THE BLOG

Don't Be a Copycat... Find Your Own Way

05/15/2015 01:21 pm ET | Updated May 15, 2016

We've all been in a situation where a sibling or maybe a friend chooses, for whatever reason, to copy you. It may be simply words, actions, or clothing choices, but when someone takes those things and acts as if they are their own, it can be pretty frustrating. What about copy cats in the professional realm? When someone takes someone else's ideas as their own, it becomes a much more heinous act. One that can destroy careers and relationships.

Shortcuts

Copycats look for shortcuts. They want the praise and reputation without all the hard work. Or perhaps they're insecure about what they can bring to the table and feel that relying on other people's work can give them the confidence they need. Whatever the reason people choose be a copycat, the effect of that decision can haunt you for the rest of your life. Just like when kids talk their parents into doing their homework for them. Sure, they were able to get a good grade on that one assignment, but in the end they fall short because they didn't do the work in order to retain the information.

Trust

Trust is important in any work environment. Employers trust their employees to do their own work. When a company's reputation is on the line there is no room for having copycats in the workplace. Depending on the field you're in, all it can take it copying one small idea or even a phrase to land you or the company you work for in a lawsuit. Employees that have earned a reputation of being copycats are often seen as lazy or that they have a lack of initiative. Some employers may avoid giving these people important tasks, things that require unique ideas, or even promotions. Other employers may not tolerate copycats at all, feeling that the risk is too great to keep them on staff.

Inspiration Vs. Stealing

Hopefully, most of us know the difference between using someone else's work as inspiration and directly copying them. Whatever your field is in, there are certain to be thousands of resources for information. Millions of ideas and concepts are out there for us to question and learn from. In fact, some might argue that there isn't anything else to discover, we've done it all. So then, in fact, we're all copy cats of someone in the past. I dont agree. We all have our own experiences and character traits which make us unique to one another. This means that we bring with us own understanding of what and how something works. When you're truly invested into something, you can't help but put more than just a little bit of yourself into it. When someone just simply copies another's work not only are they stealing someone's time and effort, but they are also stealing an opportunity to challenge themselves and grow.

Find Your Own Way

Some folks may not think they're being a copycat because they aren't blatantly copying someone's work. Instead, they are copying a person's actions. We can all be guilty of this, we see someone who is successful and think that maybe if I do everything that they've done, I can be just like them. It never works that way though. There is no formula for success, we have to go through our own mistakes and learn the hard lessons needed to be able to find it.