Lately, the Nike “Just Do It” trademark is everywhere I look. Yes, their trademark has been around for a long time, but it’s become more prominent to my curious eye. Maybe because every time I squat down at the gym to grab a Kettlebell the Nike Swoosh on my shoe stares right back at me, screaming, “Just Do It!”
Nike is known for that singular theme. It’s so simple, so robust and frankly, misleading? Shit, nothing is as singular as “Just Do It.” Unless you’re talking about taking out the trash or feeding a crying baby. But, to “just do” the bigger things in life, like maintaining a relationship, raising kids, getting healthy and fit, navigating a career, or changing your life path, “Just Do It” isn’t enough. The big things require more than one action. They need a constant effort, a focused plan. And, I’m noticing it more and more in the last seven months after I left my corporate job of ten years, to “Just Do It.”
It was a good job, but it wasn’t the best for me, and most definitely not my calling. And, it took me a long time to get ready, to silence the qualm, and “Just Do It,” to quit and pursue my passion and purpose as a writer and musician. But, what I’m learning along the way is “Just Do It” is not about a result or a destination. In life, there is no guarantee your efforts will garner a reward, a payoff, a finish line or a destination besides death (oops..spoiler alert!). But, being ready and showing up is where it’s at. So my new mantra is: “Just KEEP Doing It.”
In my effort to “Just KEEP Doing It,” I will keep writing daily because I purely enjoy it. I’m showing up! Do I want my work published? HELL to the YES. A gal has to make some money. A guarantee when this will happen? I’m not sure but I’ll KEEP working on it and enjoy every day of it. Do I write songs for guaranteed radio play? No, I write because I f’n love it. When I’m at the gym or Yoga, do I enjoy the muscle burn of a squat or sweat dripping down my back, NO, but I desire the immediate fulfillment each rep or Yoga pose gives me. Will I ever hit my ideal BMI? Maybe? But, not a guarantee. But I’ll continue the process and “Just KEEP Doing It” because TODAY is the reward.
We all have goals, aspirations, hopes, and dreams but we can’t hang our hat on fulfilling them. There is no guarantee that if we “Just Do It” we will “Just Get It.” So, we MUST enjoy each moment while we’re in the process.
Unfortunately, I see too many people working with the old mantra “Just Do It.” They’re slugging away, despairingly at their job or their family duties, or the gym, apparently holding off their joy until they reach their destination or their milestone. You know the ones I’m talking about. The ones you’d like to say, “Hey, Darth Vadar when’s the last time you took some time off? You’re a little angry?” They might be pursuing authentic goals for retirement, a distant vacation, weight loss, financial security, getting the kids off to college, etc. And all those are legitimate BUT do their long term goals bring DAILY satisfaction and happiness? Because, what if they don’t reach their goals?
I just watched a great Goalcast motivational video by actor Peter Dinklage called “Light Up the Night.” He talked about walking away from the security of a job that he hated but clung to for six years out of fear before deciding to make the leap into acting. His question to the audience, “Maybe I was afraid of change, are you?” I love his approach, his thoughts, his attitude. He “Just Did It” but he lived EVERY day as who he should be, with no guarantee of the outcome of who he would be. As he said, “When I was 29, I told myself, the next acting job I get, no matter what it pays, I will from now on, for better or worse, be a working actor.” If you watch, you’ll see he sure didn’t do it over night. He had to “Just KEEP Doing It.”
Our future feels limitless. But, TODAY is limited. I’m not encouraging anyone to make a significant change, quit a job or do lots of squats at the gym. Unless you want to! But, I’m encouraging everyone to be authentic to “today.” If you love your job, enjoy it daily, and DON’T do it for a future promotion or a big retirement package. If you like saving money, do it but remember that a planned vacation or retirement is only as good as your health is to enjoy it. If you love your kids, spend time with them. Or stalk them with a phone tracker like I do my teenager. And if you hate to exercise, acknowledge yourself after your workout with a pat on the back for at least showing up.
Overall, take inventory, and make sure each day brings joy and fulfillment. Make sure you’re happy TODAY because “Just Do It” is so much more than the finish line. Who knows what tomorrow brings? We never know the outcome of anything until it’s over. So, “Just KEEP Doing It.”