Why I Love Imperfect Action

Though I try, I am never perfect. Sometimes, in my quest for perfection, I wait…and wait and wait…and never act.

An important lesson came to me late last year as I was deciding whether or not to leave my job and follow this dream of entreprenuership. I discovered this amazing business coach named Christine Kane, who teaches specifically to women entreprenuers who work with a purpose. (She calls herself “Mentor to Women Who are Changing the World” – how could I resist?!)

In one of the first emails I received from Christine, she talked about doing things imperfectly – of not waiting for perfection to happen before acting, but acting anyways, imperfectly.

This was a lesson I was meant to hear, because too often I was waiting to know more, or do more, before I’d let myself do what I really wanted to do – which was to start my own business. I realized I would never be “there” unless I started “here,” in my place of imperfection.

Each imperfect action I take is one step closer to my goal. I haven’t yet died from a typo or grammatical error. I haven’t closed down my dream because I’m not there yet.

Every day I work on another goal. Though I have a list a mile long, I don’t let the fact that I’m not yet done stop me from starting, although sometimes that temptation is huge! In many cases, I don’t even know what I need to know to finish. But as I remember imperfect action, I do the first step anyways, knowing that action is the only way to proceed. And amazingly, once I set that intention, the information seems to show up.

Like the day I stopped in the bank to ask about a business account and the manager asked me if I had registered my business. Duh, what? I hadn’t yet learned that part. But the intention was out there and the universe brought me a banker who took the time out of her day to get on the Secretary of State website and help me begin the process. It’s all about starting! Each step leads to the next.

I mention all of this because I’ve often heard people stopping themselves from things they’ve always wanted to try – like gardening – because they didn’t feel like they knew enough yet. Just because you don’t know what to do about squash bugs shouldn’t stop you from planting squash! It just gives you an opportunity, should squash bugs decide to visit, to try out some imperfect action. Maybe you’ll try hand-picking them off. Maybe you’ll get some rotenone from the garden store at the suggestion of a neighbor. Maybe you’ll join a gardening club and meet some really great new friends. It all starts by planting that first seed.

Each action we take, whether imperfect or not, is one step closer to living the life we want to be living.

So at this start of the new year, I encourage you to go ahead and plan that garden, even if you’ve never started a seed in your life. Or begin that new hobby that you know nothing about. Or follow that dream that’s too big to tie down. Action, with all its imperfections, is the only thing that will ever move us forward into our “there.”

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