Phil Knight & Nike’s 10 Rules For Success
Phil Knight is the founder and owner of the most successful sportswear brand on Earth; Nike. His book, Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE, details his extraordinary life and rise to monumental business success.
The book in packed with interesting anecdotes and invaluable success principles.
Here are 10 business rules to ensure success gleaned from Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE by Phil Knight.
There Are Many Paths To Success
The voices in your head saying you must have this or that trait to achieve success are merely resistance!
Phil Knight was a shy, nervous guy with some strange physical ticks. He was bad at sales and an introvert. Many people would assume that with these traits business success would prove elusive.
But Phil Knight proved that even as an introvert with weird ticks it is still possible to achieve success. His passion got him over the line. He managed to get things done his way.
Even with your flaws and imperfections, success is achievable. There are many ways to skin a cat.
Business Success Is Ugly and Painful!
Most people are not willing to make the sacrifices necessary to achieve massive business success.
Phil Knight worked constantly. As an accountant during the day and slaving away making Nike a success in the early mornings and late at night.
He sacrificed time with his wife and children. He experienced huge stress and anxiety. And he barely slept.
The price of massive business success is extremely steep. Most people are not truly willing to pay it. Are you?
Maintain Your Health and Fitness
Physical fitness is sacrosanct. Phil Knight went for a long run every day, no matter how full his schedule. On his run, he would often come up with solutions to business problems. He would always feel more mentally clear and relaxed after running.
Exercise is a massive destressor and it promotes mental clarity. Never sacrifice your health and fitness. Business success is much more likely to come if you prioritize keeping your body and mind in top condition.
Honesty Will Win the War, But Sometimes To Win The Battle You Must Lie
Honesty as an overarching principal makes life easier and relationships better. Phil Knight defused many potentially incendiary business disputes by being fully honest and accepting culpability when appropriate.
But every now and then Phil Knight told a small white lie. Sometimes it was necessary for him to exaggerate his company’s readiness to take on a big contract. But he only did this safe in the knowledge that his exaggeration would very soon become reality. He knew he could make it happen.
Sometimes, small white lies and exaggerations are necessary when you are on the road to achieving business success.
Luck is an Essential Ingredient in the Pursuit of Success
If the story of Phil Knight and Nike was played out a thousand times, in 9,999 times out of 1,000, success would have proved elusive. Luck played a huge part in the success of Nike.
Never underestimate the role that luck plays in life and business success. Phil Knight had lucky breaks that kept his dream alive. Without those lucky breaks, Nike would never have become a success.
Good luck and bad luck are real. They can’t be controlled. But you can be ready to capitalise on lucky breaks when they come. And you can be ready to mitigate the effects of bad luck when it inevitably arrives.
It Ain’t Over Til It’s Over
Where there’s a will there’s a way. Even when things seem hopeless there is always something that can be done to push things back in the right direction, even a little bit. So, never give up.
If something means enough to you, you can always find a way to move towards it. In the words of Jordan Peterson “what’s better than this?”
There is always a way to improve your situation a small bit, to push in the direction of success even a few inches. Find a way!
Before Success Hits It Often Looks Like Total Failure
You must mess-up your room before you can truly tidy it.
The person who tries and fails is much closer to success than the person who doesn’t try at all.
Public failure is a necessary precursor to success. Your efforts will often look like crap for a long time before they bare fruit. You must stop needing to look cool or competent to others. And you must accept failing publicly, you must embrace being vulnerable.
You will fail for a long time before you succeed. To keep the faith while you fail and fail again, look for small incremental improvements and celebrate tiny wins. Finding the little gems of progress amongst the mess will keep you on track, moving messily towards success.
You Are Nothing Without a Strong Network
You are only as strong as your network of family, friends, and colleagues. Loyal, hardworking, supportive friends will keep you motivated and on-track.
Phil Knight had a big network, and he also built a very loyal team at Nike. He employed a lot of friends and family. The people in his network had skills that he lacked. This meant he could concentrate on what he was great at while allowing his close network to provide the value and expertise that he lacked.
Build and maintain a strong, loyal network to help you achieve business success.
Have a Burning Purpose That Unites You and Your Team
To be a great leader and achieve business success, you must be able to instill passion in others. By igniting a burning passion and excitement in the hearts of your team you will bond them into a tight unit, all driving forward in the same direction.
The unity that is cemented by a strong, shared purpose creates massive momentum and power.
Doubt is Natural
Phil Knight doubted whether success would come all the time. He always questioned whether he was making a mistake or not.
Doubt is natural. Questioning ourselves is inevitable. Embrace doubt and don’t read too much into it.
Be rational and get to your truth. Experience your emotions, but don’t be ruled by them! If you really want something but you doubt your ability to achieve it… persevere!
Doubt is natural, don’t let it through you off course!