Who to take advice from? A life saving and time saving tip for life
This article first appeared August 8, 2012.
Ever been given share market advice by a taxi driver?
If I wanted advice on the best way to get across town in traffic, then I would be “all ears” to the taxi driver, but I’m not sure his share portfolio would be too deep.
Ever had your employee or even your family member who hasn’t worked for 30 years give you advice on how to run your business?
You’d be amazed how many times people in your life, whether that be employees, co-workers, family members and acquaintances, share their opinions and give you their “two cents worth”.
Do these phrases sound familiar at the dinner table?
- “You should…”
- “You could…”
- “I would…”
- “Why don’t you…”
This is often uncalled for advice and something that needs to filtered quickly.
It irritates me when I overhear conversations where person A is giving advice to person B without asking and person A has no specific relevant experience to draw from but feels the need to push their strong opinion on Person B.
For the best chicken soup recipe, I know who to ask. But this same person is most likely not the best person to talk with about your new venture.
Most of this “uncalled for advice” typically comes from a caring place. People generally like to help and it’s often harmless advice. The problem is that there are enough opinions out there and it’s time to develop extremely selective hearing.
My filter is super sharp now and I can break through the clutter awfully quickly, but only after I was exposed to “Gestalt Protocol” through joining Entrepreneur’s Organisation (EO) – Melbourne Chapter, over four years ago.
Gestalt Protocol is a way of speaking, listening and interpreting and is now a way of life.
It’s very simple to follow and will guide you on the right path and help you develop a filter while saving you hours of inappropriate conversation.
Gestalt is about speaking from experience rather than giving advice. In fact, giving advice is a big “no-no” unless asked.
As an entrepreneur, the challenges I face are different to an employee, and in EO, there’s a wealth of experiences to draw from and this is invaluable.
An EO-er commences with, “In my experience, this is what happened to me”, or alternatively, “I have no experience to share”, without advice giving. I then take from the experiences what I choose.
EO-er’s believe in Gestalt so strongly that we actually pull each other up if someone steps out of line and starts to give advice. No one wants to hear advice or opinion unless it is asked.
As a mentor to my team and other entrepreneurs, the first piece of advice I give (which sounds ironic) is to be careful who they listen to! I say upfront that I will help by sharing my relevant experiences where I can.
So whether in the office, the dinner table or at a barbecue with friends, as soon as you hear someone offering advice, try and establish very quickly whether they are the taxi driver giving share tips, or whether they have real life experiences to draw on.
If it’s the taxi driver talking, take the advice with a grain of salt and then try and extricate yourself from the conversation quickly.