“Sometimes You Have to Burn the Ships” – Brian Underwood’s Journey
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You can find all types of people calling themselves “influencers” these days. Some may have a large following. Some may hold up stacks of cash to get your attention. But few have experienced the climb from the starting line to a billion-dollar company. To say that Brian Underwood is not the typical influencer is an understatement. He’s the co-founder and CEO of Prüvit, a category leader creating exogenous ketone technology for people seeking a healthier lifestyle. He’s also no stranger to setting a massive goal for himself and then achieving it. After his meteoric rise and 5 years into running his company,, Brian shared some details about his journey with us, and it’s a must-read for any would-be entrepreneur aspiring for similar success. And that’s not because of the end result – it’s because of the insights of what was necessary to reach such tremendous heights.
What fuels a dream and gives you the means to manifest it into reality? The answer to that varies from person to person. For Brian, it came down to self-reliance. He began like most of us – a kid with a dream of succeeding at the highest levels. But as he would come to learn, experiencing adversity and challenges, and seeing yourself overcome them, is paramount. “Everyone has obstacles that they experience in their life” Brian says. “Some of the most successful people I’ve met have come from nothing and they needed to find a way to survive. Most of us are twice as strong as we know, but sometimes we’re not put in environments that test us in a way that challenges us to find out what we’re capable of.” As a child growing up in Kentucky, Brian was surrounded by love and support from his parents. And while that’s certainly a positive, when he reflected on that childhood, he realized that he wasn’t always pushed to carry his own weight.
“My parents were always there as a backup plan and a crutch, even though that wasn’t their intent.” Brian says. “They taught me the foundations of success, but sometimes you need to go out there and get a bloody nose and a black eye. You have to stumble and fall, because that’s where you gain all your strength.” Brian’s proverbial bloody nose and black eyes would certainly come, and they would come multiple times. His first two companies didn’t reach the heights that he wanted. But he remained unfettered and singularly focused on creating massive success for himself.
It wasn’t until Brian realized that his parental safety net was more of a hindrance than an asset that he was able to take himself to the next level. “For much of my life, my dad was my fallback plan. He would always bail me out.” Brian reflects. “I always had this safety net behind me, and I didn’t become who I wanted to be until that was gone.” He and his father were always close, talking multiple times per week throughout college and his early adulthood. But as Brian began to understand the direction that his life needed to take, his father didn’t agree. This ultimately led to an argument that would end in the pair not speaking to each other for nearly two years.
During that time, Brian’s commitment to his dreams were put to the test. Without his “safety net,” he initially struggled. He lost his car, nearly all of his money and had to piece together short-term living arrangements. And while this was certainly the struggle of his life, in retrospect, that experience is what gave him the strength he needed to manifest his goals. When Brian thinks about this time in his life, he does so with a valued reverence. “That time is when I truly went from a boy to a man.” he says. “I learned how to figure it out and carry my own weight and that strength gave me momentum to carry on.”
The coming years would not only see Brian go from an untested dreamer to a seasoned CEO – he would also reestablish his relationship with his father, now stronger than before with the benefit of his journey of discovery. While he is immensely proud of the business that he has built and the $1 billion+ it has generated, he seems to gleen ever more satisfaction in his daily pursuit of educating and inspiring other entrepreneurs, whether they are within his company or part of his social following.
For all our readers, especially those who are deep in the midst of their struggle to achieve their goals, we’d urge you to remember Brian’s story, and especially this sentiment: “Once you’ve won, once you’ve survived, no matter what happens, nobody can take that from you. No one can take away what you’ve overcome to become. Sometimes you have to burn the ships for your own mental fortitude and to see how strong you are. When your back is against the wall, sometimes that’s when the best of you will come out.”
To connect with Brian Underwood on Instagram, follow @brianundy and tune into his podcast “Be You With BU.”