The Power of Taking Imperfect Action

There’s a mantra I’ve been repeating to myself regularly over the last few years, and just recently realized it’s a quote from former president Harry S. Truman.  I even have it printed out and pasted above my computer monitor.

It’s the perfect phrase for those of us who procrastinate, those of us who overthink, over-plan, and agonize over every last detail of a project that we’re working on.  (I’m one of those people.)

If you’ve ever spent way too long thinking of a business name, designing your logo, or choosing a domain name, this quote is for you:

And what this means, simply, is that taking some sort of action — even if it’s not flawless, and even if a potentially superior action exists — is better than polishing and perfecting and ultimately taking no action at all.

While you were thinking (really) long and hard about your company name?  Another entrepreneur in your city simply named their company after themselves, and is already in business and growing revenue.

While you were changing the color & font of your logo for the umpteenth time, and adjusting the layout “just so”?  Your competitor just picked a color that looked nice and will update it later.  They’ve already got brochures printed and in the hands of customers.

While you were searching for some mythical great white buffalo of a domain name, hoping that the perfect one somehow isn’t already registered?  Someone else decided to just choose a domain name no matter how imperfect, and then they took my Master of Your Domain class.  Their website is live and receiving traffic from potential customers.

“But these things are important to get right!” you might say.  “This is my reputation and my name we’re talking about here.”

Sure, but do you want your name to be associated with perpetually being in about-to-launch, almost-there, coming-soon mode?  Or do you want to be known as someone who gets things done, and takes bold action?

Did Bezos, Musk, Gates, and virtually every other business icon wait until things were perfect before launching?  Or did they take action and then improve & iterate later after gathering learnings from their customers and what they need in their business?

I’ll close with a slogan about taking action, from a Pacific Northwest company you might have heard of:

Okay, your complimentary inspirational coaching session is now over.  Now get out there and take imperfect action.