If you read enough self-help books, they all start to sound the same.

One of their common refrains is find out what other successful people are doing then copy them. The rationale is—rather than reinvent the wheel, you can simply take other people’s successful ideas, implement them yourself, and viola, success is within your grasp. That is partly true. There are indeed common success attributes that you should follow in your business and they can save you time and money and lead to growth and profitability.   

However…if all you do is mimic other people’s activities, you will end up as a second-rate copy of someone else instead of a first-class version of yourself.

Embracing Principles

This point was driven home to me back in late 2001. Back then, I had just partnered with Ron Carson to build a financial advisor coaching program at Peak Advisor Alliance. Ron was scheduled to speak in Chicago to a large group of financial advisors and share his story about how he went from cold-calling out of his dorm room in 1983 to a $6 million producer in 2001. Ron flew his plane to Chicago from Omaha while I flew commercial. About an hour before his talk, my hotel room phone rang. 

Hey Steve, this is Ron. I have some good news and bad news. The good news is I’m alive. The bad news is, I hit bad weather and had to land the plane in Dubuque. You’re going to have to deliver my presentation.

As a speaker, few things are worse than giving somebody else’s presentation. However, having heard Ron deliver this particular presentation a few times, I at least knew the material.

Standing in front of the audience an hour later, I was merely an actor delivering lines. These were his lines, his life story, and his experiences. While the attendees still received value, I was unable to deliver an authentic presentation that connected with the audience because I was merely mimicking another person.

David Hawkins, author of a very interesting book titled, Power vs. Force, summed it up nicely by writing:

To be a success, it’s necessary to embrace and operate from the principles that produce success, not just imitate the actions of successful people—for to really do what they do, it’s necessary to be like they are.

You can’t just simply take the ideas that I or anybody else share with you, implement them, and expect to see the same level of success that me, Ron Carson or any other coach has. Taking our ideas at face value and then implementing them is just scratching the surface; it’s not really knowing the idea. 

Like Hawkins says, it’s about embracing and operating from the principles that produce success. It’s about making a shift from knowing something intellectually in the head to embracing it in the heart.

If all I do is provide you with information and content in the form of an article, then I’ve fallen woefully short of what is possible. My larger goal is to help you along the path of your personal transformation.

Own It

When you attend a webinar or conference, hear a speaker, or read a practice management article, don’t say, “That sounds like a great idea, I’m going to give it a try.” Instead, take the idea and dissect it, turn it inside out, challenge it, and then determine if you really connect and resonate with it.

Can you take the idea and make it your own? Can you make it a part of your very fiber so you could stand up in front of an audience and share that idea with real conviction, enthusiasm, and authenticity? This is the level you need to reach in order to be truly successful with an idea. This is the level you need to reach in order to become a first-class version of yourself instead of a second-rate copy of somebody else. 

Everyone knows Elvis. Nobody knows the best Elvis impersonator. Be you.