February 28, 2016

How to avoid accidentally “copying” the people you admire.

sunday

Is there a powerful woman—an artist, an entrepreneur, or a blogger—that you seriously admire?

That’s a beautiful thing. It’s always fantastic to discover a “Shero” and look towards her for inspo. #SheroInspo (is that a hashtag? It should be.)

Let’s say your all-time favorite Shero is Beyoncé.

You love Beyoncé. You watch all of her videos. You “heart” every single one of her Instagram pics. You ask your hairstylist to mimic her flowing caramel waves. You own a “WOKE UP LIKE THIS” t-shirt and also your “I TWIRL ON THEM HATERS” sweatshirt, obvs. You’ve picked up a slight Houston drawl. You quote Queen Bey on your blog. You snap your fingers and declare #FLAWLESS whenever your friends step into the room.

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All of this is fine, until… it’s not.

It doesn’t happen intentionally, of course, but it is surprisingly easy to develop what I call “Creative Tunnel Vision.” 

Creative Tunnel Vision is what happens when you spend so much time watching, tracking, and studying one specific person that, eventually, that one person because your sole inspiration for everything.

Instead of being creatively inspired by Beyoncé and ‘80s punk rockers and Japanese street fashion and Buddhism and your favorite life coach and David Bowie, you’re just all about… Beyoncé. Beyoncé. Beyoncé. 24/7.

And when you’re “all about” just one person—just one source of inspiration—you can’t help it: you start to become a copycat. You might not to intend to do it. It just happens. Because you’ve got an overload of Bey on the brain. She’s all you can see. So she’s all that you know how to be.

The cure for Creative Tunnel Vision is very simple.

Expand your pool of inspiration. 

Start seeking inspo from new sources. 

Lots of sources. Not just one or two.

If there’s one Shero that you love, above all others? Maybe take a break from studying her. Seek inspiration from at least ten other places. Get out of your usual inspo-bubble.

It’s essential.

I am currently inspired by…

– Beyoncé (always and forever, but also…)

– Cookie Lyon from Empire

  • Malala, the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate
  • Elizabeth Warren, a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts

I also get inspired by TV shows, magazines, and blogs that have no direct connection with my profession (life coaching). Things like…

Downton Abbey

Scandal

O: the Oprah Magazine

AFAR

BUST

Humans of New York

I am also heavily inspired by experiences that unfold in my everyday life, like…

  • Experiences with my kids (hello, endless blog inspiration!)
  • Conversations with clients (my podcasts are often inspired by topics or questions that have come up repeatedly with my coaching clients)
  • Challenges that I face, fights, drama (my inspiration for my coaching program, MAKE A SCENE, was born from a brawl with a punk-ass teenage boy who was threatening his ex-girlfriend, right on the sidewalk in my neighborhood. I stepped in to intervene, the girl begged me not to “make a scene,” and the whole story inspired me to create a new program on women’s empowerment, self-leadership, and self-esteem.)
  • TRAVELING! OMG. Nothing brings fresh ideas into my brain like getting on a plane and experiencing a different landscape or way of life.

Am I inspired by my peers in the coaching and personal development world? Sure. Sometimes. People like Brooke Castillo, Marie Forleo, Danielle LaPorte, my personal mentor Martha Beck, and many others are powerful, successful, and fascinating. But honestly? I make an effort NOT to watch what they are doing too often—or too closely. I’ve learned that it’s very important to seek inspiration outside of your niche or industry.

Huddling inside your own industry can be dangerous, because when you do that, copycatting is inevitable.

Questions to percolate on in your journal—or around the dinner table tonight:

– Who and what inspires you right now? 

– Where do you seek inspiration for your writing, your business, your website, your personal style, and your life?

– Do you deal with Creative Tunnel Vision occasionally? (It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, yo—it just happens sometimes!). 

– Is it time to take a break from replying on one of your usual sources of inspiration and mix things up a bit?

If you do feel like you’re developing Creative Tunnel Vision, again, the cure is very simple:

Expand your inspiration-horizons.

Collect ideas from dozens of different sources—including at least some sources that reside outside of your industry.

Then add your own personal life stories into the mix. Your personal challenges. Your personal experiences. Your personal recollections and memories. Your truth. Your life.

And then? You can rest assured that you won’t be copycatting anybody else—nor will anybody else be able to copycat you.

(Not very successfully, anyway. They may try. But it just won’t fly. 😉

To your fabulous uniqueness, fleekness, freakness, creativity, and originality…

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PS. If you’d like to become a certified BARE method weight loss coach and learn how to help women to transform their bodies and lives, consider joining me for this. I’d love to certify you in my trademarked BARE methodology. Class begins on March 2nd. See you there!

XOXO,
Susan

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