7 Reasons to Take Imperfect Action
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately when writing this blog. I’m the kind of person who spell checks and proof reads before I’ve even finished my first draft. It would probably be much more efficient for me to jot down my general ideas and write out a first draft. And then do all the massaging, editing and proofing. But I can’t seem to work that way.
I bring this up because it underlines the point of this entire post which is that you gain more insight through action, however imperfect that action might be, than by trying to make things absolutely perfect. Since this is something I still struggle with, I thought I’d share, and remind myself of, 7 reasons why imperfect action is extremely beneficial.
#1 Stop Thinking and Start Doing
This applies equally to your creative practice or your online business. Many of us can overthink things. That can be what you’ll sketch or paint today or how to move forward with your first product offer. Getting started and moving into action helps stop the analysis paralysis that can hold you back.
A simple solution to the sketching dilemma could be to play with your supplies until an idea pops into your head. That gets your hands moving and immediately gets you out of your own head. The first imperfect step towards deciding on a product offer might be creating some product mock ups. You’ll learn new skills in the process and seeing how your design looks on real products will help you make key decisions on how to move forward.
#2 Nothing Is Ever Perfect
This can be a tough one if you are a perfectionist. Sometimes I find myself reading the same paragraph over and over again trying to decide if the wording is just right. I have to get over myself! It’s so much more important to get the blog finished, published and available to you than to wordsmith endlessly. To be honest, I think it’s a procrastination issue as much as a perfectionist issue, in my particular case.
Here’s my new trick to stop the endless editing cycle. I hit publish after reading through the blog from start to finish. Then I go to my website on my phone and read the published version there. If I find errors, I get back onto my desktop computer to fix them. This really helps because for some reason, once it’s published, and I do a quick read through, I can usually move onto something else that needs to get done.
#3 Feedback is Gold
One of the biggest advantages of moving into action, and this applies to pretty much anything, is that you’ll get feedback! That feedback could be in the form of how many people opened the email about this week’s blog post, to how many people read the blog post, to how many people emailed me directly in response to the blog post. All of this data is extremely valuable.
I realize using this blog post as an example here is quite meta. But this applies to anything in your creative business. If you are just starting to build your audience through a “join me” page on your website, getting that up and running is critical. You might not think it looks good enough, or you want to keep tweaking it. Don’t. Get it going so people can start joining your community. Then you can start communicating with them and learn more about what they need and how you can best serve them..
#4 Taking Action is a Huge Confidence Builder
This is a very powerful reason to move forward by taking imperfect action. You’ll get a huge boost in confidence. Here’s a great example. One of the students in my Jumpstart coaching program, Kathleen Lambert, just published her first blog post. It’s thrilling in part because she now has her first blog post on her new website. It makes everything seem that much more professional and real. And she is sending the link out to the communities that she is a part of to get feedback.
We are often fearful of taking action because of concerns about what people will think or how they’ll respond to our work, whether that’s a blog post or some artwork. Those voices inside our head predispose us to think that the reaction may be negative but in fact, the response we get is almost universally positive. Putting yourself out there takes courage and your audience will recognize that, support you and cheer you on.
#5 Clarity Comes from Taking Action not from Standing Still
I heard this exact expression this morning on Stu McLaren’s TRIBE 10 in 10. Stu is the “guru” of membership sites. He offers a terrific course called TRIBE that teaches you the A to Z about how to build, launch and grow your membership site. During the active part of the program, he is LIVE in a private, student-only Facebook group, answering questions. He calls these sessions “10 in 10” because he tries to answer 10 questions in 10 minutes. His answers are incredibly valuable and he often goes on long tangents, which means these sessions always take a lot longer than 10 minutes.
He is a huge proponent of getting your membership site up and running as quickly as you can. I completely agree and know, from personal experience, that you’ll learn more from getting it going than from waiting until the “perfect moment”. You’ve heard me say this in prior blog posts: progress not perfection, my friends.
There is a famous battle saying that goes something like: “No battle plan survives contact”. The theory being that as soon as people interact with your stuff, be that a blog post, a membership site, an online course, or your products and services, they’ll let you know what they like and don’t like. And that goes back to #3 – feedback is gold and helps you improve and serve your customers best.
#6 Action Lessens The Overwhelm
When you’re working on your creative business, it can seem like there is so much to do! The sense of overwhelm is real and breaking it down into small steps helps a lot. Baby steps are great. Taking things one step at a time and putting things into action helps relieve that sense of it being all too much to handle.
Set small, achievable goals. This helps break down a huge project into smaller, more manageable bits. Before you know it, as you put each piece into action, the whole doesn’t seem so gigantic or unachievable anymore.
#7 Action Accelerates The Learning Curve
Another fantastic benefit of taking action is how much you learn and how quickly that helps you continue to build on those learnings. This is true both in your creative business and in any creative endeavor such as product development or design. It doesn’t serve you to keep thinking about how customers might react to a product. You need to get the product into their hands to find out.
This one helps me a lot in my business. I keep reminding myself that I’ll learn a lot faster by taking action and trying new things than by over thinking or procrastinating. Nothing will ever be perfect, which is true for this blog post, so get it out there. I’m hitting “publish” right now.
It’s Never Too Late to Create
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My creative inspiration comes from a lifetime of observation. I grew up in Paris on the Place St. Sulpice and walked to school through the Luxembourg gardens. And that was only the beginning… Learn more by watching the video on my About page.