JFDI: A Lesson in Getting Things Done

I thought I’d share a little story with no other point than #jfdi (i.e. Just F***ing Do It)

This is my Dad. In about 4 weeks, just before Christmas 2018, he will be 90. 

Thankfully he still has his mind (his hobbies include The Telegraph crosswords and Sudoku on a daily basis), and gardening (a neighbour had to help him the other day as he was trying to pull up a bush…).

He walks at least 30 mins a day (weather permitting) + tries to get a gentle 15 mins a day on an exercise bike (upped to 30 minutes), and he ensures he eats at least 5 vegetables a day No, potato doesn’t count.

He’s THE most humble, yet jovial and slightly cheeky person I have ever known. Almost unflappable. He’s my role model. I absolutely wish I could be more like this guy. 

Born in Romsey, Hampshire in 1928 to a Miner (who then became a Butcher in WWII – handy in times of rationing)

In his lifetime he has, amongst other achievements:

  • Trialled for Chelsea FC. Yes, that one.
  • Worked at Cape Canaveral before NASA existed
  • Worked in Toronto on the Avro Arrow, a concept fighter jet for the Canadian Air Force in the 50s whilst the rest of the world was still making propeller planes. (It got scrapped) (Coincidentally, I didn’t find this out until he casually mentioned it once I’d moved there myself for a few months in 2008. Dad: “You live near Bloor and Yonge Street? Oh, I used to live near there.” Me: “What??”)
  • Met his (UK) wife-to-be (my late mum) in the US
  • Drove around the US in an MGB. Mum had a tiny car too – a Nash Metropolitan in 2-tone white/blue
  • Got married in Ohio
  • Lived in Palo Alto before Silicon Valley was a thing (dammit, Dad I could have been born there… I mean look, you were about 5 mins from where Google created its Googleplex!)
  • Sailed back to the UK on The Oriana with Mum, both looking like film stars
  • Helped design (engineering) UK Navy Ships + subs at Vickers/VSEL (now BAE Systems) shipyard in Barrow, my hometown (see note about Google above)
  • Managed a team of about 30 draughtsmen at Vicker’s shipyard before computers, CAD, email and Slack really became a thing. (I didn’t know any of this until I was in my late 30s from an ex-colleague of his in passing… Dad didn’t think it was worth talking about…)

All before the age of 44.

At no point in his life did he seem to worry about whether it was the right thing to move continents to get a job, to travel and to live, get married abroad and drive across the States in a tiny car. Or to move back to his native country again.

He just got on with it.

In an era of “The Top 5 Habits of the Most Successful People” and “Top 10 Productivity Tips”, of email marketing, Black Friday sales and a relentless amount of business BS, I wonder if there are some lessons here?

In essence: Stop worrying* about what’s the best way to do things to be successful, or which decision is the right decision.

Sometimes you just have to say “F*** it” and #jdfi

*As a natural-born worrier who has learned to deal with anxiety and over-analysis (something I still battle with regularly), trust me, I know it’s easy to say this…


(Images courtesy of Pixabay for CC0 Creative Commons use)

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