it was moving away from home or changing jobs, and it typically turns out to be a great thing in the end regardless of how uncertain it felt at the beginning.
Today I will start meeting with new people who are completely outside of my domain. I’m now eager to see how ideas, skills and experiences from areas I know nothing about can help guide me on a career path that is anything but normal. What do you think about this concept? Are you open to the challenge or will you continue to follow the same path?