This past week, I got to hang out with one of my good friends from Atlanta.
Thursday night at dinner, I was sharing with her that one of the reasons I’m so picky about friends and getting close to people is that it’s very difficult to find women who can be “inspired” by you without flat out trying to “be” you or use their influence to try and manipulate you.
It has also proven (for me) to be equally as hard to feel empowered to be myself 100% and not feel like someone else has a desire to compete with me.
When I personally make new friends, I’m specifically looking for NONE of these red flags to be present in the relationship or, to be honest, I run for the hills.
I learn what I can from that person and the experience, but I move forward.
On the flip side, I feel a responsibility and calling to HELP women who feel they need to compete, imitate, or copy what someone else is wearing, posting, doing, etc., to be totally 100% themselves and be comfortable in their own skin.
In a world of human beings, where women essentially hold a lot of the power to make and create change, I began to wonder why we’re opting instead to resist the power to create change in some ways by resorting to such competitive vibes and squandering of our own personal influence.
In my humble opinion, any woman over the age of 25 should be intimately knowledgeable about what she’s about, what makes her tick, what she looks for in relationships, what she does and doesn’t value, and what her spiritual position & belief system is.
One of the reasons I haven’t launched the In My Skin program yet is because I’m learning and listening that this is often not the case. I haven’t felt like the program as I originally set out to create it is going to cut it.
There’s more that we need to address in the program that I didn’t originally anticipate or know was a struggle.
Today, we’re just going to talk through the difference in inspiration and imitation – they’re two different things.
First, let’s cancel out some myths by correctly defining what “being inspired” is and how that’s different from imitation.
Here’s some examples of being inspired, as it were:
- Someone else starts a blog and it inspires me to start my own
- One of my girlfriends starts her own business and it inspires me to start my own
- A friend is killin’ it with her services & programs, and I hang up the phone feeling like I’ve been lazy and I need to get on my game!
- A style blogger posts and outfit I think is SICK, and I go purchase the outfit or something from it
- A friend has started volunteering and giving more of herself and her time to those less fortunate & it inspires me to do and give more than I usually do to outside entities or organizations
- I’m inspired by a technologically-savvy girlfriend who knows all the latest & greatest tools & I want to deeply up my game in my work, so I ask her what those tools are and to help me set it up
Those are fantastic examples of inspiration. Inspiration begets respect, responsibility, and creates change. That’s how you’ll recognize it!
Imitation – inspiration’s counterpart – is an entirely different thing.
Here’s some examples of imitation and how it looks:
- Someone does x, y, and z on a new page on their website – I go do exactly the same thing on a page on mine
- A woman I admire posts a phrase and photo on Instagram – I do my best to copy not only the wording but a similar photo
- I start wearing my hair a certain way because I want the attention another woman gets from someone else to be on me instead
- I try to copy someone else’s business model without even giving thought or attention to if that model even serves my customers or how I want to work every day
- My writing voice imitates someone else’s writing voice, not my own
- I use someone else’s vocabulary and personal slang, when it’s not even words I would use in my own daily language or with my own friends.
Whereas inspiration begets respect, responsibility, and creates change, imitation is disrespectful, is often times led by fear/insecurity, and is a blatant admission by a person that he/she doesn’t trust their own ideas.
Here are some things you can do to stay original:
- For business, ALWAYS look outside your industry! ALWAYS. Don’t look horizontally or even in the general sphere – go completely outside of it. i.e. different industries altogether
- For style, wear what you feel comfortable in, plain & simple – then look for people you don’t know who have a similar style to see how you can ramp it up some.
- For ideas, look at modes of entertainment outside of social media – don’t look at someone else’s FB page, Instagram, etc.! Look at documentaries, movies, movie titles, Netflix, music lyrics, restaurants, billboards, etc.
- For language, look to music lyrics, movie scripts, etc.
1. I think this covers a lot of areas, but I’d love to hear from you if there’s anything you can offer me or our readers here that I might’ve missed that will help the copying tendency stop.
2. Then, I’m issuing you a challenge – make a list of your network and list out a few high-level ways that person/brand is very individual and genuine in what they do.
Thank you for reading, listening, & being a part of my life!
Photography by Michelle Du Xuan