When you get started with any activity you start by emulating those who are better than you.

This process starts in childhood. Maybe it was watching your dad shave and then standing beside him shaving, even though you had no actual need to shave.

Maybe it was doing your hair like that person you looked up to.

You imitated that person so you could be more closely identified with them.

But thankfully, most of didn’t stop there.

BBQ’s and Police

Back in high school I was not the nicest person. Actually, that’s a stretch. It’s a combination of luck and …well, just luck that I didn’t end up in jail for some of the things I did.

One time some friends and I stole a barbecue grill from the backyard of a house near the school, and we started bringing raw burgers to school so we could have a barbecue in the forest (next to our huge lunch fire). This is a very tame example of the stupid I did, by the way. I was actually the person that jumped the fence to get the grill after someone else joked about it.

At that point I was trying to imitate the ‘bad kids’ during the process of defining who I was. If I had stopped imitating people at that stage of my life, then I certainly would have ended up on a much different path than the one I’m currently on.

Luckily I didn’t stop there. I ended up analyzing the path I was heading down and realized it didn’t match with the picture I wanted to create of myself.

[Tweet “I’m lucky I didn’t stop at imitating the ‘bad kids’ in high school.”]

Don’t Stop

When I started blogging I found a bunch of people I thought were good writers and I more or less copied their style.

But I didn’t stop there.

When I needed a good client on-boarding process I found a good one and starting using it.

But I didn’t stop there, I refined it to fit with my business.

I hope you don’t stop either. Don’t just take what I say or do and use it blindly. Refine it and come up with something that’s a better fit for you and your business.

[Tweet “Don’t just do what I say, own it for your business.”]

If you just stop as a copy of me you can really only expect to be as successful as me. While that may look like a worthy goal, I think you should be more successful than I am.

That means you need to refine things and make them your own. You’re even going to need to try some new things just for yourself to see if they work better than what I do.

Don’t just stop as a copy of the people you look up to. Run your own business and forge your own path.

photo credit: curtismchale cc