From an initial $50 investment by his father, Phil Knight built Nike. He created a business rooted in a vision, in partnership with a seemingly mish-mosh team devoted to bringing their mission to life. Shoe Dog recounts Knight’s journey to greatness while offering up some of his key learnings along the way. Some of my favorites are:
We wanted, as all great businesses do, to create, to contribute, and we dared to say so aloud. When you make something, when you improve something, when you deliver something, when you add some new thing or service to the lives of strangers, making them happier, or healthier, or safer, or better, and when you do it all crisply and efficiently, smartly, the way everything should be done but so seldom is, you’re participating more fully in the whole grand human drama. …You’re helping others to live more fully, and if that’s business, all right, call me a businessman.
One lesson I took from all my home-schooling about heroes was that they didn’t say much. None was a blabbermouth. None micromanaged. Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.
If you’re following your calling, the fatigue will be easier to bear, the disappointments will be fuel, the highs will be nothing like you’ve ever felt.
Knight’s connection – to his work and to his people – and belief in his vision, paved his path to greatness.
In 2012, Nike rolled out a campaign entitled Find Your Greatness:
Somehow we’ve come to believe that greatness is only for the chosen few, for the superstars. The truth is, greatness is for us all. This is not about lowering expectations; it’s about raising them for every last one of us. Greatness is not in one special place, and it’s not in one special person. Greatness is wherever somebody is trying to find it.
Coincidence? The point is, we all have the capacity to be great, whatever that means for each of us. Because it’s different. We each have our own ideas, beliefs, experiences, perspectives, and preferences that shape how we view and participate in the world.
What we have in common is that we are all human. Humans are different by nature. In these differences lie our greatness. Find your greatness. Remember you are human. Repeat
So, I challenge you, what’s your greatness?