I have written before about the philosophy that there has likely not been an original idea for about 200 years. We all take information, which already exists, and repackage and retool that information to make it applicable to our industry and our audience. Yet, I still hear trainers say, “He / She stole my stuff.”
Lets be clear. If you are actually using another trainer’s PowerPoint / Keynote slides without their permission, there is a problem. If you are taking someone else’s work and claiming it to be your own, there is a problem. If you are taking someone else’s article or blog post, putting your name on it and publishing it as your original work, there is a problem. If you are taking another trainer’s signature stories and using them in your presentation, there is a problem. If you are using another trainer’s tagline in your course title, there is a problem. This is not what I am talking about. You need to develop your own presentations, create your own titles and tagline and develop your own signature stories.
As trainers we teach the same subjects: leadership, communication, use of force, ethics, mindset, the Warrior Spirit, integrity, etc. In those presentations we often reference the same sources such as the Force Science institute, Carol Dweck’s work on Fixed and Growth Mindset, Anders Ericsson’s work on mastery, Simon Sinek’s work on the importance of starting with Why, the books Make it Stick by Peter Brown and How We Learn by Benedict Carey and many others. A number of us use the definitions of Courage and Bravery from Chip Huth and Jack Colwell and quotes from a variety of sources.
We all need to continue to draw on the work from these, and other leading experts and researchers. Make sure you give them the credit as the source and then explain how their work applies to your topic and your audience.
Seth Godin (who I cited in last week’s post talking about the three types of work we can do) has written 18 books, has the most read blog in the world with over 7,000 posts reminds us in his blog post The pre-steal panic, and why it doesn’t matter:
“No one expects you to do something so original, so unique, so off the wall that it has never been conceived of before. In fact, if you do that, it’s extremely unlikely that you find the support you need to do much of anything with your idea.
Your ideas have all been stolen already.
So, now you can work to merely make things that are remarkable, delightful and important. You can focus on connection, on making a difference, on building whole solutions that matter.”
Go out and do Important Work. Continue to read and learn. Find ways to connect the dots from what you are reading and learning to what you are teaching. Give credit to the sources of your knowledge and inspiration. Continue to grow and serve.
In his blog post titled Where Did That Idea Come From, Nick Morgan put it this way:
“Originality is essential – originality of voice. And there is virtually nothing new under the sun. So give credit, find your voice, and keep faith with the human project. It’s not OK to steal ideas without giving credit. It is OK to take ideas, make them your own, put them in your own original voice, and honor your sources. In fact, it’s required.”
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