About 3 years ago, I was pretty early in signing someone off YouTube. At the time, the kid I represented had one of the top 20 channels and I thought we’d be able to turn it into something. I remember putting together this whole plan for where I thought it could go. Unfortunately, after a big rush of excitement, it limped to a close on both end – the agency kept stalling investing resources in some 16 year old kid and the kid himself eventually had a melt down. I left the whole thing feeling like my balls had been cut off.

Cut to many many months later, and the company pulls in someone else from online. His manager put together a strategy for his career and they asked me to look at it. Shockingly, it was a familiar sight. Two years had passed and someone is feeling out ideas I’d been begging them to try back then. I wanted to get angry. After all, what kind of fucking bullshit business is it where you’re getting pitched your own pitches and asked if you think they’ll work?

Then I realized that the real awful thing was the notion that I apparently only liked my ideas when I thought I was going to get credit for them. And my instincts were more inclined to let everyone know I’d been there first than to relish an opportunity to put them into action.

Here’s the thing I’ve learned about ideas. It’s your job to have them. It’s your fate that they’ll sometimes be ignored or unappreciated. It’s beneath you to throw a tantrum when this is exactly what happens. Finally, don’t fool yourself into thinking it’s enough to simply not mind getting credit. If you really want to get something done, go around looking for people for the credit to go to and work your execution backwards from there.

Written by Ryan Holiday
Ryan Holiday is the bestselling author of Trust Me, I’m Lying, The Obstacle Is The Way, Ego Is The Enemy, and other books about marketing, culture, and the human condition. His work has been translated into thirty languages and has appeared everywhere from the Columbia Journalism Review to Fast Company. His company, Brass Check, has advised companies such as Google, TASER, and Complex, as well as Grammy Award winning musicians and some of the biggest authors in the world. He lives in Austin, Texas.