How you respond to advice will ultimately facilitate or sabotages your success. Which one of these examples best describes you?
Take Dr. Smart (not her real name), for example. She has years of education and professional experience under her belt—not to mention numerous letters after her name. She’s stuck. She needs a mentor or a coach to help her get unstuck, but knowledge and her “I know everything” attitude are keeping her from the breakthrough she desperately wants.
Her responses to advice sound something like this:
- “I don’t think that will work…”
- “Yes, but…”
- “It doesn’t feel right…”
- “I don’t know…”
- “My research tells me that…”
- “That’s not me.”
- “It’s not resonating…”
- “I don’t think that’ll work for me…”
“I receive it…”
A few years ago I was having lunch with a colleague who was experiencing negative consequences from her communication style in the workplace. It was killing me to see her sabotage herself, so I decided to share some of my observations.
“May I share a piece of advice?”
She nodded, somewhat surprised.
When I finished sharing, it was I who was surprised with her first response. She sat back and took a deep breath as if buying herself some time.
After what felt like a minute, she said, “I receive it.” She went on to thank me for caring enough to share and promised to reflect on what I had said.
Since then, her greatest weakness has become her greatest strength. It all began with accepting the gift I offered.
What About You?
Advice, whether sought or not, from a friend or a foe, can be an unexpected gift—if you are willing to start with: “I accept it” or “I’m willing to consider it.”
That’s my advice for you. The next time someone gives you advice, consider choosing one of these two responses:
- “I receive it.” or…
- “I’m willing to consider it.”
Our first response to advice can either keep us stuck or move us forward towards a future where our blind spots are removed and where we can see our most ambitious aspirations realized.
One of the best pieces of advice I received from a mentor was,
“Stop fighting for your limitations unless you want to keep them.”
Accepting it and acting on it has made all the difference.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? Did you act on it? Why or why not?