I am currently two-thirds of the way through reading Shoe Dog, the autobiography of Phil Knight, founder of Nike. As you can imagine he is an intriguing man, and as a businessman myself, his book is thoroughly enjoyable.
Reading about founders of organizations is fascinating, as there is a blank canvas, and often no blueprint. You sort of make it up as you go. That’s how it was for me, anyway.
For those of you who don’t know, this amazing man never set out to start Nike. He in fact had the US rights to Onitsuka, which today in the western world we know as Asics, or Tiger. However the head guys in Japan wanted to rid him of his distributorship, and so with a staff of 40 and a young family to feed, Phil Knight had to innovate – and innovate fast. The alternative was not pretty.
It’s exhilarating reading seeing how quickly they had to launch their own shoe business to keep the doors open. The original name the founder came up with for his new shoe business was ‘Dimension Six’. Sounds more like a software or consulting company to me, as opposed to a name that could be one of the world’s coolest brands. Luckily a staff member came up with a more marketable alternative.
We all know the happy ending of this story, as, like it is with Apple devices in our homes, we’ve all probably got several pairs of Nikes in the shoe cupboard. I know my kids won’t let us buy anything but Nike for their sports shoes, and my wife’s new workout shoes had to be Nike. There was simply no other option.
Innovation generally comes in a time of crisis and chaos, and not from a place of comfort. In my life, I know we have come up with our best business ideas and angles when we have been in crisis. When our market is changing and our backs are up against the wall, while it is highly stressful, we are simply forced to innovate.
So if you’re facing a major challenge in your life, this might just be your time to innovate your way out of it.
The bible says that all things work together for good for those that love God (Romans 8:28) and so, while you might be under excruciating pressure, a major change in your life – for the better – might be just around the corner.
Go spend some time with God and ask for direction. If there is a direction He wants you to take, then He’ll just be waiting for you to find some time with Him so he can then talk to you about the next steps.
And finally, press in with Him and stay close so you’re able to hear from Him the steps you are to take. Proverbs 20:24 says “a man’s steps are ordained by the Lord…” God is ready, willing and wanting to use any difficult situation you find yourself in to not only work it together for good, but also to get your life on the track that He has ordained for you.
Who knows? You might be the next Phil Knight, about to start your own Nike.
Matt Danswan is the CEO of Initiate Media, publishers of Christian Woman.