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The Best Business Advice I Ever Ignored

| | Weaving Influence | 5 Comments

We’ve all done it.

Someone gives us some great advice and we listen, consider, and shake it off, and go back to what we were doing before.

You’ve done it — right?

When I think about advice I’ve ignored, I like to justify it by building myself up: I didn’t listen because of the passion I felt for the work, the commitment.

The sad truth is, I ignore great advice every day, or I under-emphasize it. I do that because it is easier to continue on the path I’m on, harder to implement whatever wise suggestion someone is offering. I do it at my own peril.

And it’s only grace that brings me back, finally, to the great advice I could have heeded months or years before.

About four years ago, Steve Roesler told me I should work for multiple clients. At the time, I worked freelance for a university, exclusively. And I explained away my reluctance to serve other clients with my passion for the work, my commitment. (If I am honest, my decision had more to do with fear. I felt afraid to look for more clients, afraid that I would be disappointed if no one hired me.)

So I ignored his advice, and I did so to my own detriment, spending an entire morning in tears when things didn’t work out exactly as I’d hoped.

Then I moved from that opportunity to another exclusive one. Once again, something — fear, lack of confidence, and the desire for safety — compelled me to work exclusively for one client, then ultimately to become an employee of that client’s company. And I justified it, again, by my passion. My commitment. 

I ignored Steve’s great advice for nearly three years and then finally I listened. Last January, I started to pursue outside clients. That pursuit led me to starting a business, and my business serves many clients.

As a result, I am not crushed when someone says no, or when a project doesn’t turn out exactly as I’d hoped. I can operate from a place of confidence, instead of fear. And, though this may be a result of my own personal and professional growth, I think part of it is that working for more than one client is a really good practice for me. And Steve Roesler gave me some really great advice.

Advice that I ignored for a while, but never forgot.

Tell me something! What is the best business advice you ever ignored? Why did you ignore it? What keeps you from following great advice?

Steve Roesler has a great post about workplace advice on his blog today. Ironically, it begins with this quote: Be careful when you give advice–somebody might take it.” Anonymous. Hop over and read Steve’s post. Tell him I sent you.

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About The Author

I am the owner of Weaving Influence and the leader of the Weaving Influence team. We help authors and thought leaders grow their online influence. I am also a wife and mom of three daughters, and I enjoy running, reading, writing, a good cup of coffee, and dark chocolate.

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What People Are Saying

Bret Wortman   |   30 January 2013   |   Reply

This reminds me of an old bit from “The Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”:

“It’s times like this […] when I really wish I’d listened to what my mother told me when I was young.”

“Why, what did she tell you?”

“I don’t know, I didn’t listen!”

Amy   |   30 January 2013   |   Reply

Great post, Becky! I’m much the same way with criticism. I, like most people, I guess, don’t really like to hear criticism. I’m sure there have been many people who have criticized me and offered me advice who thought I wasn’t listening.

But I was. I do. I think about it. Ponder and consider it. Sometimes I find they were right. Sometimes not. Perhaps there would be value in going back to the person who said it and letting them know I decided they were right if I had come around to that decision…

Steve Roesler   |   31 January 2013   |   Reply

Becky,

That is the most unexpected and kindest mention I think I’ve ever received.

The part that continually becomes clearer as time moves on is that advice may be accurate in the moment, but God has His own special timing for implementation. To try and subvert that by moving at one’s own pace can force an unaware person to do the right thing at the wrong time.

May you continue to be committed to waiting to do the right thing at the right time.

Steve

Becky Robinson   |   01 February 2013   |   Reply

Steve,

Thank you for more wise advice — waiting to do the right thing at the right time.

I am beyond blessed to have you in my life as a mentor and champion.

Thinking of you, and praying for you.

Becky

David Lindner   |   31 January 2013   |   Reply

That’s exactly what we’re trying to do. I regret that we didn’t start working toward this long ago, but at least we’re working on it now!