When Someone Steals Your Work

A few years ago, I was scrolling through Facebook, I noticed a post from someone who has taken ALL of my training programs over the last years. Turns out she had just put together her OWN transformational practitioner training, and she was posting pics and videos from her retreat.

As I was watching one of her videos, I saw that she was straight up using content as her own that had taken me decades to develop, and even using all my sets of journaling questions – WORD FOR WORD.

As you can imagine, this was upsetting to me. For one thing, it simply made my stomach turn to see that my curriculum that was so special to me, so nurtured by me over so many years, was being used by someone else who was masquerading it as their own.

And yet, even though I was so so angry and so so upset at her….

….and even though it should have immediately been so clear that she was in the wrong….

….my first momentary go-to place was, oddly, to judge myself and be angry with myself.

With myself? That made no sense! She had stolen from me.

So what was the self-judgment and self-anger about?

Well, I momentarily started beating myself up for needing to claim ownership of what was mine. 

The Shadow voice inside of me that sometimes tells me I am too competitive or need to be too big briefly tried to convince me that a more evolved and spiritual teacher would not be miffed at all at a student stealing their material and that I was being petty, grandiose, selfish and unethical for wanting to defend my intellectual property and thought leadership.

Good thing I’ve done a lot of work on my the Shadow of Competition & Being “Too Big” in my life, and I was able to call out that voice pretty quickly.

From there, I immediately got in touch with this woman who had taken my intellectual property. Even though it took courage to do so, I approached her with compassion but also with firmness, and…we worked it out. Amazing! She apologized and shared with her community her mistake!

(And, as an important side note: because of the empowered and empowering way I approached it, I didn’t need for her to “stop” sharing my material. My request was that she share it in her own words AND also share the inspiration she takes from me. When I am fully in my power, I understand that the work is meant to be shared in lots of different ways; it’s not only mine to own and also, of course, I have been inspired by so many teachers whose work has made their way into my work).

I share this story because this is not the first time that another woman has “taken” something that was mine, and because I know that this happens all too often in life for many women: feelings of betrayal by another woman, fear that another woman will take something from you, fear that you are unwittingly stealing from another woman.

You see the one who steals and the one who gets robbed are really two sides of the same coin. We can call that coin the Sister Wound, and we can call that coin the Shadow of Power.

It is a dynamic that is pervasive in patriarchal society. 

It is a product of lack of confidence, lack of trust (in self and others), lack of empowerment.

All of which are related to jealousy. To envying and being the envied. To not knowing one’s true self-worth.

I’ve learned a lot on this journey over the years (much of it the hard way). The first time someone stole intellectual property from me years ago, I got stuck in my own self-judgment. I never reached out and called out the problem. I never stood up for myself and my work. I’ve come forward by leaps and bounds since then, and even now, there is still more work to do.

If you have found yourself in any of these places:

⇒ First, I want to normalize this experience, remind you that there is NOTHING wrong with you at all if you’ve had any of this experience (you are in good company!), and also I want to remind you to be loving and compassionate with yourself.

⇒ Next, I want to let you know that there are powerful and empowering ways to work with jealousy and envy and aligned ways to honor and protect your thought leadership. The first step is to love yourself in all of it.

I’d love to hear from you – has this happened to you before? How did it relate to how you feel about yourself?

Join The Conversation


55 Highly Effective
Breakthrough Coaching Questions

You might also like

Share Your Thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *