January 22, 2020

“Just Do It.” Thanks, Nike. Easy to Say. Harder To Do.

Dr. Jackie Ogden wrote this article after reflecting upon a video clip of recommended advice that she provided to emerging women leaders five years ago. How had she “put her money where her mouth was” since then? Had she followed her own advice and put it into action to further her career and impact?

Click here to view the “Advice to Emerging Women Leaders” video.

A number of years ago, my boss – a wonderful female leader – told me that she didn’t think I was “all in” – that I was holding myself back. I swallowed my defensive response, and instead said I would ponder her comment. 

Turned out she was right. I *was* holding myself back. I certainly wasn’t ineffective, but I also wasn’t taking big risks. I was afraid…of…who knows? Failure, I suppose. Well, I’ve failed in the past. I’ve made mistakes. Some doozies. But I’ve lived. 

I told myself to get over it. (Admission: I’m not fully over it. This will probably always be a work in progress for me!) 

But I started working on it. I read books like Lean In. I plastered my office with quotes like: “If you are always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be” by Maya Angelou. 

I created playlists including everything from Shakira singing “Try Everything” from Zootopia to Julie Andrews singing “I Have Confidence” from The Sound of Music. No, I’m not kidding – my husband strongly suggested I wear earbuds.    

I got newsfeeds like The Broadsheet and Business Chicks

I also hired an executive coach who taught me not to talk badly to myself or about myself – with either my outside or inside voice. 

I learned to keep reading, to keep thinking, and to keep connecting with amazing people who encourage me to “be me.”   

I just finished reading Brené Brown’s book, Braving the Wilderness, the Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone. If you haven’t read it, I encourage you to, regardless of your gender. It’s a wonderful book on leadership, growing up, living fully, and leading with your heart. One quote in particular resonated with me, particularly as it relates to confidence: “Stop walking through the world looking for confirmation that you don’t belong.…Stop scouring people’s faces for evidence that you’re not enough. You will always find it because you’ve made that your goal.…Our call to courage is to protect our wild heart against constant evaluation, especially our own.”

As Nike said…

Flash forward to today. What advice would I now give emerging women leaders? The Nike mantra still holds true, but I would like to add these amazing quotes from amazing people who continue to inspire me and challenge me to be my best:

  • I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.” Dr. Maya Angelou

  • “Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” William James

  • “I care and I dare.”  Dr. Maya Angelou

I challenge you to adopt them too.

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