Advice is a tricky thing for most of us, whether we are giving or receiving it. We often seek out advice from others, but its questionable how many of us actually take the advice we are given. I was reminded of how important advice can be while reading the July 6, 2009 issue of Forbes magazine. The issue focused on influential leaders in various professions and the advice they received that “changed their lives and careers forever”.
Lloyd Blankfein, Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs, discussed the importance of learning the opinions of others first and how to carry yourself under stress. Mika Brzezinski, co host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe with Joe Scarborough, found that using failure to motivate yourself can really change the course of your career in a positive way. It is obvious that all of these leaders kept their minds open and their vision clear to accept and use advice to create positive change in their lives.
Some of the other advice that various industry leaders noted as their best advice include: set realistic goals; be effective, not popular; hire a coach; make a strong first impression; keep it simple; and listen. These may seem like simple pieces of advice that we have heard since birth, but when you hear the advice from a trusted source and commit yourself to living that advice, real success happens. The way you choose to carry yourself in the world and handle obstacles has a real impact on how far you get in the professional world.
To a certain degree, notions like keeping it simple and setting realistic goals may seem counterintuitive in a world filled with intense competition and millions vying for a spot at the top, but these simple words of advice really can impact who you become and the influence you may have on others. Look at the advice you have received regarding your goals. Do they make sense to what you want to achieve? Do they help you attain the success you desire and still allow for a sense of balance and well being in your life? Think about the simple words of advice noted by the industry leaders and evaluate your own goals. Do you refine your goals often to match your success? Have you let failure stop you from achieving a goal?
When you start to evaluate your goals and really look at what mentors and other leaders tell you, you may begin to realize that there is something very big in what feels like simple advice. The Forbes article included a resource section called “what price advice?” that details the various resources available to people who are looking to enlist counsel regarding their goals. It notes that even in a recession, the advice business, which includes coaches, psychologists, lawyers, and consultants, is a booming business. Now more than ever people understand the importance of good advice.