Sometimes You Just Need to Make Progress

  • February 10, 2011 by Corbett Barr

I’ve learned something from watching people start new projects over the years.

There are standards and there are ideals. There are perfect examples and sweet spots that we’d all like to be in.

It’s great to aim high. You should strive to do something extraordinary.

But sometimes you can’t rush these things.

Sometimes you just need to make progress. Sometimes you just need to put one foot in front of the other and have faith that you’re moving in the right direction.

Sometimes you have to acknowledge your first outing won’t be perfect, and that it’s OK.

It’s far better to make some progress towards your goal than to become paralyzed worrying about nailing it the first time. It’s worse yet to self destruct when everything doesn’t come together right away.

So give it your best shot for a while. Learn the best practices, observe the best in your field and spend some quality time plotting your big move.

Aim high and try to get everything right. You’ll always come out ahead if you set ambitious goals for yourself and take some time to plan.

But don’t make perfection your ultimate goal. Make your goal to be your best self and commit to improving, little-by-little, each day.

Be proud of the work you’ve done to prepare for your journey. Then pack up and actually start the journey, because it’s time to make some progress.

Written by . Corbett is cofounder of Fizzle, a place for creative entrepreneurs, writers, makers, coders and artists, all working to support themselves doing what they love independently on the Internet. Follow Corbett on on Twitter.

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David | Listen Feel Breathe February 10, 2011 at 6:21 am

I agree- it’s so important to actually be progressing. All too often I have found myself over analysing to the point that I don’t take action.

This year I am trying to change that by taking opportunities when they arise, making decisions quickly and then figuring it out as I go along.

I have realised that perseverance and patience is essential as their will be setbacks along the way. Sometimes I will feel like I’m soaring high in the clouds, and then at times I will feel like I’m crawling through the jungle.
Failure is inevitable- but failure is only a passing moment and never a reason to quit.

Hector Cuevas February 10, 2011 at 9:18 am

Deciding fast is scary but also essential to having any type of success. It’s normal to have the fear of making a bad decision, but not making a decision is on time is probably the worst thing we can do. It will stop us from taking action and ultimately slow down our momentum. Its great that you’re planning on changing this this year, wish you the best if luck – I’ll be working on making faster decisions myself :)


Robert Dempsey February 10, 2011 at 6:22 am

The saying goes that sometimes getting started is the hardest part. The perfection thing you mention gets a lot of people. All you really need is part of an idea and some action. The momentum will build and the thing will be done.

Great inspirational post for today.

TrafficColeman February 10, 2011 at 6:54 am

The saying goes..People don’t plan to fail..but fail because of the lack of planning..

“Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

Tim@Internet Income Rant February 10, 2011 at 7:50 am

Great saying, ‘rome they say, was never built in a day.’ Many of us including me are guilty of the ‘perfection saga’ and it’s hindering our success…
I know it’s time to get it done. Go do it man! Thanks for that wonderful post. Enjoy your day.

Ryan Biddulph February 10, 2011 at 8:01 am

Hi Corbett,

3 words: Keep Going Forward. Doesn’t matter how fast or slow, keep going.

You will run up against strong resistance at times. You slow down. So what. Keep going, Other times the resistance lessens and you sprint. Keep going forward. Don’t pay too much attention to the experience; focus on your progression itself. Whatever you bring your attention and energy to, expands.

A common error that handcuffs many is the fear of some emergency popping up in the future as you progress. Don’t worry about imagined emergencies. You receive the tools at the time as long as you keep moving forward with faith.

Persist, knowing that each experience passes. When you feel on top of the world, the experience will eventually pass. When you feel lower than you could ever feel the situation will pass. Sometimes things appear to come together perfectly and other time they appear to fall apart perfectly. Stop judging and keep moving forward. Building up this type of continual momentum forms a type of critical mass. Eventually you have to put less effort into your endeavor because instead of being concerned about doing things perfectly, or fearing thing will fail, you’re just doing what you do best and progressing no matter what.

Thanks for sharing the inspiration Corbett. Have a prospering day :)


Hector Cuevas February 10, 2011 at 9:11 am

Short, sweet and powerful post you got here. This journey is definitely not an easy one; I remember when I first started creating squeeze pages, and minisites and thing to drive traffic – I sucked at it and I wanted to quit many times but the only thing that kept me going was that everytime I build another site, I used to do it faster and it looked twice as nice as the last one.

There’s something about making progress, even if it’s just improving a skill, that makes people want keep moving forward. I was talking with a client yesterday and he told me how excited he was about all the work he has to do because he knows that he’s making progress in the right direction now.

