I watched Steve Jobs famous speech given at Stanford University in 2005 yesterday for the umpteenth time. If you are familiar with the speech you will know Steve Jobs tells three stories from his life and talks about connecting the dots.
Each story shows how a series of events moved him to a new place or direction in his life.
Watching it got me thinking about my life and connecting my own dots.
You can watch the speech here.
“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
This quote rings very true for me.
When I am going through what can appear a terrible situation I can never see the silver lining or understand what good may come from it.
It is only looking backwards, sometimes years later, that I see the gift in what appeared to be such adversity.
Can you relate? Can you look back at how a series of events in your life ultimately connected?
Over the years I have come to trust “the dots will somehow connect in my future.”
I believe connecting the dots in our lives is important as it helps us move on.
It helps us get through tough times when we trust and believe that ultimately the dots will connect.
Here are three examples from my own life. I could write a book on each but for now I will give a very quick overview.
Connecting the dots – Example 1
When I married my husband he had a farm machinery dealership in country Western Australia. The parent company of the farm machinery we sold had gone into receivership when our daughter had just celebrated her first birthday.
We had tractors, headers and other farm machinery on floor plan (a system where you pay interest on the items until you sell them – I think it was around 18 per cent at the time!). We also had a high level of spare parts we owned. All of which pretty much became obsolete over night.
Just over a year later we closed our doors, sold what we could to clear our business debts (including our beach front house) and moved to Perth to start again.
It was back to Perth for me, but given my husband had grown up in the country and taken over the family business this was a big deal for him.
I was fairly optimistic and knew I could go back to my profession of accounting.
My dream to stay home with my daughter looked like it would not be realized but I knew I could feed us and it seemed like the only solution.
I went back to my accounting profession and my husband studied and became a financial planner.
Together with another partner we ultimately built a financial planning firm.
The events in our life that seemed so devastating at the time turned out to be a gift in disguise.
Looking back at this major change in our lives it was easy to connect the dots even though it seemed like such adversity at the time it happened.
Connecting the dots – example 2
My second example is also business related.
Some years later we moved from Perth, Western Australia to Sydney to start a new business.
The business was built on the back of our financial planning business. We promoted and sold investments using taxation laws of the time. The investments were based mostly on Agriculture or Research and Development. Investors obtained a tax deduction for investing in them. In most cases this put money back in people’s pockets. This made the investments very popular.
As a result the business was very successful and life was very good. This was to be short lived and the success was brought to an abrupt halt due to a legislation changes by the Australian Taxation Office.
The Tax Office had accepted this type of investment for many years . We always thought that the day would come when they would change the laws.
What we never expected was that they changed them over night retrospectively. Once again – overnight we pretty much had no product and had to finally close the business.
I certainly could not connect the dots at the time. I could not accept any good would ever come from this change and abrupt end to our success.
Looking back I can connect the dots and enjoyed the change in career path that resulted for me.
Connecting the dots – example 3 – trusting the dots will connect in the future
This is an example of how we cannot connect the dots looking forward but can trust they will ultimately connect.
I am currently building up my health after the biggest crisis in my life. In January this year I learned I had a serious health challenge .
I am through the worst of the situation now and gaining my strength again.
From day one of learning my diagnoses I went into a place of knowing this was indeed a life changing event. I am still connecting the dots. What I know for sure is that I will use this experience to benefit others.
Because I have been able to connect the dots of previous experiences in my life I have been able to hold myself in a place of trust. This is why I know connecting the dots of your life is important.
Have an amazing day!