Recently I completed Phil Knight’s Shoe Dog, the autobiography of the founder of Nike. It was completely different to most CEO biographies you’ll read, and most of it because of his raw honesty.
Most books on CEOs hide the true pain of starting – and being – in business. Not too many people will tell the whole story of just how rough it had been, the price they have paid, and the sacrifices they have had to make. But not Phil Knight.
He is open on how he had to plead with bankers to keep getting credit to bring in more stock. How his business was effectively on life support for many years. And how he had to learn to live with high levels of debt to see his dream through.
For me, it was refreshing to not read another book showing the 5 simple ways to be an overnight success, or how a CEO so easily pulled an incredible team together to make it all work. Phil Knight bolted together a bunch of misfits who had one key ingredient: passion.
The truth is that doing something really worthwhile is seriously hard work. But how satisfying it is to dream a big dream, and then pull it off. And at the end of the book, with all of the pain he had been through, he said he’d love to be able to do it all over again. Seriously, he’d go through all that again? Yes, simply because he dared to dream a big dream, and he was able to achieve it.
As I wrote in a recent blog post, will your life be one of ‘I wish I had, or I’m glad I did?’ we all get that chance to be ultra-safe and have nothing go wrong. Or we can roll the dice and give it a shot.
Your dream doesn’t have to be a sink or swim one like Phil Knight’s. Simply doing something different this year might just unlock something new in your world.
Matt Danswan is the CEO of Initiate Media. He also blogs at www.mattdanswan.com.