This week’s reflection point: Have you ever taken advice from someone—only to realize later that it actually hurt your success, instead of helped you? If so, you’re not alone. Bad advice is everywhere. And it’s crucial that you avoid taking it.
Not long ago, I overheard a speaker give the following advice to his audience: Forget about marketing, and just publish. This was a popular speaker who attracted a large crowd; I couldn’t believe the advice he gave. Marketing is the single most important part of any business. But that speaker’s audience now thinks marketing is secondary.
How many other speakers, gurus, and industry experts have given similar bad advice? Too many to count. (Just a few years ago, a famous person told his followers that they shouldn’t read books! It doesn’t get much worse than that.)
So how can you learn to recognize bad advice, and make sure you take advice that helps you? Here are the three best ways:
- Make sure advice has a great track record. When a successful person gives you advice, it can be tempting to take it right away. But just because advice works for one person, doesn’t mean it will work for everyone. I’ve seen many successful individuals give advice that ultimately backfires for other people. That’s why you need to make sure advice has created repeatable success before you take it. If you know an idea has a great track record of helping people, then consider it. But if just one person has seen success, the idea might not actually work.
- Make sure advice applies to you. Advice is subjective. I know that what’s successful for me, might not necessarily be successful for someone else. Make sure you always filter the advice you hear from others. Ask yourself, “Does this advice apply to my type of business? Will it be successful for me, in particular?” Also keep in mind that different advice works in some markets, but not others. For example, an idea that’s successful in the consumer market might be a disaster in the corporate market, and vice versa.
- Trust your intuition and be willing to fail. The importance of trusting your intuition can’t be overstated. If you feel like a piece of advice is off-base, or that it won’t work for you, then trust yourself. You know your business better than anyone else. You should never do something just because someone else tells you to. On the other hand, if you decide to take advice, never do so half-heartedly. Be willing to fail! That’s the only way to fully implement ideas that could ultimately help you create more success. Try your best, and make adjustments if things don’t go as planned.
This week’s tip: Beware bad advice! Carefully filter through advice to protect yourself from misguided ideas that hurt your business. Always trust your intuition—and make sure the advice applies directly to you.