When you’re starting out there’s pressure to succeed quickly. If you don’t launch your brand, get lots of clients, and rack up followers you aren’t considered successful online.
What’s worse is there are people out there with picture perfect lives, beautiful brands, and fabulously successful businesses. You’d love to have that for yourself. Because if we’re being honest, we all want to succeed and achieve our dreams.
Instead of taking years to grow and nurture a brand, what we are encouraged by expert culture to copy another person’s style, services, and mission in order to gain success in a shorter amount of time.
“Gain 1000 newsletter followers in 10 days by becoming an overnight expert in your field!”
“Double your followers in a week by posting only popular Instagrammer’s photos!!”
“Earn $25,000 tomorrow by offering coaching like professional coach XYZ no matter your skill level!!!”
As ridiculous as it seems right now, you’ve probably fallen for the above tactics at least once. I know I have.
All these methods require you to reach beyond your current skill level to attain the success you want but don’t have. Meaning, the only way to get that level of skill, in a short period of time, is by lying OR repeating the words of other experts.
This post isn’t really about theft
This post isn’t about expert culture online either.
This is a blog post on the root of theft, expert culture, and general online hoodwinkery: competition.
You gotta learn to succeed. There’s the discipline of doing something repeatedly long-term that you need to cultivate in order to replicate a service, or product, for customers.
Expert culture will tell you to keep the learning part hidden. You need to be a leader in your field.
Like…yesterday. You’re already about yea late. Your competition is right on your heels.
You’re out of your depth
Competition is fed by the jealous desire to extend your reach beyond what you currently have gained from your own lived experiences, skill level, and training. Instead of leveling up naturally, you try to take a shiny shiny shortcut.
You see someone you admire and you want what they have. You want their perceived success. You want their popularity. But, for your unique brand.
You lift words of other people. You cop their brand style. You try to post pictures like them. You offer their services. You gank their prices. All in hopes of somehow increasing your expertise and, as a result, gaining the success you crave. (I know this because I’ve been there and have seen others go there.)
This theft is a symptom of jealousy. And jealousy won’t bring you the success your fave has. Ever.
You aren’t your fave. You’re you. And right now, you look unstable. Right now, you look like you have no idea what you’re doing. Right now, you competing is mucking up your brand.
The truth is there is no competition.
You are unique. The person you’re inspired by is unique. Each of you has a set of life lessons that affects your viewpoints and skill-level. Each of you will use those experiences to speak to your audience in a different way.
Competition tells us that success of an individual is replicable. It implies that two people can somehow be identical purely by having identical rhetoric, or skill level.
That is not the case. If it were so, it would imply that you (a unique and purposed individual) are replaceable.
READ FURTHER: There is no competition (by an amazing photographer @thetrudz on Twitter)
I know you want to succeed
I get that when you start out, in any new field, you want to be great. Why shouldn’t you? But there are ways to go about it that don’t include doing what your faves do.
You will never be your fave.
Instead of competing with someone who you will never become, you could reach out to the person you were inspired by and interview them, ask them questions, slide in their DMs (ask first, some people hate that).
Why let theft, jealousy, or ego limit your potential? You have an amazing story to share.
When you steal you miss out on good advice.
Think of it this way.
Your fave’s brand is like brownies. If you steal 2 brownies of their brownies, you have the two and just the two.
But if you ask your fave to share their brownies you may get offered the whole container. They may make some just for you. They may teach you how to make some. They may even buy you some when they go grocery shopping the next time.
Why settle for two brownies when you can get the tools, and systems, to make a batch of brownies you’re proud of? Why settle for the two when you can ask for more?
Why limit yourself when you deserve more?