I’m sure you hear that a lot Corbett; it’s an awesome thing to hear.

wilson usman February 10, 2011 at 9:22 am

Hey Hector, you and I both brother.
it took me like 3 days to get my first blog up, well I guess if you don’t count blogger and wordpress free ones I had.

But after I put up my home blog, and later help my girlfriend with hers, I was like damn I can do this, now let’s see if I can do it faster and better again…and I did. and so and so forth.

But yea making progress and seeing results its the most exciting thing ever. But when you’re doing and doing…like I used to when I was selling vacuums door to door, that sucked. work work work no results.

I guess that’s the cool thing with building sites, you do x and you get y or you do z and you get nothing. It’s about doing something and testing.

Great post corbett, almost inspiring engagement. I wish I could do more of that at my blog, there seems to be something missing on my blog posts.

Jackie Lee February 10, 2011 at 9:32 am

This is an excellent point Corbett. When people… especially new people, get started and they leave the gate trying to be EPIC and Extraordinary it sets them up to just not start at all. That’s a huge thing to try to be when you don’t even really know what you’re doing. I think being epic is definitely something to strive for, but you have to get started to get there. Getting started has to happen before Epic, so get out there and do something… you can always course correct, and create epic as you go. :)

Thanks for making this point.

Natalie Sisson February 10, 2011 at 10:14 am

Definitely loved your sentence about always aim to create something remarkable (we need to be Linchpins) but that sometimes just putting one foot in front of the other is ok too – go easy on yourself. Don’t compare yourself to others and feel your failing but seek to emulate the best and celebrate their successes and yours.

Thanks Corbett!

Morgan February 10, 2011 at 10:15 am

Hi Corbett!

You really nailed it with this post. :)

Too many people get frustrated when they don’t see instant success. But it’s not about instant success, it’s about staying steady on the course and just doing what you do best. :)

Truly inspired by this post! February 10, 2011 at 10:20 am

Funny, I wrote a post about getting started as well earlier today. That’s often the hard part but I’ll always remember a comment that someone told me: “Rome wasn’t build in one day”. It never meant much to me until I actually went to Rome and I finally understood that big remarkable things are made step by step… by step.

Gregory Rader February 10, 2011 at 10:47 am

I really resonate with one specific point here – “learn the best practices”

And, not just because it makes you more capable. One of the biggest benefits of educating yourself is that it allows you to focus on making progress without the constant doubt that you should be doing things differently. You can stop wasting your time searching for that next great tip or secret shortcut and just dig in knowing you have all the tools at your disposal. When something goes wrong you know how to react accordingly, or where to look for the information that will address that specific issue, instead of doubting your entire process.

Great post as usual…

Living the Balanced Life February 10, 2011 at 12:50 pm

I sometimes get stuck in analysis paralysis. I just need to move forward, even if it is one small step at a time.
How to finally reach the finish line

Wayne John @ Southern California Web Development February 10, 2011 at 2:32 pm

Oh so true. It’s something I’ve noticed in myself from time to time. Working on a post, and all these ideas come flooding in that relate to the post. Do I add them all and make this a huge gynormous post?

Sometimes I answer “yes”. What I find when I do that is that I tend to think about the post like it’s going to save the world. It’s the biggest, the baddest piece of work that I’ve done to date. Then comes the “what ifs” and “how about this” ideas…it stifles progress for the sake of trying to be extraordinary.

I think it’s good now and then, but certainly not every time.

Loving the posts, glad I found ya.

Shane February 10, 2011 at 4:03 pm

Awesome post – it did remind of an awesome course I took with Chris Garrett…Make More Progress…he provides valuable info on how to get stuff done. Very Very worth it.

I agree sometimes you just need to get unstuck and “Do Something”. What I see all too often is people that continually worry about the details and do not just act on something….I am always telling people to act…and iron out later…once you get started you might find that it’s not so bad and it’s excellent motivation.

Tim Murphy February 10, 2011 at 4:18 pm

Wow Corbett, the timing of this is amazing. As you know I’ve struggled with coming up with the perfect online business for me.

So a few months ago, after starting a new job, I just decided to start writing about my job.

I stopped trying to figure out the perfect domain name and perfect central theme and just created a blog and started writing.

As it turns out, I’ve attracted a bit of a following, not huge but I’ve gotten quite a few comments that my writing is good….which has given me the boost to continue.

My ultimate goal is to create some type of business of my own. And now I can see multiple possibilities for a future business as a result of my blogging efforts.

I don’t know exactly where it’s leading me, but I like it and it feels right.

Enough about me. This post really resonates with me right now. As always, your articles kick ass. Thank you!

