Love him or hate him, Steve Jobs left an undeniable mark on our world. Having spent a good number of years doing work in and for the Apple community, I was familiar with a lot of Jobs’ quotes, but in 2014 one quote hit me at exactly the right time I needed to hear it.

After hitting a very serious run of burnout triggered by a very personal loss, I’d begun to take real stock on what and who I spend my time on, and how I prioritize my focus. While doing research for some upcoming talks, I happened upon Steve’s “Poke Life” quote and one particular piece of that quote really struck me:

“…Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact, and that is – everything around you that you call life, was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.…” (View the full quote here)

I started experimenting with the idea of “poking life”. While changes weren’t immediately huge or sweeping, over time, with practice and commitment to continue experimenting and poking, sure enough I started making little marks, shaping my life the way I wanted it to be. I did things that scared me, I said “No” to things that didn’t align with my focus. I became more willing to sacrifice creature comforts and luxuries in order to push my experimentation, and the more I let go, the more rewarding life became.

Poking life is something we can do no matter where we are at, or where we want to go in life. I was able to clarify my own path by outlining my compass of values, identifying my fears, and continually practicing the poking of life one tiny action at a time. Start small, start now, and don’t ever stop poking.

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