In life I believe that there are two types of people when it comes to creative and entrepreneurial pursuits; Doers and Planners.
The doers are people who jump into projects without thinking. They do first and then learn from their mistakes.
The planners on the other hand are obsessed with finding potential mistakes before they get started. Mapping out every detail so that they can execute to perfection. Their downfall is indefinite periods of inaction due to “planning”.
Before I get started I need to say that things are not black and white like this. It’s a spectrum. I KNOW. But, we all probably lean more towards one side of the spectrum than the other.
This article is written for the over-planners. The perfectionists. The people who can spend hours, days, weeks, even months or years stressing over the tiniest details of a project before they are willing to release it.
For these people, I have a story for you.
4 years ago I was living in Bangalore, India, working on my startup BrainGain. I was in the early days where I still didn’t know what my business model would look like.
I wanted to build an overseas work exchange program. One where I would find people a job, get them a place to stay, take care of their visa, link them to medical insurance, build a community of people on the ground for them to connect to, and provide training while on the job.
I was focused and motivated. I had the skills and resources to get it off the ground.
BUT I wasn’t ready to open up for business and make sales until I had all of these ducks in a row.
I couldn’t start recruiting unless I was sure I could get people a place to live. Or if I had medical insurance figured out for them. Or if I couldn’t know what they were going to get paid in advance.
In my attempts to build a business, I was keeping myself busy but not moving forwards in the goal of making money.
Then one day I met a friend of mine. We had spoke about 3 months ago when it was only in the idea stage. He asked me about my progress, and I told him about all of the things that I had in motion.
Then he said to me, “wow it sounds like you’re making some incredible progress! But tell me, when will you officially launch?”
To that my reply was, “well I’m not sure yet, I still have to figure out this and this and that, probably before the end of the year but let’s see. I want to make sure I have it right.”
To this he replied to me, “It sounds like you’re trying to make everything perfect, and you need to realize it never will be. Instead focus on the smallest, most actionable thing you can do, and then go do that.“
He was right. I was trying to build the “perfect business model” and get every possible thing taken care of, and it was preventing me from moving forward and making progress. I needed to stop fretting over getting everything perfect, and instead focus on the actionable steps I can take to move things forwards.
I didn’t need the perfect innovative business. I needed something that could start. I could start with recruitment. Building a pipeline of candidates for the companies I had lined up with job descriptions.
Instead of trying to get all of the pieces in place, I learned to focus on the core foundational elements. Instead of spreading myself too thin I learned where to focus my time and energy.
Instead of trying to get it perfect, I got it out there.
In life we can do the same. Our fear of judgement might prevent us from releasing our work.
Releasing our work to the world requires vulnerability. Why open myself up to ridicule if I can prevent it with proper planning?
YES, there is a time and place for planning. As John Wooden says, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”
BUT, planning can prevent you from taking meaningful progress towards your goals. Planning can allow the skeptic procrastinator in your mind never allow you to release your work to the world.
Get your work out there for everyone to see. Get feedback. THEN make changes. It’s better to release too early than to never release at all.
Get out of your comfort zone and release before it’s ready. It’s a liberating feeling 🙂