So as many of you know, Drake released a surprise mixtape/album this past week. My whole team loves music and they’ve been playing it nonstop as we’ve been traveling. The project is terrific, and there is one particular line in one of the songs that has really been stuck in my head. In the song “You and the 6,” a stirring ode to phone conversations with his mother, Drake spits “’Never take advice,’ that was great advice.” Every time I hear this line it makes me think of all of the times I’ve taken bad advice and made mistakes because of it. At the same time, it makes me feel thankful for all of the great advice I’ve received from my mentors over the years. The more I weigh these two thoughts, the more I realize that I have subconsciously developed a system for deciding when to take advice from people, and it’s not very complicated.
Are they an expert? Do they have my best interests in mind?
These are my only qualifications. While it’s pretty much up to you to decide if someone is truly looking to help you, a good indicator is whether or not they stand to benefit from your decision. You’ve probably noticed on Shark Tank, sometimes a shark who is already out will offer advice. People usually take that advice because it comes free of ulterior motives (Like Al for EZVip listen to Barbara and doing the deal with me and Mark, not Kevin and Robert). It is also important that I further define what it means to be an “expert.” It doesn’t always mean that the person is older or even more experienced then you, it just means that they have insight into something that you don’t. I’ve been making clothing for 20 years but I don’t know what kids like to wear as well as a 15 year-old. They are the experts on that.
The more successful you become, the more people will begin to throw in their two cents. Don’t miss out on excellent guidance, and don’t get lead off track. Ask yourself, are they an expert, and do they have your best interests in mind?
In the comments below, feel free to share a story about a time when good advice helped you or when bad advice hindered you. @ Your mentors!