If you’re like most people you ask others for advice. That’s always a good idea to do and it’s also a trap at the same time.
You see when you ask others for advice, you’re often giving up the primary role you should play when you seek advice from others. What’s that you ask? That would be giving up your role as being an expert of what works in your life.
Most advice comes from the other person’s worldview.
This is something most people don’t recognize. This is especially true when you’re paying for that advice.
Too often I’ve seen professionals tell their clients what they should do. Too often this advice comes without the advisor asking one single question. If you’re paying someone for advice and they’re not asking you a bunch of questions at the beginning, it might be a good idea for you to pass and move on to another advisor.
If the advice is coming from a friend, there’s a good chance that you’ll examine it and think about how that advice will fit into your worldview. If you don’t do this, then you need to treat advice from friends the same as advice from paid advisors…buyer beware.
Advice isn’t much good if it doesn’t fit in with your value system.
Before even asking for advice, it’s important for you to know what advice you’re looking for and how that advice fits in with your value systems. The reason is very simple. For some people a certain set of advice would be perfect. For another, if their values are different it would be terrible advice.
I often tell the story of a business in Burlington, VT that was thinking about either selling or becoming a fully employee owned company. This business advisors were all advocating to sell the company. But, they weren’t taking into account the owners main goal. That goals was to keep the 250 jobs in the Burlington area.
The advisors’ values were to make as much money as possible. The owners value was to keep the jobs in Vermont. There was a huge value disconnect and the advisors were all pushing for their values, not the owners. This is why knowing what the values of the person you’re advising, whether professionally or personally is so important.
This means you need to understand what values drive your life.
Now the hard part here is you need to spend some time understanding what your values are. This means you have to have a system for understanding your values.
You’re in luck. We’ve put together a five-step cheat sheet for you to figure out what the most important values are for you in your life. At the end of this post, you’ll be able to download our values cheat sheet.
It also means you have to say “No thanks” a lot to people who offer you advice, especially unsolicited advice.
When a friend gives you advice, the vast majority of the time it’s done with the best of intentions. At the same time, your friend’s advice may not take into account what your values are and how those values fit into your life.
Sometimes you’ll just ignore the advice. That’s not what I suggest you do. Whether this advice comes from advisors or friends, I think you need to say “No thank-you” and then explain why you’re rejecting the advice. When you explain this, tie it into how it doesn’t fit in with your values. That way you’re not only not setting up false expectations, you’re letting the person you’re talking with no what sort of advice that would be useful for you.
Advice is good…but only if you’re willing to examine it.
Do you remember at the beginning of this post I mentioned that you need to be the expert at what works for you? Well, this is where you get to be the expert.
Anytime someone gives you advice, you need to take some time to examine whether the advice fits in with what you need. That means you can’t let others lead you around and have the last person you speak with control the direction you go. That behavior won’t help you.
The only way to make advice work is to own the advice and be the expert on whether it will work for you or not.
So, what do you think? Are you willing to take ownership of advice you’re getting? Why don’t you leave a comment below and let me know what you’re thinking about advice and how it fits in with your life.