Starting Imperfect

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Anyone that knows me sees that I move to action quickly. I value action immensely compared to talking because you can squash any intellectualism that is wasteful and see what actually works in reality.

But the hard part of this approach is that you have to be comfortable with starting with an imperfect approach. While most people agree with the idea of learning by failure, it’s still difficult to swallow when you are actually doing it. You don’t want to mess up. After all, school taught all of us to follow rules, play it safe and comply. Fitting in was good. Standing out and making mistakes were bad.

But in a world where things are moving fast and nothing is for sure, what other strategy makes sense? If you plan perfectly, you will find Mike Tyson’s quote true, “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

You will get punched in the mouth once your well-intentioned plans hit up against reality.

I like to start with a small test and challenge my assumptions. I start with an idea. Then I put it into play to see all those wonderful and unexpected nuances emerge.

It may be the idea of selling a new service. I provide the service to a client and see how the interchange works. I might discover that it takes a lot more energy or affects the relationship in negative ways. I might pivot and tweak to see if it can work better. But if reality tells me that its the nature of the beast, then I withdraw and move on to another idea.

The hard part is being open to failure. But the great part is that I can take smaller risks by starting imperfect. Stumbling around and feeling your way through something gives you immense data that you can make conclusions on from substance rather than guessing.

Sure, it may feel safe to work something through thoroughly in your head. But that’s just a picture. You want to see what the movie of life tells you instead. You’ll waste less time, cost and effort.

What idea are you still planning rather than acting on?

Published by Don Dalrymple

I partner with founders and entrepreneurs in startup businesses. I write and consult on strategy, systems, team building and growing revenue.

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