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Just Do It!

Dan Wieden, co-founder of Wieden+Kennedy, passed away last week at age 77. Dan met David Kennedy at Cain Advertising agency in 1980 while working on a campaign for a fledgling shoe company named Nike. In April 1982, they started their own agency, Wieden & Kennedy (now Wieden+Kennedy), in Portland, OR. Their first client was Nike and they began Nike's marketing success with three commercials. Today, Wieden+Kennedy is one of the largest independent advertising agencies in the world with offices in New York, London, Amsterdam, Shanghai, Tokyo, Delhi, and Sao Paulo.


The famous slogan was taken from the last words of Gary Gilmore, a criminal sentenced to the death penalty for a series of murders he committed in Utah. Before his execution Gary said, "Let's Do It." Dan Wieden modified those last words and the "Just Do It" campaign was launched in 1988. The campaign was targeted not just at professional athletes, but every day consumers regardless of age, race, or gender. The primary emphasis was to change the Nike brand from fitness gear to every day apparel. That campaign took the sales of Nike from $877million to over $9.2billion.


Of of my greatest regrets is waiting on people to validate my vision. In my youth, I would confer with people I trusted for wisdom only to have them stall my dreams when they could not see or hear my passion. I believed such counsel was necessary to prevent me from making mistakes. I did not realize people can be envious or jealous of people with vision and manipulate ideas to keep you from success. I now understand that you may love everyone, but you cannot listen to everyone. Another regret is the time I wasted waiting when I should have trusted my instincts and moved with the passion and power within me.


I am sure that if Wieden and Kennedy had listened to the critiques of people they would never build a successful company. The crabs in a bucket mentality would shut them down and prevent their vision from coming to pass. How many people have missed golden opportunities to flourish by waiting for approval from insecure people? How much time has been wasted? How much money was left on the table? How many times have you seen your dream manifested through other people because they took your inspiration and ran with it?


It does not matter how old you are or where you are at this stage of life. What matters is your willingness to move your dreams to reality. Stop sleeping away your future and start moving toward the implementation of your purpose. Don't be afraid to start small. It time you will grow. Keep moving, pushing, praying, and believing in yourself. Stop waiting for people to give you the thumbs up or a green light to go. No matter how long it takes, or how much you must invest in yourself, just do it.




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