Ever had an idea stolen from you?

Imagine this. You are walking down the mall and you see Santa with a huge line up of children awaiting their chance to meet him. You feel excited, your entrepreneur brain starts tingling and you think ” I could do that”. You immediately drop your shopping bags, run up to Santa, rip off his beard, push him out of the chair and say ” I’m Santa now Biatch!”. You take all his elves, give them a pay cut, raise the price of a photo to fifty nine dollars with a gluten free cookie and break up with Mrs. Claus.

Its hard to imagine isn’t it? Why would you do this to Santa Claus? Events like these do happen and when it does, it feels like Santa has been screwed over!

Chances are in your life, you have had an idea stolen from you, a client taken from you, an employee quit to start something eerily similar. You’ve put your heart and soul into a project and it all turns sideways. You’ve been lied to, manipulated, backstabbed, heartbroken, let down….You feel anger, you say things you never thought could come out of your mouth.You feel like kid in The Exorcist and find ways to tie yourself to the bed before puke starts spewing out your mouth and the venom subsides.

It happens to everyone. Just last week I had an overly eager trivia player attend one of my trivia nights. I created my own concept back in 2002, and have been hosting a variation on the game for corporate events and pubs nights ever since. He picked my brain all night, ” Where do you get your questions”,          ” How much do you charge” ” How long are the rounds” ” Is that a push up bra”. My instincts were tingling (not a good tingle, like you just spotted George Clooney) and finally I told him if he wanted to book the game to please call me. He laughed took a breath and said ” No, I want to host my own”. A week later I saw a posting on Facebook for a trivia night and guess who it was?

Was I mad? Of course I was. Did I repeatedly check the post every hour for one week until my computer crashed? You bet I did. Did I want to show up at this pub in a disguise and heckle him until he broke down crying? No…. No I didn’t. The event was too far from my house and a new episode of Law and Order SVU was on.

Events like these happen all the time. You can’t escape it. Here are some tips that helped me cope and they may just work for you.

  1. You’ve done it too. Yep I’ve said it. It goes both ways people. We encounter people that inspire us. We have experiences that motivate us. We learn from everything we do and always aim to make the next one better. I’ll admit it. I’ve stolen ideas .I’ve watched productions and thought “That’s a great idea. I’m going to use that”.  I, of course, added my own spin on it but the idea did come from my brainchild. Before you begin pointing fingers, look within.

2. Take it as a compliment. Now this is a hard one especially if it has resulted in loss of income. I read Amy Poehler’s autobiography and she wrote about a common reaction from audience members when they watched her perform improvisation. Many times she would hear ” I could do that. I took drama in the tenth grade”. If you’re reading this and you’re an artist, I know you can relate. Instead of getting angry, schooling the audience member on the craft of acting, the decades of work it takes, the sacrifices, the insecurities, the rejection, how the learning cycle never ends…

Amy advised- Take it as a compliment. You make it look easy. 

Nobody wants something you’ve got if you made it look hard, like you struggled.

Making something look easy is a real gift. A true talent.That’s something to be proud of.

3. Change your perspective. If Santa got overtaken at the mall by a forty year old woman who hates gluten look at it from the other side. Maybe she got rejected by Santa as a child. Maybe she has always dreamed of working at the north pole. Maybe her home life sucks and she just wants to laugh.

As the author Timothy Ferris once said ” Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about”. Don’t take it personally. Don’t play the victim. Don’t eat the gluten free cookies. They are NOT  a healthier option.

4.  Get a contract. If this is a business transaction. Always and I repeat ALWAYS put something in writing. To add to that, take a deposit. Do not start anything unless a deposit has been paid.

Over the years, I’ve started projects without a contract in place and I have been screwed. In a few instances, I have done the pre-planning of events for potential clients, given them all the information, and then they have taken my work and done it themselves.

This is very common. Get a contract.

5. Handle it with class. In the heat of the moment, this takes willpower. You want to shame everyone that has harmed you. You want to call them names, and make them feel as bad as you do.

Many times in my life I have not handled things with class. As my friend John once told me ” Ally, you put the ASS in class”. I’m not proud of it. I have regrets. I wish I could go back and handle things differently. The only thing I can control is how I handle things from this day forward.

Name calling NEVER bodes well. You don’t want to burn any bridges. People want to do business and surround themselves with people that make them feel good. Like the saying ” Treat others how you want to be treated”.

If you handle things with class, things will always work out and you will be so proud of your reaction.

Thats my two cents! Now, leave Santa alone! He knows what he is doing.

Happy Friday Everyone! stolen ideas

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