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A Grammy Winner, A Circus Master, And An Apple Veteran On Career Reinvention

Source | FastCompany : By KELLI RICHARDS

I grew up in Cupertino, California, before Apple ever existed. Later, I spent 12 years leading the company’s music and entertainment business. My office at the time sat right where I’d picked apricots as a kid.

Leaving Apple to set out on a new career path wasn’t easy. But as a Silicon Valley native, I found the entrepreneurial spirit I needed to reinvent myself was pretty close at hand. And I’ve been fortunate over the years to have made friends with creative, inspiring people endowed with a similar spirit—many whose careers have taken even more unexpected twists and turns than mine has. Here’s what my experience after leaving Apple has taught me, plus a few things I’ve learned from them.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

LEARNING TO SEE THE SIGNS

I’ve always been passionate about music—it’s driven my career goals from the very start. But in 1998, with Apple in a period of serious financial trouble and the launch of iTunes was still another three years away, digital music just wasn’t the company’s top priority.

It was tough, especially after more than a decade at the company, to come to grips with that reality once it had become apparent. But other factors—from management politics to constant reorganization—helped me decide to take a different course. One thing I’d enjoyed in my time at Apple was that it satisfied my passion for the intersection of technology and music, so I took my expertise and launched my own business to focus on those changes—setting up shop just a mile down the road from Apple headquarters.

Once I’d made that decision, I faced a fresh series of challenges—obstacles that anybody setting out to reshape their careers needs to confront. And along the way, I’ve looked to friends and colleagues who’ve done the same for inspiration.

1. ALWAYS RETURN TO YOUR STRENGTHS

As my friend Stewart Copeland knows, the greatest impact you can make—no matter what you do or where you do it—comes from knowing and utilizing your strengths and talents. Best known as cofounder and drummer of The Police and recently named Rolling Stone’s 10th greatest drummer of all time, Copeland is a gifted performer and composer who’s long found ways to channel his abilities into a wide range of projects.

Born in the U.S. but having grown up in Lebanon, Copeland wove the region’s musical style into his own, through trial and error, feedback from local musicians, and tons of practice—three crucial elements for anyone looking to pull off a career move.

Read on…

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