Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Steve Jobs

You want more good jobs, spawn more Steve Jobs–New York Times’ columnist Thomas Friedman’s advice to President Obama

In 2011, Carmine Gallo published The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs. Since I’m pretty much all-Mac all-the-time, I dove into the book with gusto, soaking up Gallo’s insights into what separates Steve from the rest of us mere mortals. What hit me as I read it, though, was that Steve Jobs’ secrets have a multitude of implications for how teachers and students learn. In the next seven columns I’ll summarize the innovation secrets and suggest a few implications for all forms of learning.

Secret One: Do What You Love

Mr. Gallo writes, “Steve Jobs followed his heart his entire life, and that, he says, has made all the difference.” Gallo supports this idea with ample evidence, but his key piece of evidence is Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford graduate address:

You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.

I hear Steve Jobs’ words echoed in the comments of teachers I’m interviewing for a study I’m doing into motivation and excellence. When I talk to these truly outstanding teachers–the radical learners–they almost always tell me they teach because they can’t imagine doing anything else. They teach because they feel they born to teach. They do great work, as Jobs says, because they love what they do.

What, then, if you don’t feel you were born to teach? What if you feel that when you chose to teach, you did settle?

Each person has to answer that question on their own. Every person has to fight through dark times. Even Jobs said, “I’m convinced the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did.”

My quick answer, though, is that we have to work hard to find what we love about teaching—creating light bulb moment in students, rising to the challenge of a complicated class, learning with peers, creating a powerful, positive classroom culture. We can’t rest until we find what motivates us. Whether we feel we were born to teach, or we are trying to find ways to love this profession, teaching is best done with passion and love. If we dig for what we can love, I’m confident we can find it.

One way to find that passion might be to commit to helping students find the key to what motivates them. If we commit to helping our students find what they love so they can do great work, we may find we love the great work we do as teachers.