Unlock Happiness with Imperfect Action
Why Should I Care
What would begin to be possible for you if you took just ONE imperfect action, each day? Don't know what an imperfect action looks like? Then read on!
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Imperfect Action is the Key to Unlock Your Happiness
How often has perfectionism, or the struggle to get something ‘perfect’ kept you in a place of inaction?
Maybe you didn’t go to that party because your dress or nice pants didn’t look right or had too many wrinkles.
Maybe you chose to keep fiddling with that font, that color, or that one paragraph for hours to get the perfect prose—only to realize the hours you twiddled away left you no time to actually publish that page, reach out to that prospect, or schedule that newsletter.
Or, perhaps, you kept safe in your isolation because you hadn’t reached that ‘perfect’ state of culturally idealized body weight (thx, no thx, male gaze), and so another dateless Saturday night went by.
This shit happens. It is for real. I know countless times when my own pursuit of an idealized perfect state either kept me in the weeds, had me focusing on crap that was literally about as important as a gnat’s ass hair, or left me alone in my dorm room ‘safe’ with my journal or cold embrace of the internet.
That was all action, albeit a debilitating one. An action tainted by perfection’s grasp that left me without any real world feedback to respond to. Just my own private hell of self-judgement and mean brain loop-dee-loops.
Are you feeling me here? Are you seeing your own series of perfect cages (kudos if they look pretty, but did they really get you closer to your goal)?
3 Benefits of Taking Daily Imperfect Actions
1. You Get More Shit Done!
“Now, Tigre… It’s not all about the doing…” you might be saying. Yes. I 100% agree that doing for doing’s sake is just as bad as a perfection hell loop.
What I love about using imperfect action daily is that it helps us FEEL better because we accomplish more. Why does that matter?
Because we LOVE to check things off our lists! Actual drugs (internal you-produced drugs mind you like dopamine) are released when we check those boxes, cross out those items, or close those open loops.
Now, like the science and entrepreneurally-minded blogs will tell you, take those to-dos in bite sized chunks, AND also—this is critical to break the perfection habit—note what 70% complete might look like for those tasks.
Of course, some tasks like emptying the dishes need 100% completion (because what good is it to empty 70% and then mix clean dishes with dirty), but many other tasks are much less binary or black-and-white.
A great example is going for some form of exercise. Me, I hate running (unless it’s Ultimate Frisbee—I’ll enjoy that with my flat feet any day), but let’s use jogging as the example.
So, your perfection-minded self would LOVE to attach itself to the notion that running “correctly” (another bullshit mask of perfectionism) is to do it non-stop, full bore, take no prisoners till sweat is what you’re wearing.
OR, the 70% (and waaaaaaay kinder) approach would be to agree with yourself, “Let’s go at jogging pace, and I give myself permission to pause, stretch and take in the beauty of the outdoors.”
Which one sounds more fun; which one sounds like torture? Which one seems like it’s achievable, which one is daunting?
Summary: Feel better by getting more things accomplished because you gave yourself permission to let 70% be OK for the non-binary tasks in your life (please, no 70% butt wiping).
2. You Get Feedback On What Works and What Flops!
Perfectionism’s huuuuuuge attraction is that it keeps us from getting the answers we don’t really want to hear.
Us humans are an imaginative bunch—all full of catastrophizing and fantasizical whimsy. (If you’ve raised children well, you’ve been gifted a reminder of just how imaginative we truly are at our core.)
Those same imaginative powers can have quite the debilitating and paralyzing effect on us. And, when we wrap our ego and identity around it… WHEW! That’s a recipe for some non-beneficial inaction!
You see, if we keep perfecting that email, or sales page, or proposal, or negotiation script… we avoid having to do the real work of actually saying or delivering that message or doing that action. And by delaying the doing we miss the GOLDEN opportunity to get INFORMATION.
By not doing it until it’s perfect or “right” (another mask—boo!) we end up letting our massive powers of imagination create a totally distorted and usually false sense of truth.
We either imagine that it’ll be a home run OR we imagine that we’ll be pilloried and held up in the town square as an example of all that is unholy in the world. BOTH are not true because BOTH are creations of fantasy.
When we take imperfect action AND release ourselves from it meaning ANYTHING about us, we get to respond to the information or data we receive.
Example #1: You actually send that newsletter. You get a 10% open rate. OK. So, what’s the information here? We need to think about testing different subject lines to those who didn’t open! That’s it!
Example #2: You actually talk to your partner about your misgivings about the upcoming visit to their your in-laws. You stay in your center of truth and integrity while doing so, allowing them to have their own emotions, and you are heard. Irregardless of HOW they respond—you’ve gotten information about who this person is and how much they value your needs of feeling safe/secure/heard. GREAT!
Learn to love the information and discard the narrative. Get into the detached observer state and get curious about the actors in this scene of your life’s play. What are they wanting, what are they seeking, what are they saying beneath their beliefs?
Summary: Learn to fall in love with the data and information from imperfect action. Embrace it for the game it is and grow those callouses of experience, wear them with pride, and see how they end up protecting you for the bigger and brighter things to come.
3. Your Goals Become Achievable
If you’ve ever been trained on goal setting, you’ve likely heard of SMART goals. They’re Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.
Perfect inaction destroys this SMART approach towards goal achievement because:
- Perfect will never be Specific because perfect is an ideal, finished state which can never exist
- Measuring the goal is impossible because how can you measure that which does not exist!?
- If perfection is an unachievable, ideal state then how can it ever become Achievable!?
- Perfection is the exact opposite of being Realistic
- Being Timely is impossible if perfection is never within our grasp
So, when we drop our perfections around what’s “enough”—and remember, your 70% is another person’s 170%—we can start being SMART about our goals because they’re coming down to Earth and getting solid, tangible and measurable.
If this is still feeling abstract or you don’t see how imperfect action helps you achieve your goals, then perhaps consider this example.
How will you ever get the rest of a room remodel finished and ready for your AirBNB if you keep perfecting that color of paint? How much money are you losing on the DAILY by delaying your goal of listing your property on the site? Ask yourself what does 70% look like for a paint color based on the other items in the room and theme of the house and PAINT the damn thing!
Summary: Embracing imperfect action gets you closer to your goal because REAL action is being taken instead of vacillating or see-sawing indecision.
Inaction and Action Share a Common Bond
Both are a choice.
You choose TO act and you also chose NOT to act. So, drop any of the lies you’re feeding yourself that you’re not making choices in your life because we all are.
And start getting curious about results, bust out that measuring device to document and record your progress, and for goddess’ sake PUH-LEASE let’s all let 70% be handy dandy (and I say that particularly for us overachievers… you know who you are).
Because the world needs more imperfect, heart-centered, integrity steeped ACTION to carry us forward, together.
Who Is Writing This?
Hey, I'm Tigre Pickett and I'm a recovering perfectionist.
I bought this domain in 2014 and sat on it for seven years before finally taking my own imperfect action and dove into sharing my experiences with perfection. How on brand!
It's my goal to provide others inspiration, guidance and support around befriending perfection by giving it other, more kind and accurate clothes and identities to wear.
I've sold myself short a lot in my life due to perfection's grip. May this website and my work provide you some glorious relief to just be with the messy, flawed, and totally lovable and worthy human you are.