This post is based on episode 158 of the ProBlogger podcast.
Do you ever feel stuck in your blogging or your business?
I think many of us can relate to feeling paralysed at times – not just with blogging or business, but in other areas of life as well.
You might feel stuck and unable to move forward because:
- You’re a perfectionist, and can’t move on from one thing until you’re convinced it’s just right.
- You’re caught up in ‘analysis paralysis’. You keep looking at the different options, but you can’t pick one and move forward.
- You don’t have a clear idea of where you’re going. And you can’t make progress without knowing your destination.
- You always feel you need to know or have something more (develop a particular skill or more confidence, meet more people, have more money, etc.) before taking a particular action.
- You compare yourself with other people. It feels like everything you want to do has already been done, or that everyone else is doing it better.
- You feel overwhelmed by all the advice out there, and don’t know what to do first.
I can certainly relate to a lot of things on that list. I can get stuck when I have so many ideas that I can’t decide what to do first. Fear is also a big one for me. I worry what other people will think of me, how I’ll sound, how I’ll come across, what might happen if I make a mistake, and so on.
Perfectionism is a struggle for me. I imagine what I want to accomplish, and create the perfect picture of it in my mind. But then taking action seems risky, because whatever I do will never measure up to the way I imagined it. And so I’m tempted to do nothing at all.
But whatever the reason, being stuck will hold you back in any kind of business – especially in the online world where you need to keep active and keep moving.
Why You Should Take Imperfect Action
‘Imperfect action’ is always better than ‘perfect inaction’.
In fact, imperfect action is really the only kind there is. No-one ever takes perfect action.
Imperfect action gets things done. It’s what separates the dreamers from those who accomplish great things.
Here are some of the key benefits.
#1: Imperfect Action Creates Momentum
When you take one small, imperfect action, the next steps often reveal themselves.
As I mentioned earlier, some people don’t take action because they can’t see the big picture. But you may never see that big picture until you start taking steps forward.
I sometimes find that taking that first step towards a fuzzy goal makes it clearer for me. And starting to move gives me the energy to carry on.
#2: Imperfect Action Builds Confidence and Courage
I love this quote from Dale Carnegie:
Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.
Taking one small action can help give you the confidence to take the next, slightly bigger action. Keep moving a little bit further outside your comfort zone, and your comfort zone will expand.
#3: Imperfect Action Teaches You to Learn by Doing
Do you feel you don’t have the skills to tackle what lies ahead? Take imperfect action, and you’ll learn a lot – fast.
The day I started my first blog was probably the day I learned the most about blogging – ever. I learned so many new skills, and understood so much more than the day before.
#4: Imperfect Action Leads to Self-Discovery and Self-Improvement
As well as learning new skills, you’ll learn so much about yourself by taking action. Stepping out of your comfort zone will help you think about who you are and how you react in these situations.
For me, starting my blog helped me develop my ideas, and discover passions I wouldn’t have otherwise known I had.
#5: Imperfect Action is Relatable
This is something I think a lot of bloggers, podcasters and online entrepreneurs should understand. We’re often tempted to make our posts, products and sales materials perfect. But if we make things too perfect they’re not as relatable because they’ve lost some of their ‘humanness’.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t aim for excellence. (For instance, your posts should always be edited well.) But don’t feel you need to eliminate every imperfection. Humanness, vulnerability and imperfection help others relate to us and feel a connection.
Today, I encourage you take your next best step. You don’t necessarily need to reach your destination. You just need to take the next best step that will move you towards it.
What if You’re Really Stuck?
But what if you don’t think taking your next step will be enough to help you regain your momentum? That happened to me at one point with ProBlogger, when I realised I’d been putting off several different tasks. They were on my ‘someday’ list, but never quite made it to my ‘today’ list.
To get moving again, I set aside an entire week to get things done. I came up with a list of ten things I needed to do – things I’d been avoiding – that I could achieve in a week. Each one took half a day or less.
I also turned off a lot of the input in my life. No blog posts, no podcasts, no social media, no Netflix, and very limited email. I stopped consuming for a week, and started creating instead.
It turned out to be a really great week.
Putting that week aside and creating those boundaries meant I not only got a lot done, but also got my momentum back. And the following week was really productive too because I was in ‘creating’ mode.
Could you take one ‘next best step’ towards your goals today? Could you look ahead in your calendar and block out a week to really focus on moving forward and building your momentum? Let us know what you’ll be doing in the comments.