Many of us are often told we are too idealistic. We are told our plans are great fantasies. Many times we listen to those folks and continue plowing through our expected lives.
Then there are those among us who don’t listen and defy those perceptions; they are the dreamers. I am blessed to have met so many of you over the past few years.
Five years ago today, I moved to Portland, Oregon – the poster child of cities where dreamers defy the odds and make things happen. The city’s slogan is “Keep Portland weird.”
It is a city where great ideas are brought to life every day. Wieden+Kennedy, the iconic ad agency for Nike and dozens of other brands, invented the slogan “Just Do It” here. Nike continues to live out its corporate mantra here.
While the phrase coined by Dan Wieden has sold millions of shoes and launched billions in dollars of apparel sales, those three words are a philosophy of life. It’s simple: Just. Do. It. Whatever your calling is in life.
Over the past five years, I have met dozens of people who are living their dreams and empowering others to believe in theirs. They are generous mentors who remind us that anything is possible; that greatness is in all of us.
I am thankful for all of the friends I have made along the way over the past five years. You have helped me on my journey, allowing me and others to see the potential that lies within us. Just a few of you are:
- Jeff Pulver, founder of the 140 Conference, who brought his roadshow to Vancouver, Washington and allowed me to lead a panel. He continues to take the event all over the world.
- Ben Smith, founder of Social:IRL, who gave me the opportunity to live blog a workshop with Jeremiah Owyang. He gives back so much to his field every day.
- Bryan Rhoads, of Intel’s Social Media team, and his colleagues who have shared so much with me and our digital community. They show that great work can be done by outstanding people.
- Ward Cunningham, creator of the wiki, with whom I’ve shared several conversations that have left a great impact on how I view technology. Ward shows us originality and innovation are a lifestyle.
- Terry Starbucker St. Marie and Liz Strauss, co-founders of SOBCon, who have had a profound influence on me by all that they do. They continue to share their time and wisdom with so many of us.
All of them are dreamers living out their calling. More importantly, they unselfishly share their personal stories, listen to ours, and encourage us.
When we engage people of their caliber, their examples show us what is possible and pushes us through the doubt and into action. Since they have accomplished great things that will leave a legacy, we see we can do the same. So, for all of them, “Just Do It!”