Yet again I found myself feeling like I was being copied. This happens often because, let’s be real, everything I do isn’t entirely breaking new ground so there’s a lot of us around that are all doing variations of exactly the same thing.
But occasionally I’ll pick up on too many similarities from people within my networks doing exactly what I’ve done, almost immediately after I do it. And boy do I get mad. I rant, rave, stomp, get cranky – all the usual ingredient of throwing a tantrum to rival that of my almost-threenager’s.
I project the anger towards this other person because afterall, it’s all their fault right?
Why can’t they find their own content and come up with their own ideas? I’ll ponder the idea of sending a sternly worded email calling them out on their icky behaviour, and my cursor will hover over the unfriend button. Sometimes I’ll even consider banning them from my page completely.
Often, I’ll even find myself ranting and raving about copycat behaviour from ideas that I’ve had, but haven’t even acted on! As if by some miracle, those ‘copycats’ have read my private notes and overheard my internal brainstorming sessions. Then armed with my new great idea, they’ve beat me to it.
I’ll send screenshots to friends in the hope that they’ll match my anger at this copycat behaviour. I’ll spend far too long talking about the injustice of it all.
Basically, I’ll act like a total dick.
Yep. I’ve been in this exact same place enough times to recognise the signs that this isn’t about them at all. Not in the slightest. This is all me.
I’m being triggered. Oh boy.
So why does the idea of being copied trigger me so much? Usually it comes from a place of pure jealousy – because their way of delivering the exact concept that I just have is better, or at least that’s how I see it. And of course from jealousy comes all those great feelings that I’ve had a love/hate relationship with for most of my life.
Lack of Confidence
And finally, the fear of becoming irrelevant.
You see, I’ve tried hard over the past few years to carve out my own little space in this crazy world of online communities. And when I think someone is trying to muscle in on my space and ‘do better’ than me, well I start barking like a little yappy chihuahua defending it’s owner’s favourite chair.
I start straying from my own path and completely stop focusing on what I’m doing, and become immersed into finding out what my so-called copycat is up to (because they are obviously up to something right? Yeah, let’s add paranoia to that list above)
I’ve always strived to keep ahead of the curve.
And so the idea of having someone swoop in, take what I’m doing, and build something better fills me with absolute terror. Why? Because where will that leave me? I’ll be that chick who used to run a cool blog but now barely registers on anyone’s radar.
When I’m in these moments of anger, I fail to see the big picture. And that is competition is necessary for growth. Whether their content was taken from mine or not doesn’t matter. When I really strip it back, chances are my own content came from someone else – afterall there’s no such thing as a completely original thought. We are all inspired by someone, somewhere, or something.
Instead of being consumed by anger, I need to remind myself to take these moments and use them to grow.
What is it about their content in particular that makes me mad? It could be that their content highlights where I believe I’m slipping – whether that be simply that they’ve paired the content with a far better graphic, or something more complex where they’ve received better engagement than I have.
The times I’m irrationally angry at those doing things that I have thought about doing isn’t actually me being angry towards them. Rather I’m angry at myself for waiting. For procrastinating as usual and missing the chance to ‘be first’. Oh, how I love to be first.
While I’m busy spending time throwing the tantrums, it’s time taken away from learning how I can be better at being ME. And it’s also redirecting my focus – I’m projecting outwards, rather than looking at my own content.
While I’m having a sook that ‘everyone is doing the same’, I’m forgetting to look forward towards what I should be doing next. Identifying the WHY behind the triggers and catching them before I do anything ridiculous like sending that sternly worded email, I am able to come back down to earth and refocus on what I’m doing.
And once I calm down and realise it is me making the drama, the content that I was convinced was copying mine all of a sudden seems so different.
Then there is the triggering that happens when I’m threatened by the content AND the person themselves. Oh yeah, isn’t that a fun feeling of total and complete jealousy. The other person could be the nicest person in the world, hell they could even be a friend, but when the green eyes (& paranoia!) come out none of that matters. All of a sudden they are now my rival and they are obviously out to get me…
*insert eye roll here. Yes, even I know how ridiculous this sounds – but tell me you haven’t been here too, right?
Being in the online business world means I come across all sorts of people.
And some of them I find extremely threatening to my own online presence. Again this isn’t about them, but 110% about me. They highlight every possible insecurity I have and that old Imposter Syndrome kicks into high gear.
Their background isn’t like mine. While I was having babies and getting divorced, they were completing a Uni degree or marrying a wealthy man. The days while I’m at home with snotty kids and baskets of laundry, they are rubbing shoulders with important people wearing high heels and makeup.
They are them, I am me.
Ahhh, self reflection. It’s a marvellous thing.