Recently I watched a somewhat cheesy movie, Rockstar, where Mark Wahlburg plays an obsessed cover band singer who is impersonating a popular 80’s heavy metal band. Chris, the main character, takes his role so seriously that he learns everything he can about the lead singer – and completely imitates every facet of the guy’s life from his hair to his leather pants to how he sings.

Eventually his impersonation becomes a reality when Steel Dragon invites him to audition and take on the lead singer position. As cool as this sounds (I mean who wouldn’t want to spend a day in the life of their idol), Chris quickly loses himself into the decadence of the rocker band lifestyle.

One day, he wakes up and realizes he’s lost touch with who he really is, and instead has become a carbon copy of his idol, losing himself in the process. His dreams for being a successful singer in his own right are all but gone and he is now a mere imitation of what someone else considers successful. As Chris uncovers the truth about what really goes on behind the scenes, he becomes totally disillusioned; sabotages a performance and reconnects to his path again.

As I’m watching this movie I’m realizing how many people in my industry imitate their idols, creating a business and a life based on their idol’s values rather than their own, and ultimately crash and burn.

Imitation is a horrible business building strategy but one that is actively touted as “the way” to short-cut your path to success.

When you set out to follow the success of another person it’s easy to lose your way and create something that, a) you can’t sustain and b) you down-right hate.

I see it every day. Broke, frustrated, and disillusioned entrepreneurs who turn to me when the thousands of dollars they invested in learning someone else’s cookie-cutter system doesn’t pan out for them.

“What’s wrong with me?”

“Why does it work for them and not for me?”

“What am I missing?”

Imitating the success you THINK the other person has is a major problem.

I hate to break it you but most people in the spotlight keep up a facade. They show you the parts they think fit what you need to know to buy from them.
Even if they are being extraordinarily transparent then you have to assess the second level of imitation – do you truly know what their ENTIRE life is like?

When you follow another person’s path to success you will have to emulate every strategy, mindset and behavior they use to create – and sustain – their success.

When you imitate (and that’s what you are doing when you try to follow someone else’s journey to success) you need to know these two things:

1. Do you REALLY know what their life and business is like?
Most people who make more than six figures work a lot. When you take on a mentor and try to emulate their success, you actually take on their thinking, habits, strategies and decisions on an unconscious level.

Often entrepreneurs see the dollars and the accomplishment and think “I want that!”

But without understanding who that super-star is BEING you may not have all the information you need to take on their particular model.

A successful speaker is on the road at least 250 days a year –if not more.

Someone who makes more than $500,000 a year has to let go, invest in a team and excel at leading others.

An information marketer who is selling programs like hot cakes is working triple digit weeks. (Regardless of what they tell you I promise you they are.)

Before you decide to make your business just like theirs find out what it’s really like to be them – in every aspect of their life.

2. Are you willing to do what they did to create it?
Even when you follow someone’s cookie-cutter system, you’ll have to be willing to do what they did. Most uber-successful business owners have learned how to be really good at marketing, sales and leadership. They’ve had to invest heavily in the right growth strategies such as a stellar team, advertising and product development.

Many highly successful people worked their butts off to create their business and sacrificed other areas of their life like hobbies, family, and self-care to get there. And how do you know that they’re even happy?

If you are following someone else’s model and coming up short, you are trying to mimic their success without emulating their approach on all levels.
And who wants to be a carbon copy of someone else?

That’s why I believe you’ve been missing out on a little secret to creating someone else’s success.

Instead of imitating and creating a copy-cat version of someone else you need to understand how to use the Emulation Technique.

It’s a tiny but highly effective shift that allows you to create, and sustain, the success of ANYONE you desire. The Emulation Technique is the ability to create a long-term sustainable platform based on shared values, lifestyle, priorities and strengths.

When you copy someone else’s system it can overwhelm you.

Emulating allows you to harness the teachings of other successful people while aligning them with your own unique genius factors so you stand out as a thought leader in your industry.

Emulation is a multi-step technique that I teach in The Big idea Incubator that includes:

1. Identifying successful people who SHARE your values, lifestyle priorities and needs.

2. Uncovering the proven approach they used to create AND sustain their successful business

3. Extracting the mindset, habits, decision making strategies and environment of your Success Model Team.

4. Mapping this information into your Unique Genius Factors

Copying creates dissonance, emulating activates an inspiration and fuel that transfers their success strategies into your approach.

Author's Bio: 

Melanie Benson Strick, CEO of Success Connections helps entrepreneurs banish overwhelm, re-energize their big idea and focus on the right opportunities to expand their impact. Want to super-charge your business? Get 18 Tips to Re-Energize Your Business in 7 Days or Less at