Kevin Plank, creator and CEO of Under Armour, Inc., said one of the most inspiring quotes I have heard in a long time. When asked about the experience of building his brand, he remarked, “[I was] smart enough to be naïve enough to not know what I couldn’t accomplish.”
Here is a little bit about Kevin’s story. Frustrated about being weighed down by heavy sweat-drenched cotton shirts that he wore under his football jerseys, Kevin used $17,000 of savings from his rose business as the seed money to create a t-shirt that he, himself, needed on the football field. He personally went to fabric stores in search of synthetic fabric that would make a difference and then went through several prototypes. He handed some shirts out to his friends, telling them that if they liked them, wear them. If they loved them, give one to the guy at the locker next to them. And so they did.
I realize that we’re not all out to be the likes of Kevin Plank and that my blog is not a “business” website. But when I recently had the opportunity to hear Kevin tell his story, I was personally inspired. Not by how lucrative his business has become (tho, truth be told I do think it’s incredible that he turned his $17,000 into a billion dollar business), but by how he came to be where he is today. He had a need and out of that need, he created something. He believed in his product. He became passionate about how his shirts could positively impact sports by keep players light on the field (rather than being weighed down by heavy cotton shirts). The rest is history. He was, indeed, smart enough to be naïve enough to not know what he couldn’t accomplish.
Everything starts with an idea. Ideas grow if they are fueled by passion. Hopefully that passion is fueled by the desire and belief that you can do “anything,” or at least what you are setting out to do. So the next time you set out to do something, with wisdom and a little naïveté, go for it!