The phrase Just Do It is associated with the sport brand Nike and was coined in 1988 at an advertising agency meeting. One of the founders, Dan Weiden, credits the slogan to Gary Gilmore’s last words, Let’s do it. Those words weren’t associated with inspiration or athletics. They were Gary’s last words before being executed for murder in 1977. But as people often forget details, the words were revived in a totally different way that was a brilliant marketing move.
The popularity of the phrase along with the Nike swoosh appears all over the world and the look of the symbol is as powerful as the look of the athletes in the ads. Apparently, the creatives questioned if Just Do It was even needed for the brand. But they tried it and the response was overwhelmingly positive. If you’re looking for a little inspiration, watch one of the first commercials with eighty year-old Walt Stack on YouTube.
But how does Just Do It relate to ordinary you and I, most who are not professional athletes? We may not even wear Nike products. I feel the meaning of the slogan is so very powerful and relevant in moving us forward in our lives and businesses. We can obtain facts and figures, a wealth of knowledge and even have outlined goals in place. But unless we apply Just Do It, nothing will move forward in our lives. For inspiration in applying the slogan, I have some tips here for you.
One: Face the Facts
Before you can assertively move toward a defined goal, determine exactly where you are. Face the facts. Face the Nation was a show created in 1954 and is one of the longest running news shows in America. But unfortunately, it’s not really news any more. It’s opinion, as many of the so-called news shows have become. Where are the facts?
Many have now turned toward alternative avenues to garner facts, but that is still a challenge as the true source of some information is difficult to locate. In my opinion, the same principle applies to our lives. We think we know where we are, but have we taken a hard look in the mirror lately? The mirror of reality doesn’t usually lie with where your business stands, where you are financially or with your health or relationships. Be honest. A good tool that will help you with this is the Position Workbook using the HALFERS Model. It’s a free download so make sure you get it and do the work.
Two: Create a Good Plan
Most of us don’t think about the actual flight plan when taking our seats on a plane. If you’re like most passengers, you’re just counting the hours until you land, then sit back to read or take a nap. However, I’m very happy our pilot and crew have a plan. Pilots not only have our course plotted but can’t take off until everything is correctly checked off a list. On one of our trips overseas, we had to de-board, then couldn’t re-board the plane until it was verified that the air conditioner was working properly.
This took a full re-start of all the plane’s computers to make this happen. At the very last minute, we were given the O.K. to board. This was when I realized I didn’t have a good backup plan. Most of us most probably would have had to find a corner to sleep in an airport with a hard floor and no food or comforts to be found. It’s a good illustration of how there are times in our lives even best-laid plans go awry. Unfortunately, many entertainers and those traveling for business face this dilemma all too often.
But a good plan and even backup plan will give you confidence to move forward. It doesn’t need to be fancy but should be logical and measurable. I speak a lot about goals and the implementation of good habits. Tiny steps toward your end goal (see: Tiny Habits) will get you there with consistency and less disruption. Establishing those habits may even get you there faster!
Three: Solicit Solid Accountability
Do you have an accountability partner or group? Finding and maintaining a group that will check in on each other is so very valuable and can have life-changing results! Gathering a group or an individual that will serve as a trusted source of feedback and accountability could be one of your best investments.
You may have multiple people or groups for different areas of your life. I often speak about my lifetime small group of ladies. We have been together for close to twenty years and share with each other our spiritual, family and professional goals. Tony van Veen shares how he meets with eight CEOS one morning a month and has for the past fifteen years. This keeps him grounded with trusted colleagues talking over ideas and business principles.
Think through your relationship circles. I talk about this in chapter seven in my book Women at Halftime. It is well-worth your time to determine who you can trust to bring into your accountability circle. (download FREE introduction: Women at Halftime book)
Four: Just Do It
If ever you’ve started a new exercise routine, you realize how hard it is to create momentum. It’s not just always hard to start, but even harder to continue. This is why most gyms know around 12 per cent of gym members sign up in January, and according to the Fitness Industry Association, most people have quit or stop going after 24 weeks. I actually think even that is a generous estimate. I’d be surprised if most make it past three months, which is 12 weeks.
I suggest you find some way that will help you stay the course. This is your responsibility. Your self-accountability. Find what works. It can be a timer, a good list or a reward system you set up for yourself. It may take some willpower and resolve, but for many situations you will be establishing a new healthy habit. Success is often the result of a new habit, especially when applied to a new goal. But success will elude you if you never start!
Five: Evaluate and Repeat
The process of evaluation is important to not only see what didn’t work, but to expand on what did. Don’t be afraid to discard what didn’t work. Though if you feel it’s worth giving it another shot, that’s a risk you can decide for yourself. However, cut your losses if you feel yourself spinning endlessly going nowhere, similar to getting caught on an endless roundabout!
I like to think of this process as positive layering. We keep building on the best foundations and layers to create a solid structure that is sustainable and functional. It is gradual and not overwhelming. I hope this process helps you look forward to your next chapter in life and business with hope, anticipation and a positive outlook. You know what to do. Just do it!
Unless we apply Just Do It, nothing will move forward in our lives.
Thought Leader, Keynote Speaker, Author
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