December 6, 2018

5 Ways to Just Do It and...Not Just Talk About Doing It

When Nike originally launched its extraordinarily simple “Just Do It” campaign in 1988, it was intended to state an intention of purpose. It challenged everyone to not make excuses, not just talk about what we desired to do. “Just Do It” was, for me, a visceral reminder of a quote I learned in college by psychologist Carl Gustav Jung. “You are what you do, not what you say you'll do.”  

Raised on the importance of humility, I’m not a huge fan of bravado. While I completely respect people’s individuality and support living your life on your own terms, I’ve never gravitated to those who operate with a “Look at me!” attitude. I do tend to respect that persona a little more if they have a proven track record to back up the big talk. Perhaps it’s judgmental on my part, but it can be simply explained by recalling tennis great Andre Agassi. At the height of his popularity, Agassi was better-known for his colorful tennis outfits, David Lee Roth hair and brash attitude on the court well before he won any majors. In an infamous ad for the Canon Rebel camera in the early ‘90s, he uttered, “Image is everything.” Agassi ultimately was a fantastic tennis player, but for years he was celebrated more for his image than his actual talent. Like Jung, I place value on what you actually accomplish; not the bravado that surrounds what you tell me you are going to do.

Talkers: Uses words, not actions.

Perhaps they appear to have a compelling message, but ultimately, they are talking a big game with little substance. They may share a lot, but they accomplish very little. Perhaps they live in the past or the future, but not in the reality of the present. The action is missing from the equation.

Now consider the behaviors of those who actually “do” rather than talk about “doing.”  

Doers: Focus on actions, not words.

Doers carve out the time to focus on accomplishing their goals. They commit to a plan, they course correct when they hit stumbles, and any fear they might have just served to their efforts. They don’t make excuses for why things can’t get done; rather, they just find a way to make it happen.

Doers: Have a vision for their goals.

Their vision is not just a checklist of items; it is the driving force that keeps them focused on achieving. They commit to this vision, and they center their time and energy ensuring it becomes a reality. They subscribe to the notion that if are following your dreams, you probably aren’t running fast enough.

Doers: Are self-motivated.

They are committed to their mission, and they don’t want to let themselves down.  They are largely self-motivated and don’t rely on external motivations to power them forward.

Doers: Bring others on their journey.

Doers can certainly dream and “talk” as much as the talkers do, but they involve others in those ideas.  They realize that by sharing their goals and intentions, they engage another form of accountability to help them achieve.

Doers: Seek progress, not perfection.

They realize that forward momentum is critical to achieving goals, not perfection.  This includes constantly evaluating next steps, actionable activities to be in constant pursuit of goal achievement.

Talkers can talk a good game, but with little substance to back it up.  Doers make it happen, plain and simple. Which are you?

Christina Luconi is Chief People Officer for Rapid7. Follow her on Twitter: @peopleinnovator