In my opinion, one of the best, most brilliant advertising slogans of all time is Nike’s iconic “Just Do It™”.
Yes, it has generated billions of dollars in revenue since its launch more than two decades ago. But while I admire and appreciate that, it’s not the reason why I love it.
Of course we all associate Nike with sports and athletics. So it’s easy, at first glance, to think that the “Just Do It” message is about not being lazy. About summoning willpower, digging deep and finding resources you didn’t know you had, pushing yourself all the way to the end of something, no matter how challenging the journey is.
All of that is absolutely in there.
But before you can get to any of that, whether you’re running a race or starting a business, you have to have something else.
What “Just Do It” is really a call to — and, I suspect, why it has such universal resonance with people, and such staying power as a slogan — is courage.
What holds back someone whose doctor has just told them they need to get more exercise or else, but hasn’t strapped on a pair of running shoes in 20 years? It’s not laziness or lack of willpower. It’s fear. Will I look like a fool? Will I do it wrong? Will I be sucking wind after a minute? Will people laugh at me?
What’s true in that situation is true in virtually every endeavor in life. It’s our fears — first and foremost — that stop us from taking that first step or making that first move.
And the answer to that is so very, very simple.
“But I’m not good enough yet!” Just do it.
“But I don’t have the money right now!” Just do it.
“But I’m not ready!” Just do it.
“But I don’t know how!” Just do it.
“But what if I fail?” Just do it.
In other words, never mind the past. Never mind what you have or haven’t done up until now. Never mind all the reasons why you can’t, and all the people who tell you why you can’t. Never mind how scared you are. Don’t bother trying to solve all of that. Ignore it and simply begin. To take action on that thing you’ve imagined. To move decisively in the direction of your dreams. To get to where you want to be.
All that, in a little three-word phrase that is emblazoned on t-shirts, billboards, hats, bags, and boxes everywhere you look, and has been burned onto the brains of a huge number of people on this planet.
Extraordinary and wonderful, don’t you think?
Nike set out to transform their business with that slogan. There’s no question they did that. But I think they may have done something much, much more valuable. They’ve supplied the “little voice” inside countless heads with a simple and incredibly powerful response to any fear-driven doubt, hesitation, or resistance.
Who knows how many businesses, how many minds, how many lives have been transformed by that?
What about you? Do you have a go-to phrase that pops up in your consciousness when fear starts to rear its ugly head? Share it below in the comments! Let’s start some fear-blasting right here!