What’s Stopping You From Achieving Your Dreams?

In my other life, I produce TV commercials in an ad agency. I usually never mix both my advertising and wellness worlds together on this blog, but as it’s International Women’s Day and I’ve just produced a spot for Nike that crosses barriers I hope you’ll find motivating, I wanted to share it with you today.

Earlier this year, we went to Dubai and shot some young, inspiring female athletes from across the Middle East for this campaign. Young ladies who were into various sports from running, skateboarding, ice-skating, boxing, fencing, parkour/ free-running, football (soccer)... On the surface, these seem like everyday sports that every girl (and boy) are into. Except in the Middle East, perceptions of what girls should and shouldn’t be doing are quite different from if you’ve grown up with a Western perspective of the world.

“What will they say about you” is a phrase any Arabic household is familiar with, as it’s uttered whenever anyone does something usually not done. And yes, even when girls play sport, they’re often met with the same saying from concerned family members. For the most part, girls are simply neither seen outdoors, nor playing sports.

We took the same saying and turned it on its head - instead of the phrase having negative connotations, we asked “what will they say about you” when they see your strength and see you achieving new heights? Seeing this new generation of Middle Eastern young women breaking cultural stereotypes, and breaking free of society’s perceptions of what girls “should” or “shouldn’t be” doing warmed my heart. I loved seeing such strong, independent girls doing their own thing, in their own way. They have big dreams and aren’t letting cultural norms get in their way. They’re creating their new norm.

The campaign was launched quietly 2 weeks ago to rave reviews - I hope it helps inspire young girls (and women) everywhere feel like they can take charge of what happens with their lives.


Staying fit and active is something so “normal” and part of everyday Western life I took for granted, and it’s mind-blowing that not everyone has that privilege. I came away from this experience really inspired - and isn’t that what International Women’s Day is really about? A celebration of women’s achievements against all odds, and if these girls can do it, then what’s stopping you from achieving your dreams... or simply hitting the gym?


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