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Social Psychologist & Personal Advisor

Below is Dr Matt's Answer
to a Burning Question


They Stole My Idea! Responding Factually vs. Truthfully

Dear Dr Matt:

I am a 28 year old single female from South Caralina, I found your webpage using my Google search engine.  I am a college graduate and employed full time.
I started my own business about a year and a half ago doing a very specific type of property inspection.  I confided in my supposed best friend "Rachel" about all the nuances of my business and she celebrated w/ me when things really took off. Personally and businesswise, she has always offered a listening ear and seemed to genuinely care about me as a friend.  Several months ago she began dating "Ryan" who I admittedly do not like, but because "Ryan" is important to her and he had no source of income, I gave him several small jobs on some of my projects.

Now I find out that he is starting up a competing business and taking all the steps necessary to become accredited to do the exact same type of inspections I do in the exact same area! Neither of them ever mentioned this to me and I would imagine that is because they realize that is like stabbing me in the back.  I feel like I am in the right on this idea: for Rachel and Ryan to steal my business idea from under my nose and start a competing business in the same area that I have a firm footing in is shady. This has nothing at all to do w/ the fact that I do not like "Ryan."

I'd feel betrayed no matter who it was that "Ryan" assisted in going behind my back. She assisted him in obtaining all of the info on how to do it and who to go through and what steps to take.  She not only knew about his plans and everything else from the beginning but was an active participant and did not even tell me.  Am i overreacting or is this indeed a shady thing for a so called friend to do? I would greatly appreciate any advice you can offer me.


Dear Sabra:

There may be something "shady" going on with Rachel and Ryan? I can't say. I cannot judge the inward intents of their heart. But I do know that your best response to this situation will be in keeping the "shade" from darkening your heart upon this matter.

Factually speaking, you may be "in the right," but at the same time, you may NOT be responding "in the truth." There is a difference between FACTS and TRUTH. Read what I've written at these pages of my website, and get a sense for the difference between Facts vs. Truth

you will come to realize that while your claim may be factually accurate, your response to this situation may NOT be truthful.

From a business standpoint, there is a reason why employees are asked to sign a "noncompete clause," so they cannot take ideas they learn from working at a company, and then start up a competing business; thereby, they bite the very hand that has fed them. Some "noncompete" clauses allow people to start up businesses outside of a geographical location and market.

What you did in helping Ryan was kind and Christian of you; therefore, in the broad view of things, you cannot be disadvantaged whatsoever—that is . . . if you have faith in Christ and the truths He taught.

I suggest to you, that Satan is trying to entice you to take up a "scarcity mentality"—which means, there is only a limited amount of business within your field and YOU need to have ALL OF IT in this particular market.

It is vital that your response to this situation be "truthful" and not merely "factual." There are at least two things I advise you to do:

1) Talk with Rachel and Ryan about how they view this situation; come to understand their feelings. They may or may not be feeling guilty? If you approach them in a non-judgmental way, only good can come from this communication.

Non-judgmental means that you don't begin thus: "Why are you stabbing me in the back?" Embedded in this question is a judgment which may or may not apply. Even if they factually ARE taking advantage of your ideas and information, viewing Marry and Ryan as back-stabbers originates from your uncharitable heart (see Luke 6: 45). It is best to honor He who judges all of humanity--by so doing, you will be living "in the truth."

2) The notion of "competition" and "scarcity," could be unwarranted, when weighted against the reality of how much business can be done within your area — there may be enough for everyone, and you can celebrate in Rachel and Ryan's successes. Such a response flows from a Charitable Heart.

Remember what Jesus taught?

"And if any man will sue thee at the law and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also; and whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn thou not away. And behold it is written also, that thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy; but behold I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father who is in heaven; for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good" (Matt. 5: 40-45).

Jesus taught that when you "lose your life" only then, can you "find" your life (Matt 10: 39). As long as you are focused upon "Sabra," this egocentric perspective will cause you to "lose" your way. But when you "lose your life" for His sake, then you will find it!

To discover precisely how you can respond "truthfully" instead of "factually," you can follow a reliable guide taught by Solomon 3,000 years ago:

"Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life" (Proverbs 4: 23).

The meaning of "the heart" metaphor is detailed in this article at my website: As a Man Thinketh in his Heart, Instead of his Head.

Your response to Rachel and Ryan will be "truthful," as you open up your heart to the Truth!


Matt Moody, Ph.D.
Social Psychologist

* * * * * * *

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Social Psychologist & Personal Advisor

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