Have you ever gone to write a blog or a social media post only to have something arrive in your inbox or see something on social media and it’s exactly what you were going to say?
Does that strike fear in you? Comparison in you? Do you feel less than, because, after all, somebody else has said your fabulous thing and if they’ve already said it then you can’t possibly say it.
Does it leave you feeling like an imposter because you didn’t think of it first? You didn’t say it first?
Do you go to that place of, “That person stole my intellectual property! Now they need to pay, and I feel so betrayed by my industry!”
This happened to me last week. I was speaking to a very close friend of mine and we often share each other’s content for feedback and advice before we put it out into the inter-webs. On exactly the same day, we shared with each other without knowing what the content subject was, almost exactly the same content.
Now, I serve clinicians and private practice – she doesn’t – but the message was so, so clear and the message was almost exactly the same.
I could have gone to this place of, “She’s been doing this longer than me, she’s got a bigger list than me, she’s better and more well known than me, people love her not me. They’re going to hear it from her and won’t want to hear it from me”. (OK let’s be honest, I did go there).
Then I thought, “Hang on a minute. If we’re saying the same thing, and we both know that what we recommend works, and if she has clients and I have clients, and if people engage with her, and then people engage with me, doesn’t that suggest that we KNOW what we are talking about?
Doesn’t that suggest we are actually right?!?
I decided I needed to find some more evidence, so I researched what other people in the online marketing industry are saying about how we effectively take our message to market. I started reading what people I trust in this space were recommending, and I realised that they were saying the same thing.
That what I’d come up with wasn’t unique, it wasn’t brand new. But what I had been able to do was help clinicians understand how we, in our uniqueness, can get good at taking our message to market without interrupting rapport with our clients, without breaching our ethics, and without undermining our professions.
What I discovered is that in many conversations I’ve had with clinicians over the last four or five years, is too many clinicians get scared when they see other people putting out very similar content to theirs. They fear that they will be accused of ripping them off, or they fear that they’re not good enough and go to that place of comparisonitis, because they’re concerned that every idea you put out has to be brand new and has to be original.
Let’s face it. It’s probably not going to happen! We’re going to run out of original ideas. Yes, you might come up with one amazing, original idea. But chances are you’re going to innovate someone else’s idea, and present it in your unique way, with your unique style, so that you can help the clients you are best able to serve.
This is not permission to blatantly plagiarise or rip someone else off. That’s not okay, and please don’t ever engage in that behaviour. You will get caught out if you decide to do that.
So then, what’s a more useful, resourceful way of dealing with this? Well instead of feeling like we’re an imposter, instead of feeling like we’re going to die from shame and comparisonitis, instead of feeling like the victim in, “Who stole my intellectual property?” What if we started acknowledging that others are contributing to this conversation?
Surely, if 4 people agree that the way to do something is the way we do something, surely that’s a conversation worth having. Surely, that is building on our knowledge of evidence-based practise to go, “Huh, it’s not just me who thinks this.”
Surely, we then don’t have to think, “Maybe I’m not good enough. Maybe I’m wrong. What if I am wrong? What if people find out I’m actually a fraud?”
Maybe we’re looking at this the entirely wrong way and we need to turn it upside down and find as many people as we can to share the credit with.
If we help clients get the right information, if we help them understand the right way to do something, if we end up helping, not hindering, if we are building up not tearing down, surely we are setting the example for our clients, for our profession, for the pre-credentialed clinicians coming through after us.
My challenge for you this week is: Who can you share credit with this week? Who can you write about in a blog post? Who can you write about in a social media post or in a video?
Who can you say, “This person and I think the same, therefore, we must be excellent and awesome?”
Have a go for your challenge this week and share with me what it is that you’ve written and how this has gone. Simply hit reply or tag me on the social media post. I would love to start this conversation with you.
Here’s to your success
PS: And many thanks to the awesome Nicola Moras who helped me confront this fear in me – again!