HELP!!! That's my idea!

If you've read Big Magic then you'll probably be familiar with the story she tells about her encounter with fellow writer, Anne Patchett. And if not, you'll probably want to stop reading this post, head to your nearest bookstore and bury yourself in it's amazing-ness ASAP. {Ps. This is your spoiler-alert}.

In her wisdom, Elizabeth Gilbert shares about the mystery and enchantment of how ideas come to us, and how they move on. Gilbert shares a story of what was going to be her next novel, but life happened and the idea left her. Years on, she meets Anne and almost the EXACT. SAME. STORY.

Now this idea of 'Multiple Discovery' isn't anything new. In fact, some of the greatest scientific theories and inventions have too felt the curse (or blessing) of multiple discovery, including the telephone!

In Big Magic, Liz shares this beautiful quote from Hungarian Mathemetician Janos Bolyai (I hadn't heard of him either!);

"When the time is ripe for certain things, they appear at different places, in the manner of violets coming to light in the early morning."

Or in other words, when things are ready to happen, they're gonna happen  - you don't control that!!!

Liz also shares how ideas don't stick around forever. If you don't give it the attention it requires, it will find someone who does.

But what happens when you ARE ready to give it the attention it deserves? Hell you might even be working on it right now!

Sometimes, ideas come to us AND someone else at the same time and there's absolutely nothing we can do about it! But how do we deal with that when we're working on something, and someone beats us to the punch.

I don't have all the answers, but I do have my own story to share in the hope that if you're presented with a similar situation, you'll find some ideas of how to deal with it.

I was working in my flow, really happy in the things I was ticking off my list for the day, so to cure some 3-thirty-itis I flicked over to Facebook to find someone asking in a group about the exact big project I'd been playing with, working on and cultivating for months.

My gut dropped, I felt sick to my stomach and somehow without me noticing someone had been leading a herd of elephants and sat them right down on my tiny little heart. I was SHATTERED. 

This fellow lady boss had been in business for much longer than I have, has a steady stream of content and paid products that I don't doubt she's kicking butt at selling. Her facebook has over 1000 peeps, her Instagram is off-the-hook and no-doubt her newsletter list probably doubles every single day!!!

Oh HELLO Mrs. Comparisonitis, I didn't know I'd invited YOU over today!!!!

Here I was, head in my hands, tears pouring down my face with one solid stream of thoughts going around in my head.

NO ONE WILL EVER BUY YOUR PRODUCT.

This was of course coupled with thoughts like:

"Great, now EVERYONE will think that you copied her."

"You're just going to have to be the cheap and nasty version of her up-market, well-selling version."

"You're actually kinda shit at this whole thing - go get a real job!"

Been there???? If you've been business for any amount of time I bet you have!!!

I loved this project, I was enjoying working on it, thinking about it & dreaming about it! I'd been antsy to just launch it out into the world because I knew the world was ready for it, but had decided I needed to do my due-dilligence, conduct my market research etc. and this was how I was going to let it fizzle? Because someone else was creating something kinda similar!

Well this isn't good enough! This was not going to do. 

So I said goodbye to Mrs. Comparisonitis, and although she's still peering through the window at me, screaming her messages of 'you're not good enough' from behind a glass window, I'm moving on and choosing to see things a little different.

Here's how I'm going about it.

#1. Every experience of 'multiple discovery' or multiple light-bulb moments is just another opportunity to reach out for collaboration. Hey, you never know this might be the time you get to work with that designer that you've always admired Elle!!

#2. Believing I don't have to be any better or any worse than anyone else. I can just be me, and that's all I've got to do.

#3. Asking myself this: "Was it the end goal of launching the thing that was the main point? Or were you enjoying the process as well?" This is helping me to overcome those fears that the thing won't sell. Because if I'm enjoying the process of creating for creating's sake it doesn't MATTER if it sells!

#4. There is room for us all. I've always held this belief, and it's something I'll get on my soapbox about anytime a girlfriend, fellow lady boss of client tells me they shouldn't do something because someone else is doing something similar. So it's time I took a spoonful of my own medicine and drank it down! There IS room for us all, and by each of us shining we help others to shine!!

I'd love to leave you with this final quote by Liz Gilbert from Big Magic.

"Work with all your heart, because - I promise - if you show up for your work day after day after day after day, you just might get lucky enough some random morning to burst right into bloom."

And so that is what I'm off to do. Do the work.