What if Steve Jobs was happy and balanced ?

I just read my good friend Fred Wilson’s post about Steve Jobs this morning.

I read the Steve Jobs bio shortly after it came out. It gave me all the goosebumps I wanted about his ability to simplify, his intensity, obsession with quality, pushing his team to reach the impossible. The highs and lows were beyond belief.

But his personal life appears to have been a wreck. His relationship with friends deteriorated for the most part. His relationship with family wasn’t great either.

Obviously none of us know the real story but the book reflects conventional wisdom: Steve was focused on Apple and Steve. And in that order.

Read the book and then watch the Steve Jobs commencement speech at Stanford. It fits together like a glove.

The question which comes to mind (for me) then is: what if Steve was happy and had a balanced life?

Could he have turned around Apple?

What would have become to Pixar ?

Could he have it all?

The truth is I have no idea. But it’s interesting to watch some of my friends that have achieved so much and also maintain an even a greater level of ambition.

I don’t have complete data but they basically fall into two camps for the most part.

-stressed out of their minds, loving their work but wiped out. Relationships strained or worse.

-relationships stronger than ever but the work isn’t what it used to be.

(Yes there are exceptions. I know a few folks that truly break this crude analysis. And again this isn’t meant to be a scientific white paper)

We want to believe we can have it all. It’s the dream. Some of us make it work.

But most of us are picking our paths and living with the results of those choices.