I could NOT believe this was happening again!
But I heard it with my own ears. My homepage copy, read aloud on national TV during one of the biggest television moments of the year. All the effort, late nights and rewrites ... down the drain?
I'm sure you've been through some version of this yourself - the kind that ends with, "Wait! That was my idea!"
But even though we've all been through it, not everybody reacts the same. I used to react totally differently than I do now. And it's the reaction, not the story, that's worth talking about.
The Samsung Story
I'm cuddled up on the couch watching the Oscars with my favorite chocolates and my puppy Skye, when YouTube sensation Casey Neistat appears on my screen and begins speaking into the camera. It's a Samsung commercial about out-of-the-box creatives who are doing what they love on a shoestring budget, each in their own way.
There's something familiar about what he's saying.
Well, I tell myself, The Uncommon Way is all about getting your ideas out there, so of course that feels familiar. But for some reason, the hairs at the base of my neck are standing at attention. What's going on?
"When we're told that we can't, we all have the same answer...," Casey pauses for effect.
Suddenly it clicks. "NOOOOO*!!!" I scream, causing poor Skye to jump off the couch in a panic.
I know exactly what his next words will be. I know, because my homepage says the exact same thing.
Oh no he didn't!
But he did. That was MY tagline, MY message, guaranteed to resonate with my ideal customers...!
I'd used everything I'd learned during my years creating copy for fashion brands, together with every ounce of creativity and intuition that I could muster.
But now ... I definitely couldn't use it anymore. Now it was just some stale copy from a Samsung commercial.
Those thoughts swirled around my head for, oh, ten-ish minutes. And then I snapped out of it. Because here's the thing: I've been here before.
Domain names, business concepts, taglines ... I've been through it all.
The Eat, Pray, Love Story
Like the time I told my friend that I was going to quit my job and travel the world, and write a book about it. I had a wedding to attend in Italy, and after that I'd fulfill my dream of studying yoga in India, and of course I'd have to visit Bali....
My friend's expression turned from confusion to pity. "Wait. You haven't heard of Eat, Pray, Love, have you?"
Here's the thing. Back then, I used to let things like this squash my dreams.
I never went on that around-the-world adventure. And there are countless businesses I never launched.
I couldn't bear the thought of following in someone else's footsteps, of being unoriginal. And I definitely never thought I could profit from something that had already been done.
Flipping the Script
This is where a lot of people get tripped up. We fail to recognize that really, there are no new concepts under the sun, only new interpretations.
Even if something exists, OUR VERSION of it will never exist until we risk bringing it into the world. All it takes is the courage - and the humility - to do it.
Here's one of my favorite quotes from Marie Forleo on the subject: "Can you imagine if Bruno Mars said to himself, 'You know what? There're enough sexy guys that can sing and dance. Why even try?'"
Contrary to what we might like to believe, ideas are pretty fluid.
In fact, Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, wrote a book almost entirely on this subject.
It's called Big Magic, and I wish she had written it earlier so that I could've read it before cancelling my trip of a lifetime.
In it, she argues that ideas are autonomous, longing to be brought into the world, and if you don't act on them immediately they'll move on to another human to get the job done.
My personal belief is that there is such thing as a collective unconscious, and it goes beyond the instincts and archetypes that Carl Jung first suggested. It's where ideas float around waiting for someone that has the balls to make them happen.
That explains why more than one person can be working on the same thing at the same time. Why independent scientists on opposite sides of the globe end up winning the Nobel Prize for the same thing in the same year.
Back to that Samsung thing...
So really, that Samsung thing? It's a great sign, and maybe even a lucky break. Without it, you might not be reading this.
And it proves that I'm on to something. Somebody else agreed with "my" idea, and also thought it would make a splash.
Apparently throughout the world there's a strong, growing desire to look doubt squarely in the eye and simply say:
Here's to flipping your script,
P.S. If you're struggling to gin up the courage to make your idea happen, let’s hop on a call to see if it makes sense for us to work together. Get clear on the #1 thing dragging down your confidence and how to break its power over you, so you can stop thinking and start doing.
*Full disclosure: What I really shouted was decidedly more colorful than "no."