But That Was *MY* Idea!

by : Kimberly Stevens

Did you ever have a great idea, then watch someone steal it right out from under you?

Somehow, in the middle of the night perhaps, they snuck into your house, opened up your brain, and stole your brilliant plan. You were destined for riches before your brain invasion. Now, you’re left to sludge through the rest of your mediocre life.

‘It’s not fair!’ you might whine to your friends or spouse. ‘That was MY idea, and now he went off and did it! I came up with that idea five years ago! It should be *me* on Good Morning America! It should be *me* pulling in the big money! I should be smiling from ear-to-ear as the reporter interviews me!’

When I walked into Gold’s Gym last Tuesday, I came face-to-face with the idea snatchers in the form of a small refrigerator full of apples. The sticker on the front said ‘3-Apple-a-Day Plan.’ After reading through the flyer on the table, I learned that this innovative nutritionist had created a special diet plan – eat one apple before every meal to lose weight and get more lean. ‘Hey, wait a minute,’ I thought. ‘That was MY idea!’

I came up with that idea 17 years ago, not that I ever actually tried it, mind you, but it was still *my* idea. And, now, here’s this *nutritionist* claiming to be *innovative*. I never really planned to do anything with my apple-eating plan, but this incident predicted events of the week to come.

The following night, I hosted the monthly Mentors Meet where a group of my friends, and fellow business owners, have dinner and talk about what’s happening in our businesses - the good, the bad, and the ‘I could really use your advice’ kind of things.

After listening to a couple of us gush about how we’ve finally started to hit our post-baby stride, it was Jessica’s turn.

‘You’ll have to excuse me if I start getting emotional,’ she began. ‘You all know about my idea to - (sorry, I can’t disclose it because I’m still hoping she’ll do it). ‘Well, I was watching Good Morning America the other morning, and this guy was on there promoting this new book about the exact same thing I was going to do!’ ‘I had this idea three years ago and didn’t move on it, and now I’ve lost it. He did it first.’

By this point, she was getting emotional. ‘If I had only jumped on it when I first came up with it, but I was too busy trying to keep my business going, so I just focused all of my energy on that. But there’s nothing I can do now. It’s gone.’

For a moment, we just shook our heads in understanding. We all knew what it felt like to have our brilliance shine through only to discover that one, if not several, people before us had already experienced that same brilliance and done something about it. It can be very disheartening and, in most cases, can cause you to give up on your idea altogether.

But, here’s the thing. There is truly very little original thought. Innovation isn’t necessarily creating something brand new. It’s taking what already exists and putting it together in a new way.

I’m currently wrapping up *The Profitable Business Owner – Book Two: Marketing Your Services* (to be released on February 17). How many marketing books do you think are already out there – hundreds? thousands? So why am I investing so much time and effort to do what’s already been done?

Because I’m taking what’s already out there and presenting it in a new way. I’m adding in my experiences and those of my clients. I’m creating a systematic process that is a lot easier and a lot more practical to implement than a big bunch of theories. You won’t just read my ebooks – you’ll work them.

But, the biggest reason I’m doing it, even when faced with many others who have walked before me, is that I’ve seen what’s out there, and I think my way works better. And, what’s more – it’s where my passion lies.

That last part is key. Like my 3 apples/day idea, if you don’t feel any passion behind it, the loss of it doesn’t really hurt – who cares that someone came up with same idea and did something with it? Not me. After reading the flyer, I went on with my day.

But when your passion gets involved, you care. Jessica felt *scooped*, and her first instinct was to assume she had missed her only opportunity for greatness. At 36, she felt washed up.

Of course, that’s not where we left it. Even though this guy had written a book about a similar topic, Jessica’s idea was different. She planned to do a television show and having worked in the industry, she has the connections to get it done.

After some period of consoling, we landed back on passion. If she didn’t feel great passion for this idea, or if the excitement she had initially felt for it had worn off, she should just let it go. But, if she believed that this was what she was meant to do for this portion of her life, she should go for it.

After all, if anything, this guy’s book just helped create the market for her television show. Sometimes what seems to be competition really isn’t. Even during the recent reign of Starbucks, with one seemingly opening on every corner, the number of independent coffee houses throughout the U.S. has continued to increase. Starbucks created more coffee drinkers – that positively impacted the whole industry.

So, do you have an idea you’ve been sitting on? Or, do you feel like you’ve been *scooped* – that someone has *stolen* your great idea? Ask yourself – is this really the *one*? Is it really what you want to spend the next decade doing? If you don’t give it a shot, will you regret it for the rest of your life?

If so, get going! Run with it before someone else does! Start this week! No regrets!