Resilience is an important part of the 7 Steps to Purpose. Thought you might find this recent case study interesting:


I am a long-time Steve Jobs fan. For years I’ve admired his vision and brilliance

as both an inventor and entrepreneur. Now, his passing has me thinking about his

resilience, not just in his long fight with pancreatic cancer but throughout his

entire career before and during his tenure at Apple. Jobs clearly displayed the

strengths of a highly resilient person. Here’s where I think he might have

scored on the 7 Elements of Resilience:


Emotion Regulation –

Probably below the norm earlier in his career, and well above it in more recent

years. He had a reputation as a hothead in his younger days but over time he

obviously figured out how to stay cool under fire.


Impulse Control

Same as Emotion Regulation, because how we think

drives both what we feel and how we react – especially in tough situations. I’m

guessing that Jobs gained some conscious control over his thinking which in turn

allowed him to use his emotions and behavior for greater effect and with less



Causal Analysis –


Most engineers/inventors score high here and I think Jobs would have as well. This

critical ability to accurately and comprehensively determine root causes of

problems would have enabled him to tackle complex technical challenges, learn

from his mistakes and ultimately create incredible



Self-efficacy –

Self-efficacy is a core strength of entrepreneurs; there’s no doubt Jobs would

have been off-the-scale high on this measure of self-confidence and belief in

his ability to handle the challenges that came his way.


Realistic Optimism

Again, I predict a high score here, perhaps even a

bit on the unrealistic side. Our work has shown that unbridled optimism can be a

drag on resilience – extreme optimists tend to minimize risk and get blindsided

by the bad stuff. However, in Jobs’ case, his high Causal Analysis would be a

nice counterbalance to this.


Empathy –


I’d figure on a fairly low empathy score. As brilliant, analytical, focused, and self-directed

as he was, the ability to read the emotions of others was probably not his

strong suit.


Reaching Out –

Ultra-high Self-efficacy, Optimism and Reaching Out are the “trifecta” for

entrepreneurs, so I’m betting that Steve Jobs would have scored high on this

factor too. The ability and desire to tackle new challenges and opportunities

was apparent throughout his career.


A final note: Every article I’ve read about Steve Jobs in the past week speaks to

his passion and connectedness – the more passion and purpose you bring to your work, and the

greater your belief that your work makes a difference, the more resilient you will be. Period.

(From Adaptiv Blog Post of Oct 10, 2011)