Not all advice is well-meaning or best suited to the outcome you’d like to achieve. When given advice, you need to ask yourself if there’s any hidden agenda attached, and think about whether the person is qualified in the area they’re giving advice.
I was asked to contribute to this article “When to accept advice, and when to ignore it” originally appeared on the 9Honey website. You can read it here.
If you’re lucky, you’ll have a group of close friends and family members in your life who will hand out advice for every single dilemma you face – even over the most trivial issues.
When people care about you, they’ll advise you in ways that will protect you, as well as ways that will enhance your career, love life or general well-being.
But there will always be ‘that person’ whose advice might be given in an attempt to hold you back. Perhaps that person is jealous of your achievements and doesn’t want to see you soar any higher. Or maybe don’t want to see you with a romantic partner that they have feelings for themselves.
People management specialist Karen Gately told 9Honey the most important thing is to have self-respect for your own judgement because everyone has opinions.
“You need to know what the outcome is that you’d like to achieve. Then, use your judgement as to whether or not the advice you’re being given is supportive of those outcomes,” Gatelysays.
“You might tell someone that you’re having trouble with a difficult boss and somebody advises you to tell your boss ‘where to go’ and quit immediately. But, leaving the office in a blaze of glory isn’t necessarily going to lead to a positive outcome for your career.
“You need to use your own judgement around what sort of actions are going to enable the outcome you want to create.”
Business mentor Craigh Wilson believes your success is determined more by the things you say ‘No’ to.
“Sit quietly, clear your mind and emotions. Let go of your thoughts, allow your emotions to come up and feel your heart and gut. If you get a very bad feeling don’t take the advice. Revaluate and then trust yourself make your own decision,” says Wilson.
Craigh also says you shouldn’t just listen to the ‘Yes people’ in your life.
“You need to get realistic advice. With ‘Yes people’ you’re never going to get the truth from them. This impacts the quality of your life, career and business greatly. Having people that challenge you on a regular basis keeps you on track,” Wilson explains.
Career expert Michelle Gibbings says, when you are given advice, you need to ask yourself if there is any agenda attached. Plus, you should think about the experience in the area they’re giving the advice.
“There will be others who will hand out advice for work in an area they have never actually worked in. So make sure you ask for advice from people who really understand, through their own experience, where you’re coming from,” Gibbings explains.
“Sometimes people with the best intentions will give you advice that will hold you back because they might have their own fears and concerns. So what they’re sharing is their own fears, not what might be in your best interest.”
“Also consider if you’ve taken their advice in the past and whether it has hindered you.”
There will be others in your life that have a vision of you that is quite different.
For example your parents love you, but they also might want to hold you back if they don’t want you to move overseas or interstate.
Also, if you get advice from multiple people, think about whether there’s a common theme. Gibbings suggests taking time to reflect on whether several people are all saying the same thing.
“Then, ask what your own gut is telling you. Your gut instinct is a great predictor. Just because you’re feeling the fear doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it, but think carefully about what your options are for the best way forward.”