They say that imitation is a form of flattery. Hmmm well to those who spend many moments imitating me I would say, “look close then do what I do…you own thing, and be unique doing it.” There is a difference between looking at someone we admire and modeling their behavior that led to their success or their sense of confidence- but it is quite another thing when we begin to assume their identity on some level; when we start dressing like them, acting like them, speaking like them, assuming positions and roles identical or similar to theirs, picking up their hobbies and so on and so forth.
You lose yourself when you’re busy trying to be like someone else. Soon you will grow to hate yourself (more) and ironically (and subconsciously)…the very person you imitate.
The same is true in competition. You should be concerned with what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. Your biggest competition is yourself so stop looking around you and start looking within. Live your life purposely not reactionary. Don’t do something because you see me doing it and you think it will make you look better or smarter. Sometimes the things that others do that seem so effortless are the very things that you will fail at repeatedly as you discover that it takes great effort, hard work, and a diligent thought process- they just make it look easy.
Look at how much time you wasted trying to outdo or be like someone else when you could have ran your own race, took care of your own needs, and found your own ‘self’- by your own set of rules.
I write because it is a God-given gift, because it makes me feel good and is my way of releasing and letting go. Just like music, I have loved writing and the written word since I was a small child. I began reading at the age of two, and words and books have been a major part of my life since. I was editor of my high school paper, wrote for the city paper and the Los Angeles Times, and found a way to continue writing in other environments since.
There will never be a point in my life where I look at a piece of paper and pen, my laptop, or any other instrument that I can use to express myself and say, “I’m through with this nonsense“- I can confidently say that until I take my last breath I will be a writer, and I will share my work with the world. I say that to say, my passion may not be yours- so why imitate me?
My other passions are music, business, fitness, education, working with the under-served and underrepresented, and working with women and children who struggle for the right for self-empowerment and self-sufficiency. All the days of my life I hope to be blessed enough to continue working for and within these areas that bring me such joy and completeness. I would not consider stretching my arms into other realms because in my heart I believe that I am where I am supposed to be and doing what I was called to do…not imitating someone else!
If people stuck to what they do best and did it consistently every day they would be the most successful person in that area. Instead, people start hop-scotching into other areas that they are only vaguely familiar with- or out of envy they pursue because they see someone else succeeding at it- then they scratch their head and kick the dirt in frustration when they are mediocre in the same role.
Follow your passion not your ego.
Follow your gift not your greed.
Look at your clock not over the shoulder of someone else.
Live with passion not out of fear.
Be you and not the cheap knock-off of someone else.
I am pleased and humbled when people tell me and say to others, “Natasha is one-of-a-kind. I have never met anyone like her…” that is a major compliment because I have lived my life doing what feels right in my gut and what comes as natural as blinking my eyes. I have spent my life always as a leader- not a follower. I have made choices in life not because it was the popular thing to do, or the easiest. I chose the most rugged paths because I wanted to do something other people weren’t considering. I choose to look deeper than others because people are comfortable with surface-level results.
I dress in what feels comfortable and flatters my body- not what the industry says is ‘in’. I listen to music that moves my soul, not to what the industry says is ‘hot’. I read what makes me think, ask questions, and desire more- not what the industry says is a ‘must read’. I’m attracted to the kind of man that makes my toes curl for both obvious and not-so-obvious reasons, not just what the status quo calls ‘hot and sexy’. I write what I think, what I feel, what I see, what I know, what I want to know, and I could care less what the industry or powers-that-be would say to the contrary.
I have mentors but no idols. I mentor women and young girls- but I don’t want them to be just like me. I worship one God and follow the examples of His son, yet I embrace my fellow brothers and sisters of different faiths regardless of our differences because I know that we are more alike than not. So at the end of the day I look within myself to motivate, push, and compete with- not at the next woman…or man. There’s me, myself, and I…and that’s a lot to handle for one person, and I don’t have the time, inclination, or low self-esteem to be concerned with what another person is or isn’t doing.
So I say to those who would imitate me or others…do your own thing and be unique doing it!
Natasha L. Foreman, MBA
Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.