3 Quick Ways to Find the Gold in Unsolicited Advice
Ah, unsolicited advice - don’t you just love it? Sometimes, it’s from people who are near and dear to you, like a relative advising you on your love affair, or a friend advising you on your business. Our first instinct is to brush off what they have to say, discrediting them due to their lack of knowledge about the “real story”.
But, do they actually have valid points you can benefit from? So what do you do? How do you react, or better yet “respond” in the face of unsolicited advice? How do you pay attention, filter out the nonsense, and glean some real value?
Here are 3 quick tips to find gold in unsolicited advice
1. Be Open-Minded.
No matter the source, but take it with a grain of salt. Don’t let it get to you and don’t lose your identity or intention in the process.
Going back to your match-making relative at dinner… Right now, dating might not make sense for you because of deadlines, travel plans, whatever. Or, in business, perhaps the timing isn’t right to enter into a new partnership, because you are wrapping up some deliverables. Be gracious in advice-laden situations, take note of the feedback, and move forward.
Acknowledge it and act on valuable ideas and discard those that stop you from being true to yourself. Just recently, a friend was decorating the club house tree with lights and a member stormed in with plenty of advice about the “right way” to string lights. My friend thanked her and said she would look into it. She realized that the lights were a bit crooked and made the change, but continued on otherwise according to the existing plan. The tree ended up looking spectacularly fabulous!
2. Stay on Course with Your Original Intention
Even if it doesn’t follow the social norm.
Since I love ballroom dancing, many have a tendency to be sarcastic when they hear about my passion. They make derisive comments like “oh, that’s not serious enough of a hobby” or they make assumptions about those who love the dance world. But, I ignore the judgments and stay focused on my own intention.
My direction led me to my current project, writing a book about dance and business, which merges my passions of dance, business, and psychology with the process of transformational decision making. So, I don’t react in the face of useless observations, but instead respond with a smile and let it fuel my fire. Then once the book is out, I’ll welcome their unsolicited reactions of surprise when they see who is at the forefront of social norms now.
3. Be Careful of How you are Perceived.
Be aware that someone is always watching – young adults, children, and future generation. Are you presenting the right example? We teach our children to be open-minded when receiving criticism and to not react defensively. When they do, they close their ears to tips that will help them grow. This applies to adults as well.
Think about it, when a car salesman or a bank manager tries to up-sell you, how do you react? Are you condescending? Are you dismissive? If your child was watching you, what would they think about your attitude? Does your attitude prevent you from gaining some new information that might actually benefit you, like a different feature that could save you money? Don’t forget that the master appears when the student is ready. If we all assume we are masters at everything, we will never grow.