A dynamic and brilliant person, Steve Jobs created products that have changed our lives, and built the world's most successful brand in the process.

Many attribute Jobs' success to his intelligence and vision. If you look deeper though, you'll see that the foundation for his success was something more profound--authenticity.

Here are six ways that authenticity helped Jobs become one of the greatest entrepreneurs of all time.

He didn't ask for permission

Jobs attended classes at a college in which he wasn't enrolled and famously drove around Palo Alto without a license plate.

While I don't endorse doing either, these anecdotes demonstrate how Jobs didn't ask or wait for permission before taking action.

You can't wait for someone else to hand you what you want in life. You need to go out and get it. Don't wait around for permission or approval before taking action.

He fed his curiosities

While in college, Jobs took classes in calligraphy just because he liked its beauty and form. He didn't have a plan for how those classes would fit into his career; he simply pursued a curiosity.

Great things happen when we entertain our curiosities. Jobs' calligraphy classes inspired him to design a more beautiful kind of computer, and ultimately led to an esthetic user interface that you enjoy today.

Feeding my own curiosities have taught me valuable lessons that directly impacted my performance as an entrepreneur. Surfing taught me patience and flow. Boxing taught me the balance between offense and defense. The awareness I gain from meditating helps me weather the ups and downs of startup life.

He listened to his intuition

Jobs was given visionary superpowers. The real key to his success though, was the way in which he trusted those inclinations.

While others focused on enterprise, Jobs imagined that he could transform humanity through the personal computer. Jobs did not listen to dissenting opinions, but pursued his vision of a PC in every home.

Jobs highlighted the importance of intuition in his Stanford commencement address by saying, "Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice."

He didn't hold back

Jobs is a polarizing figure to be sure. Biographer Walter Isaacson regularly references his temper and dictatorial leadership style in his biography "Steve Jobs".

While Jobs was arguably both a genius and a jerk, one thing he was not was a conformist. If Jobs had been more concerned about being liked than expressing what he believed, the world we live in would be different.

Think about your own life. Do you temper yourself in fit the expectations of others? Are there parts of your personality that you stifle? What brilliance might you express if you lessened your need of approval?

It's easier said than done, but it's worth the effort to embrace your whole self.

He embraced his intensity

Jobs was an intense individual who was on a mission that he cared about deeply. Intensity is sometimes seen as a negative trait, and yet Jobs embraced his intensity, using it to drive him to create products that changed the world.

He didn't settle

Jobs didn't lower his standards for anyone. He didn't apologize for striving for excellence. As a result, he built Apple's brand on beautiful design, superior quality and the fact that everything "just works."

Think about your business and how it operates. Does every employee strive for greatness? Is a five-star customer experience on the forefront of everyone's mind?

Follow in Jobs' footsteps by defining what constitutes excellence in your company and inspiring your team to achieve it.


While it's easy to be distracted by stories about his temper or praise of his intelligence, a deeper look shows that authenticity was a significant driver in Jobs' historic success. The world would be a different place if not for Jobs' ability to live authentically to his true self.