Something many of us struggle with from time to time is imperfect implementation, in other words taking action when we know it’s not going to be perfect.
There are so many reasons this is challenging for us, but mainly it’s because we don’t want to risk being judged, rejected or looking stupid. We also don’t want to let ourselves and other people down.
Sometimes our unwillingness to implement imperfectly can be linked to our desire for perfection, which I’ve covered in a previous blog.
But it also can be a little more complex than that, too. We may be lacking motivation or be having trouble identifying which, among a selection of options, is the “right” one. We might be vague about what we’re trying to achieve, or why we even want to achieve it. Maybe we’re concerned about what other people will think of us if we DO take the action, even if it is a successful one.
Yeah, it’s complicated.
But we encounter problems when we hold back from implementing or doing. When we don’t take action, we can quite easily get ourselves stuck. The longer we stay stuck, the louder the voices of doom (AKA fear and doubt) become, making it harder and harder for us to get moving and almost impossible to get any sort of momentum happening. We’re also likely to start second-guessing ourselves, listening to anyone and everyone giving us their 10 cents worth – which can make us even more confused and can sway us even further from our desired path.
However, if we want to achieve or experience anything different to what have right now, to make a change or step up to something greater, then we have to learn how to do this. Implementing imperfectly also gives us some actual results and feedback that we can use to assess how we are tracking against our goal and it helps us create energy and motivation.
The great news: learning how to implement imperfectly is possible for all us. Here are some of my top tips to get you started:
Develop your trust in yourself
Probably more than anything else, learning how to trust in yourself will aid you on your way, not just to be able to implement imperfectly, but also to bounce back from life’s inevitable challenges, as well as seek out new challenges, which bring with them new opportunities and options. To my mind this is how the magic happens: when we open ourselves up to the new.
Start by raising your standards of yourself and holding yourself to account for keeping to those standards. In this way you’ll start to see and believe that you are trustworthy. This might mean keeping your promises to yourself and others. It also might mean investing in yourself. Not just saying “I am worth it” but learning how to actually believe it by demonstrating it to yourself. This might take some help if it’s something you don’t yet know how to do. And note, an investment in your personal and professional development is always worth it – not just for you and what you’ll gain out of it, but also for the positive effect it will have on those around you.
Use pain and pleasure
We’ve talked about using pain and pleasure before, but it’s worthwhile revisiting it here. Focus on the pleasure, satisfaction and benefits you’ll gain by taking the action as well as the pain, dissatisfaction and all that you’ll miss out on if you don’t take action. When you realise what you’ll gain by taking the action in comparison to what you’ll have to deal with if you don’t, that’s when you’re likely to decide to go for it. Get skilled at this type of thinking to create leverage on yourself.
Does a deadline exist or can you create one?
I think that one of the reasons we like a deadline is because deadlines force us to just get out there and do it without languishing by overthinking what we’re doing. We don’t have the luxury of time, here. With deadlines, it’s more important that we meet the time criteria than it is for us to “do it” perfectly. We simply have no choice but to make whatever it is “good enough” in the time available, so we crack on with it without too much over-analysis.
What’s the worst that can happen?
When we’re stuck it can be useful to ask ourselves what’s the worst that can happen if we take imperfect action. How bad is the threat, really? And how likely is it that it will even happen? By no means am I suggesting mulling over absolutely every potential problem there could be with taking action (you’d never make a start!) Just consider some of the most likely and then, if you can think of ways to counteract these and/or know that you can handle it even if it does happen, then get on with it.
Decide that doing the thing is more important than not doing it
This is something I do all the time when I feel the need to step up to do something out of my comfort zone. Although it might sound like I’m stating the obvious here, I think that it’s very easy to keep ourselves stuck because we don’t take the small, simple step of thinking about what we want to do and consciously deciding that we’re going to do it because there is more to gain by taking the action than there is by not taking it. This is simply a matter of assessing which of the two options has a higher value or priority – is it to take the action, or not to? And once you’ve decided – just get on with it, no further thought required.
Action creates motivation and confidence, not the other way around
“I’ll do it when I’m feeling more motivated and confident.” Yeah right. Hanging around waiting for the confidence and motivation to show up won’t get you anywhere except feeling more stuck. The only way to create the motivation and confidence is to just get out there and do it. Even if what you’re doing is far from perfect, most of the time you get to build on and improve it along the way. Take a few actions in quick succession and you’ll start to create momentum. The other great bonus of taking action is that it helps dissipate the fear and doubt. Awesome!