We all need advice from time to time, especially as we set out on the road to building a business. However, according to one of our favorite entrepreneurs and bloggers, Derek Sivers, advice isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. In fact, he believes advice can often be harmful because the advice people give you is often more of a reflection of their current situation rather than yours. As a result, a lot of advice is biased in a ways that can hinder rather than help.
Even so, Sivers believes the real problem isn’t taking advice; it’s taking it only from one person. Instead, he recommends getting it from a variety of different sources, combining all the different perspectives into a whole picture, and then using your best judgment based on what you know about yourself and the situation.
So we decided to take his advice and see what others had to say on the subject.
Fiona Robyn, strives to engage the world through mindful writing. She recommends the following when dealing with advice from others.
Listen to your gut. What is it telling you about the advice? If it stirs something in you in any way, good or bad, it may be worth considering.
Consider who is giving you the advice. Do they understand your situation? Do they have your best interests at heart? Do they share your values?
Get a second opinion. Seek out a mixture of people you trust and have experience with the type of situation you’re in. Never rely on the advice of one only person when making difficult life decisions.
Don’t make snap decisions. Take some quiet time to reflect on all the advice people have given you. In particular, pay attention if a certain type of advice makes you feel defensive or threatened.
Most of all, trust yourself. This can be difficult when people who care about you are offering advice you don’t want to hear. However, you know more about what’s right for you than anyone else, so don’t be afraid to listen to the internal voice telling you what to do.
A Simple Rule of Thumb
Michael Hyatt is a best-selling author on personal and professional development. He has one simple rule for evaluating when to take advice from others: is the person getting the results you want to experience? If you see a disconnect between their life and the advice they’re offering, Hyatt suggests listening politely to the message and then ignoring it.
One of the real benefits of becoming an Ideator is the ability to reach out to different people for ideas, insights and advice on your entrepreneurial journey. Plus, it’s a good mix of experienced entrepreneurs who have “been there and done that” and those who are just getting started and may be seeking advice on situations very similar to yours.
In the end, perhaps noted author Erica Jong said it best: “Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn’t.” That may be the best advice we’ve heard in a long time!