When you discover your soulful idea has already been done by someone else and you want to cry, or scream, or throw in the towel.
You'll get a seed of an idea for an ebook, service, or product. You'll let it marinate in your creative sauce until it's rich and luscious. You'll set goals, create clear intentions, and visualize your path forward.
Only to discover someone beat you to it.
I know how this feels friends and the pain is so raw and real.
Especially when you're just starting out with your solo venture and haven't learned that your new business is tender as a newborn baby (and requires just as much nurturing and protection).
Think about that for a moment. What if every pregnant mother collapsed into insecure hysterics at the sight of another pregnant belly?
Lots of babies are born in this world every single day. Boy ones. Girl ones. Green eyed ones. Brown eyed ones. But even so, no two babies are exactly the same.
Your new business is an idea-baby. And there are going to be times when you look around and get distressed because what you desire to do has already been done.
But guess what...
IT'S ALL BEEN DONE BEFORE. ALL OF IT.
How many renditions of Silent Night are there?
How many different pizza restaurants exist?
How many brands of yoga pants are there? (dear God, too many. And BTW, they're not meant to be actual pants, people).
That's well and good. And it's not too hard to wrap our minds around this perspective. But what about our feelings of jealousy, insecurity, frustration, and deflation in those times when we see someone way ahead of us with (gasp!) OUR brilliant idea?!
Over the past couple years I've been bruised and bruised again in the process of steering my little solopreneur boat. Along my way, I've learned a few inner and outer techniques to save myself from of the dark abyss of invented failure when I feel left behind or emotionally quashed by contemporaries who seem to know more and do more (and do it so very, very well)!
Stop resisting copying.
"Nobody is born with a style or a voice. We don't come out of the womb knowing who we are. In he beginning, we learn by pretending to be our heroes. We learn by copying."
- Austin Kleon | Steal Like An Artist
It's perfectly okay to allow yourself to be influenced by the great work of others (who were also inspired by the great work of others). The reason you don't need to freak out about copying is because if you bring your idea (even if it's similar to something else you've seen) through the filter of your personal creativity, you'll actually be designing something that is very unique.
Bing Crosby sang Winter Wonderland.
So did Lady Gaga.
Same song but different energy, performance, and audience.
Give credit where it's due and absorb the goodness from dreamy influencers. Don't put up a wall of resistance because you're irritated you didn't have the idea first. It's tempting to want to protect ourselves by building that wall, but don't. It blocks the flow of creative energy. It does the opposite of protect us. It isolates us. And a yucky side effect of isolation is the confusion of obsession. (Been there. Done that. It's truly awful).
How to copy without actually stealing.
Okay. Copying is good. Stealing is bad.
Recently I was poking around another Squarespace designer's website and I came upon something that was weird. I couldn't put my finger on it initially. But THEN it dawned on me. I clicked over to another colleague's site and I discovered the issue. Both websites had a 'work with me' page that was really similar. Like, REALLY REALLY REALY similar.
I felt a little icky about this because it didn't appear to be copying. It looked a bit like stealing.
Here's how to avoid putting yourself in that situation:
1 // Look at your inspiration. You know, the one that is five years ahead of you on her entrepreneurial journey; the one you are unrealistically comparing your new-ish self to.
2 // Now feel what you feel (if it's jealousy, so be it. Name it. Notice it in your body. Feelings dissolve when we go into them. I promise they do! Allow yourself to be aware of and okay with what you are feeling. It's the authentic and self-compassionate thing to do.)
4 // Now revisit the inspiration that made you feel like:
a.) a fraud
b.) a newbie who doesn't stand a chance
c.) a tangled drama mama
d.) an insignificant wanna-be (or in my case, all of the above at times).
5 // Ask yourself this (and have a notebook ready to write your responses):
What is it that I really like about what she's doing?
6 // Then ask yourself this (and be ready to make a list):
What is she not bringing to this situation that I could (because of my skills, talents, perspectives, interests, and personality)?
7 // Then look away from your inspiration. Close the tab on your browser. Delete the email from your inbox and move your body. Seriously. Take a walk or jump rope or skip out to your mailbox. Just move and breathe for a bit. This shifts the energy in your body FAST.
8 // Now...armed with the notes you took in your journal, revisit your dream idea. Based on what you discovered by answering the two questions - what you like about your colleague's work what you can uniquely bring to this product or service - develop your idea some more by letting your newly sparked thoughts burst forth onto paper.
This process always calms me.
The last thing I want you to know is:
When we let the light of others shine into us, it doesn't dim us (like we irrationally fear it will). In truth, it helps us shine even brighter! The person you thought had the potential to shut your idea down is actually a living, breathing example that the essence of what you are setting out to do is truly possible!
That's a moment of peace if you let it be.
It's a psychic high-five.
Above all, it's a beautiful opportunity for deep gratitude.
Want to keep diving in? I have more resources to cultivate ease and peace:
I'm creating a private community for introverted solo-business owners who desire to bring their work into the world in meaningful (and effective) ways that feel aligned with their quiet strengths! You are invited my friend...CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE
Want my personal strategy for quick relief from really intense compare & despair?
I wrote about that here.
Currently in full-on freak out mode?
You need this.
Speaking of baby businesses, want front row seats to my first nine months in business? Here you go!