I just got difficult news; a friend just went through a corporate shake-up that left quite a few people looking for a new job. I sat and listened. Mentally, I came up with several personal and professional contacts that I knew would help, as well as several resume upgrades that will make it stand out and be noticed.
Still, before I gave a single piece of advice, I asked: “Do you want any help from me?”
Five minutes later, I saw a public post online. The post wasn’t talking about the advice I gave, but thanking me for actually asking if my help was welcome.
I have a phenomenally successful life, in business and pleasure. I didn’t do it alone and none of my philosophies on how to live, work, build/maintain friendships, and see the world are 100% my own. They are a mixture of my initiatives mixed with advice I asked for from people who did the things I want to do, successfully.
I get a lot of advice that I didn’t ask for, or want. I suspect you do too.
I have a two-step method that has yet to fail me for evaluating advice I’m given. It’s called: “Are you or have you created one?!”
When someone invariably gives me an opinion I didn’t ask for I literally take a step back and look at the person talking to me. I ask OUT LOUD:
“Have you managed to successfully accomplish what you’re giving me advice on?”
When someone gives you advice you didn’t ask for, the answer is almost always “No, but…”
It’s sad, quite a few people believe that their failure makes them an authority on the very thing they couldn’t accomplish! Remember team, if they had any idea how to be successful at it, they would have stood out as someone you wanted to ask for advice. When you ask them, they may get angry. Ride the wave and don’t apologise or take a step back. This is your future success that’s on the line. If you falter, you may open your ears and your mind to terrible advice from someone who hasn’t done what you want to do. That means you must avoid their advice.
“Have you successfully taught anyone else how to do what you are giving me advice on?”
The answer is almost always “No, but…”
This was the last chance they should get at qualifying themselves as someone you should take advice from. There are quite a few people that didn’t achieve their goals, but used the experience that they gained to coach others to success. They are rare, but they exist.
By now, the person that came to you with advice has realised that they painted themselves into a corner. They aren’t successful, nor have they coached anyone to success. They realised, painfully, that they have no right to instruct you.
It’s a lot easier to implement this standard with a random stranger, a bit more difficult to do with friends, and downright painful to do with people you care for. Still, hold fast. Just because someone is important to you, does not mean you are obligated to listen to them give you bad advice!
YusefWateef (at) Gmail (dot) Com