Bishwajeet @Comptalks February 10, 2011 at 4:43 pm

Sometimes you just need to put the front foot as most of the times we are taken back by the lack of enthusiasm during the starting period

Rick Byrd February 10, 2011 at 7:10 pm


This is so true and I am a testimonial. I am working on a niche site and I keep tweaking it to make sure it is perfect before I launch it. I keep tweaking my article and emails and I have yet to launch the site.

I need to get over it and release it and tweak it after the fact. At least I can start driving traffic and I can teak it as I go.

Take care.

- Rick

Patricia@lavenderoils February 10, 2011 at 8:50 pm

Hi Corbett

This post resonates with me. I like to do everything perfectly and even when I am publishing a post will be worrying if it will be read by anyone! Then all the regular readers and other new visitors come and I can relax till next time lol

Now I realise thatif I just be myself; do my best and know that if I write interesting well-written posts; my readers will continue to interact and join the conversation.

Also, collaboration has helped my fledgling business. I am not a techie and most of it remains a mystery to me. But I love writing so I write and my techie friends maintain my blog and do the techie things to keep it updated and even did an upgrade to a more professional look for me. Win-win all round :-)

I have experienced many bumps on the journey but as I am committed to my blog and business; will persevere and be patient until success comes.

A friend has kept reminding me that slow and steady wins the race; so I keep moving forward. Some tasks take longer than others but that’s okay cos I see that things are progressing.

Patricia Perth Australia

Vincent February 10, 2011 at 9:19 pm

Little progress does adds up. It is like the theory of a snow ball. You need start rolling and find a very long hill.


Stuart February 11, 2011 at 1:30 am

I definitely agree with this article. Sometimes you have to take baby steps just to get going, even if you have to take baby steps for a month! As long as they’re in the right direction, then it doesn’t matter how small the steps are.

With my website, I started out with a different focus than what it is now, and the passion definitely wasn’t there. It was a chore, and I even resorted to copying from other articles to write content, because I had no inspiration! I’m not proud of it, but it helped me to realise a few things about blogging, and about life.

Jina Schaefer February 11, 2011 at 3:40 am

Corbett – loved this post. It is so true. Instead of getting to work, I often get parallyzed looking at the mountain ahead. Step one is acknowledging your doing it and step 2 is breaking it down into tiny steps. Step 3 – get crackin’!

Thanks for the post! :)

Stacey Herbert February 11, 2011 at 5:42 am

Hi there, I have definitely found myself stuck in a rut of trying to get everything perfect and trying to learn all the tools and skills in one go. Its overwhelming and it can seriously hinder you making any steps forward.My site has yet to be launched, and occasionally I feel like I am biting off more than I can chew, but I think the trick is to take one mouthful, one step at a time.
Anyway from what I have seen the most well visited and well respected sitea are rarely the all singing all dancing whistle and bells jobs. There functional, easy to understand, and choc-a-block full of useful information..if occasional a little bland visually.

I’m trying to strike a healthy balance, but its difficult sometimes

Thanks for this piece

Todd Ruel February 11, 2011 at 5:50 am

Amen, brother.

As Voltaire said, “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”

In the case of my web site design, it’s “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of launched.”

—Todd Ruel

Ayngelina February 11, 2011 at 7:50 am

Perfect timing for this as I’ve been impatient with my progress. I’m coming off a big peak and trucking along has been frustrating. But I’m starting to come to terms with any progress is good progress.

Susan February 11, 2011 at 9:13 am

True. I think the first stage for most people launching a project is deliberation. What wordpress template should I use? Where should I guest post? What content do I write? What plugins should I use?

At some point it’s about propelling forward. I try to think of at least one thing I can do a day to push myself forward. I know I can always hit at least one goal, even if it’s complex. Once it’s done, it’s easier to hit the next and the next…

Brad February 12, 2011 at 12:36 pm

Progress is such a wonderful thing. But if one thing that I learned right away is that you need to be patient. With this kind of business and the large number of people doing it, it can take days or weeks for things to happen. I have been trying things for about 2 months and I am still not getting the results I was hoping for in the beginning. But I am not going to quit, I am determined to keep going.

Nor Aziah February 12, 2011 at 5:38 pm

Yes it’s true. Take one small step at a time and keep on doing it consistently. Don’t wait for the right time to take action. Just do it, and you’ll learn to improve as you progress. A nice short post, Corbett.

Peter George February 12, 2011 at 6:35 pm

Great topic, Corbett. When my clients are waiting for perfection before beginning, I always remind them what Mary Poppins said, “Be practically perfect.”

Pontus Ekman February 13, 2011 at 8:01 am

Whoa, I just came to a similar conclusion by myself earlier today. When I got home and started checking my favourite bookmarks I found this. Great affirmation =)

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