When I first heard this quote from Nike Co-Founder Phil Knight’s Memoir, Shoe Dog, I was moved. Today Nike employs over 60, 000 workers directly and more indirectly. In spite of Nike’s meteoric success they certainly have their challenges and complaints, but I want to focus on the courage it takes to create, to win, to capture the imagination, to inspire and even to provide jobs like they have. I believe Knight masterfully sums up the thrill of being in the hunt of excellence and pursuing a goal to drive change all around him in a way only a person who truly knows can. If this doesn’t resonate or better yet if it does but it seems foreign, I invite you to take a chance on doing something bigger in your life than just, “surviving:”
“It seems wrong to call it ‘business’. It seems wrong to throw all those hectic days and sleepless nights, all those magnificent triumphs and desperate struggles, under that bland, generic banner: business. What we were doing felt like so much more. Each new day brought fifty new problems, fifty tough decisions that needed to be made, right now, and we were always acutely aware that one rash move, one wrong decision could be the end. The margin for error was forever getting narrower, while the stakes were forever creeping higher – and none of us wavered in the belief that ‘stakes’ didn’t mean ‘money’. For some, I realize, business is the all-out-pursuit of profits, period, full stop, but for us business was no more about making money than being human is about making blood. Yes, the human body needs blood. It needs to manufacture red and white cells and platelets and redistribute them evenly, smoothly, to all the right places, on time, or else. But that day-to-day business of the human body isn’t our mission as human beings. It’s a basic process that enables our higher aims, and life always strives to transcend the basic processes of living – and at some point in the late 1970’s, I did, too. I redefined winning, expanded it beyond my original definition of not losing, of merely staying alive. That was no longer enough to sustain me, or my company. We wanted, as all great businesses do, 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. More than simply alive, you’re helping others to live more fully, and if that’s business, all right, call me a businessman.”
After reading that, are you passionately pursuing something for the sake of the process and not just the profit. The most successful people I know receive significant profit but its the byproduct of the attitude you just read about.
I’m loving the path and the hunt I am on. I hope you are too!