Have well-meaning advice ever left you feeling miserable?
I really can’t stand unsolicited advice, and I avoid it like the pest. If there’s no way to escape, I do a mental sticking my fingers in my ears until it’s all over. Not only does unsolicited advice do much good at all, it also assumes that the ones giving the advice know better than you (when in most cases they don’t).
Unless we are aware and have our defenses up when dealing with unsolicited advice, it can easily bring us down. And it’s happening all the time, especially when you’re in the initial stages of setting up your business and website, and feel a bit vulnerable because you haven’t quite got everything clear on how you want to go about it yet.
Listening to and following unsolicited advice is risky business and you easily end up:
- Going in many different directions at the same time
- Changing your plan and strategy every two days, depending on the latest opinion
- Feeling you do a lot of things, but achieve very little
- Fretting (and we really don’t need fretting)
- Losing faith and confidence in yourself, wondering if you are doing the right thing, and maybe this was a bad idea after all (and we really, really don’t need that either)
This happened to a couple of my clients lately, and it also happened to me when I started my business. It can make a lot of unnecessary damage to our belief in ourselves, and this is why we need to take some precautions. People are good at sounding like they are confident about the advice they give, but I learnt a few tricks to evaluate the quality of the advice as well as the person giving it.
The next time you find yourself on the receiving end of unsolicited opinions, ask yourself:
- Do they look like they have their own sh*t together?
- Do they have experience in your area of expertise?
- Are they in a position to be qualified as a mentor or adviser for you?
- Do they know enough about your business to be worth listening to?
- Do you feel that the advice truly supported you or judged you?
If you feel they judge you (although they try to convince you that what they really try to do is help), remember that for reasons that has nothing to do with you, some people will not be comfortable with you doing something that is outside their comfort zone, or they need to feel important for some reason, so instead of being supportive, they try to give you “good” advice.
Ask yourself: Do the opinion of these people really matter in this area of your life? Are they potential clients and your target market, or are they family, friends, acquaintances or right out strangers to you? Maybe their opinions affect you, because they are someone important in your life, but that doesn’t necessarily make them qualified to have a say in how you run your life and business.
Sometimes it’s hard, especially with people close to us, but we cannot let it affect the decisions we make for ourselves. And although we can’t avoid all the “generous” opinions people have about what we do, we can make two powerful choices:
- Decide how much time we are willing to listen to unsolicited advice, and if we will let it influence us
- And, most importantly, decide to spend more time with the ones who inspire and encourage us.
At the end of the day, the ones who truly support us ahead are the people who really count.
What is your experience with unsolicited advice? How did you manage it? Share with us in the comments below to help your fellow entrepreneur coaches.