Advice. We’ve been bombarded with it since childhood: don’t put all of your eggs in one basket; a penny saved is a penny earned; don’t wear white shoes after Labor Day; don’t trust anyone wearing a clown wig.
While kind of silly now, all of these tips were probably helpful at one time or another. They stick in your head like a permanent rule book to flip through when making decisions. (In fact, I never wear white shoes, just to be safe.) But, don’t discount it entirely. Advice can be a very powerful tool in your professional tool belt.
Since most advice is largely unsolicited, it can be difficult to discern which tips are useful and which are just more white noise. But, when it comes to running a successful business or even starting a new career, advice can be essential in getting through obstacles and overcoming hurdles that come up unexpectedly. When presented with a challenge, think about things that other successful people do. What wisdom would they impart at a time like this?
Possibly the most important aspect about getting advice is to seek out guidance before you are stuck. Find successful people in your field and take them to lunch. Ask a trusted colleague to be your mentor. And, most importantly, ignore advice from sources that aren’t looking out for your best interests. You never know, you might find the motivation to finish that new project or reach an important goal.
So, what is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Several successful leaders in business share their most memorable tips:
“The one option in life that is almost always the wrong option is walking away and choosing not to be in the game” – John Donahoe, CEO and president of eBay (advice from Bill Clinton)
“You should never do something for the approval of someone else, and you must be both your own biggest supporter and worst critic”-Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation (advice from her first grade teacher)
“Don’t make me change how I do things unless it’s meaningfully better” – David Marcus, President of PayPal (advice from one of his first clients)
“Explore the world. The further you get from what is familiar to you the more you’ll learn” – Arne Sorenson, President and CEO of Marriott International
“The harder you try, the luckier you get” – Rachel Schall Thomas, President of LeanIn.org (advice from her Dad)
Leave a note below with any words of wisdom that you've picked up along the way.