Lifestyle Magazine

Hey Copycat

By Linsibrownson @CleverSpark

Called me paranoid, but lately it seems like a lot of “gurus” I follow are getting all bent out of shape about people copying them.

At first is was just dropping hints on Twitter, or writing a blog post about authenticity.Then came the callouts – like one Facebook conversation where someone was complaining about “all these people” trying to rip them off.  The response?  Many fans rushed to the aid, quoting phrases like “imitation is the greatest form of flattery” and the big smooch-a-roo “nobody could be as super duper awesome as you!”My response?

“Get the F down off your high horse.”

Look, copycat ‘ing ain’t cool.  Nobody thinks it is.hey copycatBut whining about the people who made you famous by, umm, following you

That’s not cool either.

We are now working in unprecedented times.  Suddenly it’s not only okay to be ourselves in front of our clients, it’s essential.  In that regard, the discussion of authenticity is totally valid.  You simply cannot make your mark by behaving like someone else.Here we go again with that buzzword: Authenticity.  I’m sick of it, aren’t you?


The people who are worried about others copying them need to take a chill pill.  If they are truly being their authentic selves then they should feel pretty damn comfortable in knowing that nobody is gonna get rich off of impersonating them.


Comfortable enough to let it go.

Because you can’t actually teach someone how to be themselves and you can’t berate them into it either; the best thing you can do is allow people to test out what appeals to them, and learn for themselves what works and what doesn’t.  This is essential to any journey – and isn’t that what this whole “life” thing is about?So subtly or blatantly telling your fans to get their own life is not helpful.  It’s snarky. 


And I would ask anyone who has this complaint a few simple questions:How did you learn what you know?A. From experience. From reading lots of books (i.e., adopting someone else’s philosophy). From previous jobs (where your boss and coworkers trained you on what to do and how to behave). From reflection (combining your experiences, examining your values and deciding what resonates with you). From TESTING things out.


Nobody is doing anything truly groundbreaking right now.  Don’t get me wrong, I have absolute admiration for a lot of our modern day “gurus.”  There is extreme value in being able to interpret and articulate old (sometimes ancient) philosophies in a way that impact people in our world today.  I don’t mean to diminish that at all.  But it’s still the same bottom line.


How did you get to be successful?A. You were able to build a tribe who wanted and needed your interpretation of these ideas.  And they probably find you attractive.  You are respected for your ability to demonstrate, inspire and teach people how to achieve ‘x’ (success, wealth, happiness…whatever you are selling). So being upset when people get good at it – not acceptable.


Here are the cliffs-notes to my rant: If someone who is starting out decides to ‘copy’ something you deem yours – a website layout or typeface, business model, ebook concept…then you are doing your job.  As they continue their journey, widen their scope and then narrow it – everything will shift into place and will look nothing like how it began.  And either will yours.  Because the journey doesn’t end until you do.

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