In the process of having my website redesigned, Leah Tompkins (design + branding extraordinaire) and I were having a conversation about my desired aesthetic. I mentioned a friend of mine, saying that since I adore her so much and respect her work, I want to cultivate a very different look though we have similar tastes and color palettes.
Leah off handedly mentioned that typically designers receive the opposite request, hearing: Oh you know so-and-so’s site? Just like that.
This week I’ve been privy to multiple conversations between friends who have had their words, ideas, and images lifted off their sites – repurposed and claimed by someone else.
Though this is always deeply upsetting, it is also interesting to notice what is happening on an energetic level. People copy other people when they are frightened or disbelieving in their own ability to seek a solution of their own creation. People copy other people when they are believing the story that someone else has something that they need, when they believe that they cannot get there on their own.
There is a crisis of confidence happening in the entrepreneurial world.
There are many people that inspire me on the internet. I have taken (and hugely benefitted from) business coaching of every flavor. I feel constantly challenged and thrilled by the evolution of our online identities.
But, I am not into the fear. I am not into the idea that someone else knows you better than you do – that someone else can tell you how to best run your business online or that you will be successful if your website is a carbon copy of theirs.
Before I was an entrepreneur, I was a woman with a body image problem.
I thought that there was something deeply wrong with me, something that needed fixing. I believed, firmly, that I didn’t possess the tools to fix myself, and spent the first 20 years of my life buying the books, salivating over before and after photos, and listening to the words of experts.
What I desired was a body that was good, a body that was publicly acceptable, a body that I could love. What I told myself was that my body simply wasn’t right – that in order to be lovable, I had to transform into something that I wasn’t.
I gave all of my power away.
I didn’t totally understand that until I became an entrepreneur, when, in the early years, I found myself brimming with fear and uncertainty and (again, again, again) the feeling that I needed what someone else had. So, I hired the coaches. I did the programs. I took notes. I implemented.
I put my opt-in box in the right place. I made my mailing list. I developed my offerings. I tried to charge what I was worth. I stopped writing with my heart leading the way and tried to develop an editorial calendar.
(Side note: Your inherent worth is limitless. It is impossible to charge what you’re worth – there is no price tag big enough to encompass all of your loveliness.)
I got further and further away from myself. And, though my business was “working”, I was suffering.
I felt lost, confused, and as though I was an employee chained to a desk in my own business.
Because, yet once again, I had told myself that I needed to become someone else in order to be successful.
Once again, I was comparing my insides to someone else’s outsides, as I scoured the internet and poured over beautiful websites of confident, powerful women who showed up in the world the way that I wanted to.
What I wanted was the feeling of showing up in the world that way – not their perfectly styled website – but I told myself the story that I couldn’t show up confidently, powerfully until I had it all figured out the way that they had. Until I had paid my dues.
Here’s the hitch: it is great to be inspired by others – inspiration shows us what lights us up, points us in the direction of our own highest potential and vibration. But, telling ourselves that we have to be just like them is a lie that undermines our own particular brand of brilliance.
You have a lot to offer the world.
You are capable of a unique perspective that is all your own.
You are good, exactly as you are.
And, just like you don’t need someone else to fix your body – you don’t need someone else to fix your business, to teach you how to be YOU.
We need to stop chronically undervaluing our own opinion and privileging external validation over our own kindness and inner guidance.
We might benefit hugely from support to get our big ideas off of the ground, I know that I did. I loved receiving support, having a soft place to land or to work things out in the presence of another person, but that has a very different flavor than handing over your credit card in fear. Now, I mentor many heart-centered business owners as they build their own business. I think that we can hugely benefit from support in every area of our lives as we are learning and growing, allowing more of ourselves into the world around us.
But, that work has to be grounded in self-love, self-trust, and radical self-responsibility.
We have to remember that we are powerful enough to be an agent for our own desire, that our internal wisdom is brilliant.
We have to remember that we are good enough, already, at whatever stage we are in.
We need to remember that the answer isn’t in becoming someone else, but in becoming more of ourselves.
We need to remember the healing power giving ourselves permission to shine brilliantly, as we are.