Dealing with copycats can be frustrating in our hyper connected world. I have had more than my share of copycats in my work and they come in all forms. The funny thing is to witness how someone might copy a tool I use or try and match appearances, but this can fall short. You still have to use tools, systems and approaches strategically. That’s the ingredient that can become hard to copy.
For me, I look at other people’s laziness and scheming as a challenge to always raise the bar of my own performance. I cannot control what people will do. I do have choices in how I will interact or do business with those that seek to undermine, steal or behave badly. That’s a good thing.
The better way to focus my energy is to channel the emotions towards continual discovery on what I offer and how I do things. Raising the bar so high that the hard work or price becomes an obstacle is a great deterrent for those that have the laziness bug.
I guess my preference, if I were to articulate it, would be for someone to approach me and either let me know what they are attempting before copying out of courtesy or hire me to help them get there. It’s much more equitable and above board. But it’s also rare.
Thus, raising the bar is my only recourse to handle the situation. I like the challenge. It keeps me growing and spurs me on to become the best I can be.
Putting in the Work to be Out of Reach
I remember days when I used to train for my cross-country racing. I would put in extra miles and spend more time in the weight room to get stronger. I was always looking for an edge and would push myself to find out what I could do. The results would show over time. Guys that only did the minimum started falling behind. Sure, they could finish races, but where we placed relevant to each other correlated to the work we put in over time.
I learned that concept early. There’s a lot to be said for perseverance and pushing towards goals. I also realized that there’s competition on many fronts in life. The marketplace is no different.
The challenge is then to accept the fact that you can never rest on your laurels. What you know today will become obsolete or old shortly. The better mindset is to know that you can continually challenge yourself to learn new things and put them into action quickly. Every time you do this, you are not only bringing more value to your customers, but you are raising the bar on your competitors. They would have to pay the same price over time.
So, have you ever been frustrated by copycats? What do you think it would mean for you to personally raise the bar continually?