Lessons from a working girl
Moons ago, when we all rocked the Melanie Griffith "Working Girl" look and mobile phones were the size of house bricks, I started work as a trainee solicitor ("attorney" to you Americans). I worked in "The City" as Londoners call their financial district (for there can be only one city) in a huge, nay planet-sized law firm, that most likely had a GDP to rival Belgium. It was a pretty awful experience. I wasn't suited to it at all and it made me profoundly bored and desperately miserable, but it taught me one very valuable lesson.
I was working for a man with perpetual enthusiasm for "the next deal". With a big smile and an over-confident handshake, he filled every room he was in, and though I tried not to like him I couldn't help myself. I nicknamed him "Lord Flashheart" after a confident, bumptious character in one of my favourite TV comedy shows. I worked with him for several years and despite attempts to remain cynical I sort of liked and respected him. In a company of cold fish, he was at least human and honest.
Throughout our time together, he would regularly bump into obstacles. Political objections higher up the food chain, departments too busy to assist, workers too stubborn to think differently. Monotonous grumblings from the overworked and the underpaid that yet another task had landed on their "to do" list. His job, though, was to get the deal done, and that's what he did. Faced with the avalanche of pointless objections he would be as immovable as they, and in the end his persistent, relentless, stubborn insistence always won through. He maintained humour for as long as possible, but in the end would take a deep breath, furrow his brow and deliver the inevitable command: "JFDI".
Just Fucking Do It.
He always met his deadlines and he always did his deal.
And that's the most important lesson of all. Whatever your project: raising kids, going out to work, running a house, the time arrives when what you need to accomplish becomes tedious and tiring and mired in difficulty. Most often, giving up and maintaining a miserable status quo is all we can manage. But it's those very moments when we should be taking the boldest steps, making the hardest choices and the biggest decisions.
To never decide on a direction or a course of action for fear of making a bad decision, or having, finally, to take responsibility? Always a mistake. When the going gets tough, the tough get going - we've all heard that cliché, but it's true. If you just plod on, if you insist and persist and try harder and think deeper and just keep on keeping on, you will make it happen through sheer force of will. Next time it all gets too hard, grit your teeth. Become you own Lord Flashheart. Face your challenge. Grab your task by the scruff of its neck and intimidate it into submission.
JFDI. What are you waiting for?