I love this quote about imitation from Austin Kleon’s Steal Like an Artist:

“In the beginning, we learn by pretending to be our heroes.”

I felt a little stuck when I decided to restart this blog. I knew I wanted to share my thoughts with the world but didn’t know exactly how. Should I use WordPress or Medium or LinkedIn? What should I write about? Lots of questions.

I knew I really liked Garth Beyer’s blog, Stay Positive. He posts every day. His posts are short, sweet, to the point, and almost always inspire me. It’s obvious he’s not a slave to search engine optimization, which surely helps him hit the publish button every day.

His blog reminds me of Seth Godin’s, who also posts every day, doesn’t pay attention to SEO, and keeps most of his posts short and sweet. Seth takes his simplicity even further, though, rarely incorporating an image into his posts and disabling comments. He has something to say and says it without any regard for the metrics, trusting his words will resonate with someone.

Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery

So, to get started, I decided to steal from Garth. You may notice my blog uses the same theme as his. I liked the look of his blog and spent hours trying to find a theme with a similar layout. I didn’t like anything I found and decided I’d just use the same one. Why not?

He also pulls all the images for his posts from Unsplash. I like his images, so I’m doing the same.

It’s not enough, however, to steal the look of Garth’s blog. As Austin Kleon said:

“Don’t just steal the style, steal the thinking behind the style. You don’t want to look like your heroes, you want to see like your heroes.”

I need to get better at imitating Garth’s efficiency with words. I like words. Lots of them. And my SEO plugin keeps telling me my posts should have over 300 words. And an image. Ugh.

Maybe I should just disable the plugin.

But how will people find my blog if it isn’t optimized for the search engines?

You see? I’m not very good at this imitation thing. Yet.

Photo by Štefan Štefančík

Accidental Inspiration



I just got the nicest note from a colleague regarding my post about Loyalty. He said: “You always tend to inspire me to take more action and to improve my self-discipline.” What a great way to start my day, knowing I was an inspiration for someone else.

I’ve heard this a few times during the last 18 months of making positive changes in my life.

When I spent a year losing 40 pounds, a few people told me I inspired them.

Then I spent eight weeks turning myself into a morning person who gets up at 4:30 a.m. and a few more people said I inspired them.

Then I decided to quit drinking alcohol 24 days ago and, you guessed it, more inspired people.

Inspiration for Others

Here’s the thing. I haven’t done any of these things to inspire anyone else. I’ve done all of them for me, and the inspiration is just a byproduct.

Don’t get me wrong. I love being an inspiration to others. Making positive changes is rewarding, and knowing you might inspire others to do the same adds even more motivation to succeed.

Most of the time, when I start working on a big change, I tell others about it so they can help hold me accountable.

Sometimes people just notice, like my colleague Stuart.

Work every day on being the best version of yourself. You might inspire someone else to follow your example.

Photo by Thought Catalog