Lessons On Taking Others’ Advice About Your Business

Years ago I was in a Mastermind group with three other very intelligent, heart-centered people. One of the members was a talented social worker who had left her low-paying job to go out on her own as a money-mindset coach. She was the first person I ever met who told me in no uncertain terms exactly what I needed to hear (I was expecting results too soon – a story for another day).

But I refused to listen.

It turns out she was right but I was blind to the message. Her style was just a little too bold for me at the time, but years later I sure wish I had listened sooner.

Contrast that with another piece of advice I was given at a completely different point in time. In fact it was at a very difficult time in my life. My business was struggling due to the post-9/11 downturn, and my marriage was in a challenging place as well. I needed to make some very serious changes or risk crawling into bed and never coming out.

I had been doing Internet marketing to market my software consulting business, and had become quite skilled at it. Multiple people (including my husband) urged me to start teaching local small businesses how to do internet marketing. At the time, it  kind of made sense, but it truly was not my passion and although I was moderately successful, over time my interest waned and the whole project just fizzled out.

I gained lots of great skills, but it was an expensive education.

Two very different circumstances. Same problem. Other people telling you their opinion of what you should do or how you should act. Do you listen?

Yeah, that’s a tough one. 

The thing is, your brain will justify your decision all by itself. So whether you choose to act on or ignore the advice, your mind will tell you it’s the right thing.  Until later, when you’ve had some distance and space and gained perspective. Then you analyze and theorize and cogitate on it… and then come to a conclusion and put it in your memory bank of experiences that feeds future decisions.

In the end, you learn as you go, but what it all comes down to is listen to your heart. Does it “feel” right to you? Then give it a try. Go a little way in and see if it still feels right.

At the end of the day, there are no “wrong” decisions. You could argue there are “right” decisions and “wrong” decisions, but those are just labels that help you measure relative success after the fact.

My best gauge these days on whether I should listen or not is to think about how close this person is to me and whether they have anything to gain from my actions.

Because then it becomes about them.

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