Have you benefited from all the good advice you’ve received over the years? Have you experienced times advicewhen you got great advice and it didn’t work?

Don’t we all want good advice from whoever can give it?

There are times when even the best advice doesn’t pay off.

Here are four reasons you might be wasting good advice.

Reasons #1 You don’t think you need it.

You can’t help somebody who doesn’t think they need it, and these people aren’t usually seeking good advice.  Sometimes someone who doesn’t think they need it asks for advice for appearances, or to ingratiate themselves to someone.

Even if the non-learner stumbles upon worthwhile information in a speech or seminar they will dismiss it: it becomes seed falling among the stones.

Moral of the story: don’t ask for advice unless you really value and need it. Asking to patronize someone will usually backfire, especially if you don’t take their counsel.

Reason #2 The advice is good but you’re the wrong person.

The relevancy of the advice is dependent on the person and their situation.

I’m always amused when I hear a new salesperson say they don’t need to prepare because they know a sales legend in their company who successfully “wings it.”  Really? Might it be that the successful old pro has prepared so much over so many years that he or she makes it look effortless?

Likewise, you might be past the point in your career where the advice offered is relevant. It might apply to someone with less experience, but it won’t reward you where you’re at in your journey.

Reason #3 You get good advice at the wrong time.

Sometimes advice arrives when you’re not in a position to apply it immediately. There are more urgent or pressing matters to attend to, or you don’t have the necessary resources. If this is the case, put it on your “to do as soon as possible” list.

Sometimes it is the “wrong time” is that the advice might be too uncomfortable or painful. You  need to wait until you’re able to accept it gracefully.

Reason #4 You don’t recognize it as good advice.

You might not like the advice you’re getting because it is difficult or painful to accept. The best advice often comes from friends and colleagues who love us enough to tell us the truth. Don’t let the unpleasantness of advice prevent you from recognizing its value.

So what is good advice? It is information relevant to you and your business based on where you are at in a particular point in time. Advice that comes too late or too early won’t be helpful to you. And you need to be receptive to what it suggests you do.

Mark Sanborn
About Mark Sanborn

Mark Sanborn, CSP, CPAE, is president of Sanborn & Associates, Inc., an idea studio dedicated to developing leaders in business and in life. Mark is an international bestselling author and noted expert on leadership, team building, customer service and change. Mark Sanborn graduated cum laude from The Ohio State University. In addition to his work as a business educator and author, Mark continues to be an active leadership practitioner. Most recently he served as the president of the National Speakers Association.

One Response to 4 Reasons You Might be Wasting Good Advice
  1. Great points Mark.

    I think most of the bullets you’ve given fall under “ego”.

    An overdeveloped ego has a lot to do with people either not recognizing or refusing advice. It’s sad to see, but I believe true.

    How many times have we seen people nod their heads or shout-out in agreement, only to dismiss what the pastor, boss, leader, advisor, or mentor recommended?


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