The following is a guest post from online and offline friend Cheryl DeWolfe. Cheryl is a part-time freelancer, author, procrastinator, and wearer of many other hats in Victoria BC. Cheryl can be found blogging at Flotsam & Jetsam and tweeting as @victriviaqueen.
If reading the title of this post brings to mind a shoe company, you’re right on target. I’ve come to realize that when it comes to motivation, Nike (along with ad agency Wieden and Kennedy) got it right over twenty years ago.
I’ll be the first to admit I’m a motivation junkie. Maybe you are, too; do you read books, blog posts, manifestos and infographics overflowing with pearls of wisdom? Unfortunately, being a motivation junkie doesn’t always lead to a productive life; it’s useless if we don’t act on it. There are hundreds of people that will tell you that, too, but until you accept it, Just Do It is nothing more than an empty slogan. Thing is, for millions of people, Just Do It struck a nerve. When I was in university, almost everyone I knew had at least one Nike ad torn from a magazine and taped to their mirror.
Nike used the campaign to inspire athletes and non-athletes alike to be active but the phrase is just as applicable to writing that book you’ve been daydreaming about, submitting a resume for your dream job, asking that special someone to marry you, or anything else you’ve been putting off. You’ve heard the old nugget “Every journey starts with a single step,” right? With the Just Do It campaign, Nike encouraged a generation to take that step.
I know, sometimes it seems like you might as well leap off a bridge as take that first step but there are ways around that too:
1. Plot a path.
Think back to high school math and you might remember that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Life rarely offers straight lines, though, so plot your path along shorter points between point A and point B. Zig-zags are fine as long as you are moving toward your goal.
2. Assess your obstacles.
While you are plotting your path, make note of any obstacles whether they are legal (e.g. you need a building permit), physical (e.g. you need a medical checkup), or psychological (e.g. you fear change). Sometimes the obstacles are presented by others, sometimes we put obstacles in our own paths. If it’s important, you’ll find ways to remove those obstacles or re-plot the path. Each of these obstacles will require a different kind of action but action is key.
3. Just Do It.
Seriously, that third step is critical. Mapping out a task will only get you so far, but actually jumping in and starting is the only way you can get to that distant point on the map. If you fail, congratulations! You can either start again (gee, that path didn’t work at all, better avoid that alligator pit) or you can move on to the next thing on your list. Moving is part of living and we should all be doing more of that.
Photo credit: David Rogers (CC BY-NC 2.0)