I see it happen over and over: A coach or expert sells “how they did it” or their process for achieving results. A business owner wanting to achieve the same results hires them to learn how they did it. The business owner learns tactics, uses the same tools, and applies the same strategy… yet they don’t achieve the same results. In many cases, they don’t even come close to achieving the same success. Why is that? Why can you do everything exactly the same and not enjoy the same success?
There is one major difference that wasn’t accounted for.
You are not them! The person, the expert, the history, the experience, the story, the brand, the positioning, the relationships — the person at the center of everything is different. So while you can use the same tools and the same strategy, and you can achieve the same results, you can’t just copy a cookie cutter formula. You must adjust your approach and customize it to fit you, your brand, and your business.
A perfect example of this can be found so simply in our annual camping activity: marshmallow sculpting
Every year while camping, we host a marshmallow sculpting activity. For months before the trip, we collect all different sizes, shapes, and colors of marshmallows, as well as different sizes, lengths, and styles of toothpicks and wooden skewers.
One night while camping, we spread all the “tools” out on the table, everyone creates sculptures out of marshmallow, and then they get thrown into the fire and we watch them burn into a gooey, growing marshmallow mountain.
- We all have the same tools
- We all have the same end game
- HOW we get there is different because of who we are, how we think, and what our past experiences are
When the kids were younger, they just wanted to copy my sculpture, and they would get frustrated when they didn’t think their was as good. I had to explain that their sculptures would never be as good as mine if they just copied me, because I have so much more experience. I encouraged them to use their own ideas or to take my idea and find a way to make it unique, better, or different
Bourn Creative participates in the local Sacramento WordPress meetup group and various WordCamps as attendees, speakers, and occasionally as a sponsor.
As I look around the room at these events, I see a variety of designers and developers, and consultants all building businesses with the same tool — WordPress. The same is true for the WordPress community worldwide. Many are building similar businesses, doing similar things, going after similar clients — but their brand, positioning, message, story, personality, expertise, and focus are different.
No one strategy is going to work for everyone. No one client is going to be the perfect fit for everyone. No tool will be used the exact same way by everyone who uses it — and that what makes a great community. I think that’s why the community around WordPress has grown so strong so quickly. We all have something in common — the tool. Yet, we’re all putting our own spin on how we use it and what we do with it.
I think the thing I am most proud of as a member of the WordPress community is that many members are givers and sharers — they are willing to share share their strategies, insights, lessons learned, and expertise to help others in the community.
Don’t keep all your “secrets” to yourself because you’re afraid someone will copy you or steal your idea.
The reality is that they are not you, so even if they did, the results wouldn’t be the same.
I encourage you to seek out others who do what you do, but do it differently. Share your knowledge and learn from theirs. Or look around your community and see where you can share, give, and help — It may be by volunteering at a meetup, speaking to a group, or writing a blog post.
All I ask is that you participate. Join a community — not as a lurker and absorber, but as a giver and a helper. You will grow as person and as a expert, and your community as a whole will be enriched. And who knows, maybe you’ll inspire someone else to get involved and share their expertise too.