Friday, December 30, 2011

Imperfect Action is Better Than Perfect Inaction

I came up with this quote ("Imperfect action is better than perfect inaction") when talking with a resume writer last week. (Note: A quick Google search indicates that Harry Truman said it first -- or, more likely, most famously.) It's something that I should post on my bulletin board, because it's easy to do nothing when faced with an obstacle of any type.

It's something that applies to our job-seeking clients. How many of them don't move their job search forward because they're afraid that they're "doing it wrong," or they need to take step "A" before they take step "B" -- or so they think. ("Well, I couldn't put up my LinkedIn profile because I didn't have my resume done." or "I couldn't apply for that job because I hadn't had a chance to line up all my references yet.")

It also applies to us as resume writers. When I recently put together my "Career Membership Sites Made Easy" program, I could have waited until the whole thing was perfect before launching it. But for a perfectionist (which I am!), that day could be a long way off. Instead, I put together the written curriculum for the program, the accompanying step-by-step setup guides, and modified the November Pass-Along Materials LinkedIn report into lesson format so CMSME buyers had a ready-to-go curriculum to launch their first membership program.

Is there a trade-off for going with "imperfect action"? In my case, yes. I decided to offer the first 25 resume writers who took a chance on this new program a substantial discount. When I reached that objective (we got the first 25 group members in about 72 hours), I decided to keep looking for "charter" members who would grow as the program grew. They can get in for a low price while I keep building the resources around the program (I'm doing a training webinar for group members next week), and a guide to driving visitors ("web traffic") to your membership program website. I didn't want to wait until the full system was done before I let in additional group members. The sooner you start on a project, the sooner you can start getting results. And results -- no matter how small -- are often what motivates us to take even more action.

The most important thing to remember is this: Take one step to move forward. If you're thinking of offering a new service to jobseeking clients (like a job search support group or service, or interview training, or whatever), don't wait until everything is perfect. Launch, then improve. In the movie "We Bought a Zoo," Matt Damon's character says, "You only need 20 seconds of insane courage and I promise you something great will come of it." It may take more than 20 seconds, but you can do something great.

Remind your clients of that too.


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