Just Do It

Just Do It, the catch-phrase coined by Nike in 1988 is pure genius. Because of its originality and simplicity, many people adopted the catchphrase to mean a variety of things. For many “Just Do It” is the perfect mantra for making your dreams a reality. Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today. My interpretation of “Just Do It” is tackling challenges in a unique way, which always seems like the untraditional way or unorthodox way.

I think in some aspects, I embraced the ”Just Doing It” philosophy before it was famous. It was a way of life that I learned from my mother.  She raised eight children, almost entirely as a single mom, with very little resources. But, she always thought of creative ways to make our lives exciting.  She made us memorize a particular bible verse as soon as we were able. Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me.

That scripture essentially became the bedrock of how she raised us. I remember as a little girl in the early eighties mom would pile all of us up into her light green Oldsmobile Chevrolet and take us on long drives in the country making random stops for us to run around in meadows and climb trees – it didn’t seem like much, but to us it was a journey, enjoying nature at its best, creating memories of a lifetime.

I remember a time when she wanted to re-decorate her  bedroom, but she couldn’t afford to buy a new bedroom assemble. Instead, she received some beautiful rose-colored material that she used to make new bedding covers and window dressings – she “Just Did It.” So many people would visit our home and admire her bedroom makeover, not knowing that the lovely décor was a product of my mom’s Just Doing It attitude.  She never waited for a handout, but instead used what she had to make the best of what she wanted.

This feminist mentality influenced my sisters and I as we became adults. When I decide to do things, be it big or small, “I Just Do It” with the knowledge that it may or may not turn out the way intended.  Over the course of my career, this sort of “Just Do It” attitude has worked well in my favor. I was the first of my eight siblings to earn a Bachelor’s degree and then I obtained an MBA, with my “Just Do It” attitude and no guidance. I was the first African American to hold an executive role at a successful real-estate firm at the age of 32.  Because of my “Just Do It” spirit, I approached the CEO and gave him all the reasons I thought I deserved the position. I was the first African American to hold an executive role at one of the largest private labs in the country because I pushed my way up to the top – literally – I pushed my chair and belongings to the C-Suite. I never focus on failure or my shortcomings. I focused on the things I can control and I listen to that inner voice my mom instilled in me. That voice reminds me that I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me, in other words  “Just Do It”. I encourage my Career Sisters – stop thinking about it, pondering the what ifs, focusing on your shortcomings or failure and JUST DO IT!


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