The positive power of the J.F.D.I (just effing do it)
There’s a phrase that, throughout my professional life, filled me with fear, dread and sometimes, anger.
These 4 little words often came after something that I’d violently disagreed with. Something that I’d have to be forced into by someone more important in the hierarchy (official or unofficial). Something I might even have to pass on to my team despite fundamentally disapproving of it. And something that usually went directly against the strategic and/or creative route of action I was recommending.
Those 4 words?
(insert word of choice depending on your view of swearing in the work place)
GRRR – it makes my blood boil just to recall these situations. For example:
“I know it’s totally off brief and is a horrible idea, Collette, but it’s what the Most Senior Client wants. Let’s J. F. D. I.” (when I was agency side)
“Yes, Collette, I know it’s totally undermines our brand and goes against all of our consumer insight, but it’s what the Board is insisting on. It’s a J.F.D.I.” (when I was client side)
Not that I have a problem with authority or anything. Or taking risks or trying new things. Or doing what needs must. But as a strategist, I’ve always needed there to be a compelling and clear reason why. And as demonstrated in the above 2 examples, simply saying J.F.D.I doesn’t provide one. Which is probably why, for me, the F in this acronym is big ole swear word.
Since starting my own business, however, I’ve discovered new meaning in J.F. D. I.
A positive and motivating interpretation, that helps me get stuff done especially in 3 specific situations.
When it’s something I don’t enjoy
When it’s your own business, you do everything, especially at the beginning (when you can’t necessarily afford to pay people to do stuff). So you’ll find that you will like some bits of what you do more than others. For example, I love working on brands (my clients and my own). Obvs. And I’ve really enjoyed building my own digital presence. But I’ve struggled with the financial management. So when it’s time to do the books, I tell myself J.F.D.I.
This means that I put it at the top of my to do list and always make time for it, instead of letting my receipts pile up and not keeping my spreadsheets updated. Which, not only has been a very good discipline for me but means I prioritise and stay on top of it. And because I’m getting stuff done, I enjoy it (slightly) more.
When it’s something I’m a bit scared of
We all have a comfort zone and I’m no exception. So at times when I need to take a risk (a calculated and strategic one, of course) or step outside of my comfort zone to make the most of an opportunity, I’ve found that a J.F.D.I attitude helps. This was definitely the case when I decided to go it alone and start my own business. And any number of times since then.
It means I don’t let fear stop me and instead take that necessary leap of faith.
When it’s something new
Innovation and willingness to trial and test is essential to the success of any business. It’s how you build, grow and strengthen your offer and stay ahead of your market. I know I’m stating the obvious. But it’s tempting to stick to the tried and tested – when budgets are tight, or if an organisation is particularly risk averse, or you can’t guarantee the results. So I find that a J.F.D.I. can be empowering and a bit exciting in this situation because it gives you permission to try. Even if it doesn’t work, you’ll learn something valuable.
So I’ve gone from hating J. F. D. I. to making it a core part of my attitude. Because I now repeat those 4 words to myself with a slightly different emphasis. Whereas before it was “just F-ING do it”, it’s now “just f-ing DO it”. You see? Because sometimes the only way forward is to take action. It’s how we learn. It’s how we move forward. And it’s how we make progress. And these 4 words help me remember that. A bit like the Nike slogan but with added (sweary) attitude.
There you go.
4 little words to fill you with the energy and vigor needed to get stuff done.
Just effing DO it!
You won’t regret it, I promise.