A pink shoe on a tan background.

2 Lessons Of Resilience From Nike Cofounder, Phil Knight

And his biggest regret.

In his book, Shoe Dog, Phil Knight recounts his experience of building Nike. From convincing initial manufacturers in Japan to give him a shot, to taking the company public, Knight speaks to the many ups and downs of the famous brand.

And there were, surprisingly, many, many downs. Most of which revolved around money. That is, not having enough of it.


If he can, so can we

There were struggles to pay legal fees, paychecks bounced, loan rejections, and fears of indictment. Things I never expected a business as successful as Nike to have experienced.

When I picture the major companies of the world, I always assume they had an easy go of things. That the founders were born with magic abilities that allowed them to hit it out of the park with each at-bat. I’m happy I was wrong.

Because it gives me hope, as it should you. Hope that we all have a chance, so long as we keep going.


His regret

Knight tells of the many times he thought the company would go under. How he thought he’d be “out of a job.” He talked about the stressful times, the fights, the painful negotiations.

Yet, he didn’t quit. He just kept going. Kept pushing onward. From one obstacle to the next. Why? Why would he continue after hitting barrier after barrier? Could it be from his early training as a runner? Could it be that he possessed more patience? More resilience?

I’ll give you a hint.

Towards the end of the book, when looking back, he mentioned that he had regrets. One of which was that he couldn’t go back and do it all again.


The value of fulfillment

Fulfillment is a powerful thing.

Certainly more powerful than happiness. Happiness is fleeting. It is a night out with friends. It is a loving message from your spouse. Wonderful moments, but short-lived. Fulfillment, on the other hand, sustains.

Fulfillment knows both ups and downs yet through it all, there is meaning. There is purpose. You can be frustrated, stressed, worried, and still feel fulfilled. Still wake up in the morning ready to tackle the day because of the meaning you feel in your life.


A person jumping out of a puddle.


Strength of mind

The story of Nike is one of turbulence, but if he could, Knight would do it all again. He would start back at the bottom of the hill and revel in the climb. Because it was fulfilling for him.

It wasn’t easy, but it was meaningful.

So fulfillment certainly played a role in his ability to keep going. To keep putting one foot in front of the other. But is that all it takes? Doubtful. Because while he seemed to love what he did, he also developed a strong mental attitude.

Throughout his journey, Knight recalled inspirational leaders, runners, events. He allowed them to influence him and help him move forward. To keep going. To never quit.


Do the work, believe it’s possible

Put another way, with any goal you set, the mental is just as valuable as the physical. You need both to get to where you want to go. You need to put in the work each day, while also believing that what you’re working towards is possible.

Both are required.

If you do the work but don’t believe in the viability, you’ll give up. If you believe, but never do the work, you’ll still be on the couch a year from now, daydreaming of what-ifs.


Moving forward with resilience

If you haven’t read Shoe Dog, I encourage you to check it out. As far as this article goes though, there are two things to take away in regards to achieving your aims:

  1. Fulfillment is powerful and should be sought after.
  2. You must both do the work and believe that the work will pay off. Keep going.

Do that and you’ll be well on your way to goal success.

I’m off for a run.


PS: Let me show you how to achieve your goals.

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