I recently read a post about how to give advice. It had some good pointers. But do you know the one thing it didn’t say? That people giving advice should know what they’re talking about.
I don’t know about you, but I get advice from people all the time. Some of it’s good, some of it’s terrible. So how can we know if the advice we get is worth following?
A few weeks ago I was standing in line at the ice cream shop down the street from my house. Someone I know came through the door and we started talking.
Before long the topic turned to health, and he started giving me diet advice. Now, my friend is not known for his physical fitness, far from it. So what did I do? I nodded politely and discounted every word.
The truth is I see this disconnect all the time:
- A financial advisor who is broke.
- A social media consultant who only has a few thousand followers.
- A doctor who is overweight and out-of-shape.
Here’s my rule of thumb, and it rarely fails me: Never take advice from people who aren’t getting the results you want to experience. If you don’t like what you see in the life of the messenger, it’s usually best to ignore the message.
But what if you actually need advice? We all do. Here are five steps I follow whenever I need to get high-quality, actionable advice:
- Identify someone who is getting the results you want to get. When I wanted to learn how to effectively launch products, I turned to Jeff Walker. Facebook? Amy Porterfield. Every area of life—fitness, finances, family, whatever—has people who excel. Seek them out.
Study what they are doing and see if you can decipher the system. The next step is study. Notice how they approach problems or projects and try to piece their system together. What’s the logic behind it?
Do exactly what they are doing—without trying to tweak it or improve it. There’s always magic in a good sauce. Don’t start tweaking and customizing what works until you fully understand it—otherwise you might miss something critical. Follow the steps until you master them.
Try to meet with them to learn more. Sometimes we can make huge breakthroughs in person that we can’t make at a distance. If you can, it’s sometimes worth trying to meet with the expert you’ve identified. A personal trainer, for instance, helped me get much better results in much less time than I was able to get on my own.
Get in a peer group of people who are all committed to getting similar results. We can reap massive rewards from building intentional relationships: learning, encouragement, accountability, and more. The masterminds and coaching relationships I’ve pursued have made all the difference in my success over the years.
I talk about the different kinds of groups you can join to accelerate your results here.
When you look for directions in Google Maps, you can follow many different paths to the same destination. Some are longer and slower than others. I can’t think of one time I’ve chosen the longer, slower route. If I’m going somewhere I don’t want to waste time traveling.
It’s the same with taking advice. Some advice will get you where you want to go. Some will just send you in circles. Don’t waste time. Look for people who can get you where you want to go with the fewest dead ends.
Question: What’s the worst advice you’ve ever taken? What could have helped you make a better decision?