Whose Advice Do I Always Take?
“Don’t take too much advice.” -Ben Silberman
Advice: what a word.
I can’t think of another word that provokes such an extreme range of emotion.
It feels amazing to be on the receiving end of great advice - especially if you asked for it in the first place. Just last week, I got some fantastic advice from my Nanny Chapman (as I often do) about how to meal plan more effectively. Now, to see whether I implement that advice.
By contrast, it can be jarring to realize that you’ve received and acted on bad advice.
And honestly, what feels worse than unsolicited advice- messages about what you “should” do, popping up when you least expect them, like the latest life-coaching ad in your Facebook feed?
Humans love to give advice... LOVE! It feels good to be right, after all. We have a deeply wired need for connection, and giving advice validates and satisfies our desire to be seen. But being on the receiving end of a barrage of unsolicited advice can be confusing, frustrating and honestly, downright exhausting!
In an effort to maintain my focus and keep myself on track toward my goals, I’ve gotten very intentional about how I receive advice. I’ve drawn clear boundaries about whose advice I want and while I remain open-minded, I always come back to the essential mentors who guide my decision making to ensure that I’m staying in alignment with my values.
*A note on mentors: I’ve never asked any of these folks to be my mentor. In fact, a few of them have never heard of me. All that matters is that *I* know that they’ve been through what I’m navigating and that they’ve come out the other side in the way that I hope to.*
In no particular order, here are the mentors that I can’t survive without:
Creativity Mentor: Elizabeth Gilbert
Before you get excited, thinking that I’m getting you one step closer to Oprah, I don’t know Elizabeth Gilbert and Elizabeth Gilbert certainly doesn’t know me. But Elizabeth Gilbert helped me get to know the most important person in my life… myself.
After losing my job in 2015, I struggled for an exceptionally long time to connect with who I was. My entire identity had been so wrapped up in my work that without my job, I felt that there was no me. Thankfully, I stumbled across the single most impactful book of my life - so impactful that I’ve now read it thrice - “Big Magic: Creative Living Without Fear” by Elizabeth Gilbert. Elizabeth got me back on my feet and has continued to guide me for the past four years.
Best Advice From Elizabeth:
“...the most interesting moment of a person’s life is what happens to them when all of their certainties go away. Then who do you become? And then what do you look for? ...that’s the moment when the universe is offering up an invitation saying, ‘come and find me.’”
Want to follow Elizabeth?
Strength Mentor: Dawn Arnold
While she does know me, she may not know that I consider her a mentor and that I look to her for leadership on a regular basis: my strength mentor is Dawn Arnold, the mayor of my hometown of Moncton, New Brunswick.
I can’t recall ever seeing a public official met with a level of criticism that she faces on a consistent basis. Her haters are bold, consistent and unoriginal yet, she remains an example of composure and resilience, facing the next day with the same enthusiasm as the last.
As she walks into City Hall every day with her chin up, I can’t help but beam with pride and look at my own detractors in a whole new light.
Best Advice From Dawn:
“Know what you want to accomplish; know who you are; know your values and be unshakeable in the pursuit of those goals.”
Want to follow Dawn?
Possibility Mentor: Amy Porterfield
When I think of marketing maven Amy Porterfield, I’m always struck by how relatable her persona is. Yes, I’m entirely open to the idea that I may be simply buying into a really effective marketing machine, but the truth is that doesn’t matter. Amy’s down-to-earth demeanour and the story of the rise of her business help remind me of what is possible.
Through her podcast, Online Marketing Made Easy and her online courses, Amy reminds me constantly that I am in the driver’s seat of my life and career and that the only thing that could possibly hold me back is… me.
Best Advice From Amy:
“You have to surround yourself with people where you don’t have to make any apology for what your life looks like.”
Want to follow Amy?
Intuition Mentor: Chris Farias
If you’ve never heard of Chris Farias, founder of the Unicorn Rebellion, I promise that you won’t soon forget him. Chris is a business acquaintance-turned-colleague-turned-best friend. And while he didn’t realize it, Chris is the person I credit with teaching me how to connect with my intuition and to trust what I uniquely see in the world.
His brilliant art has always inspired me, but it’s Chris who helped me inspire my own damn self.
Best Advice From Chris:
“You are an artist.’”
Want to follow Chris?
If you haven’t thought about who inspires you; who has done it the way you want to; whose advice you’ll always take, I encourage you to identify your mentors and learn everything you can from them. Knowing where you’re headed and who has already been there will help the irrelevant, unsolicited advice roll off.