Advice really does matter. Learning from others who have gone before you not only helps you supercharge where you’re going; it also helps you avoid risks by learning from the mistakes others have made. Simply put, if you want different (better) results, you need new thinking. Learning strategically from the wisdom and insight of others helps you be more successful faster. In fact, it’s often the piece of the success puzzle that brings you the extraordinary results you never could have achieved alone. How are you doing at bringing strategic advice into your life?
Jay Rodgers has been a true blessing to me as my business mentor for many years. Three or four years ago, I asked him why he continues to meet with me frequently and pour his advice into me. He said, “Often when you’re older, one of the things you want to do is give advice to people who are willing to listen and actually take action on the advice you give them—and you always take action.” Jay and I usually meet twice a month, and during our sessions I take careful notes. Afterwards, I send him an email listing in bullet format the advice and aha’s he gave me. That not only lets him know I was listening; it also gives him an opportunity to correct anything I may have misunderstood. Then the next time I meet with him, I share with him the actions I’ve taken on those items.
Being a publisher, I asked Jay a few years into our relationship if he would consider coauthoring a book with me about mentorship. As we started digging in to write the book, we realized we needed to expand its scope, since getting advice involves much more than just mentors. We came up with the title Advice Matters, and we wrote about the six places you can actually turn to in order to uncover blind spots and learn from others.
Let’s look at those six areas:
1. Mentors. Mentors help you see what you can’t see. Like Jay, they’re often at a point in their life when they want to pour back into others, and they will usually give you advice for free. Ideally, a mentor is strong in the areas where you know you are weak. People often ask me how to get a great mentor, and I tell them to find someone who has done (or is doing) what you want to do, or who has accomplished what you want to accomplish. If your values match theirs, they will often consider a connection. I have several mentors myself—mentors for health, for parenting, and for business—and I encourage you to do the same.
2. A coach. Coaches are, in essence, paid mentors who will point out your key strengths as well as your blind spots to help you gain more clarity, and they often challenge you to find new perspective and different solutions to achieve your goals. They help you focus. There are a couple of other significant differences between mentors and coaches as well. The really exceptional coaches are those who have a toolbox—an arsenal of tools they have built over time that they can give you to speed up your learning and help you accomplish what you want to do. These tools could include books, articles, templates, checklists, videos, audios, helpful websites, and anything else that will help you in your pursuit of exceptional results. In fact, the bigger their toolbox, the stronger and more impactful they can be. The second difference is their connections (their Rolodex). The best coaches bring to the table a ton of other cool people they can connect you with who can open doors, share perspectives, and advance your results.
3. Trusted colleagues. There are, of course, many organizations you can join where you will find trusted colleagues you can turn to for advice. You can also look to the people around your or those you work with (zero in on five or ten of your best business friends) for a reciprocal relationship where you share ideas and insights or actually ask for input on certain things. I encourage you to be intentional in finding several trusted colleagues who can be valuable to you by trading insights and advice, giving you new perspective to see details and distinctions, and helping you go to another level of thinking.
4. Paid advisors. These are people like attorneys or CPAs whom you actually pay for advice. I’m told there are approximately 3.9 million words in the IRS code, and most of us are not going to take the time to study it. However, good CPAs will not just have a good grasp of it; they will also be able to dig deeply into it to find the distinctions you need for your specific situations. Because of their knowledge and expertise, they can often uncover blind spots you may not be able to see that will help you with your tax strategy.
5. Resources. Generally, resources fit into three categories: an audio, a video, or a book. I think it’s safe to say that everyone who is reading this article is a big believer in using resources. If you’re in the direct selling industry, you’re going to read, watch videos, and study as many resources as you can, because it is a remarkable way to learn and advance your results. You can even pick up great ideas from people who died years ago who had a recorded or published work. Are you pouring enough resources like these into your mind so you can consistently absorb advice from some of the best experts in the world? Optimizing the use of resources is an excellent way to help you make the best decisions and constantly be refining the distinctions and principles on your belief window.
6. Self. You really can’t see your own blind spots. What you can see is patterns. If the patterns are working, you want to continue and double down on them. If the patterns aren’t working, you’ll need to reflect and see if you can make adjustments to get more of what you want. Giving advice to yourself, reflecting, and thinking through challenges and ideas is something most people don’t do enough of.
So there you have it—six specific things we wrote about in Advice Matters. I hope this simple article can have a great impact on your life. In fact, I hope it’s much better than just a perspective or an angle. I hope there are some aha’s here, or maybe even an epiphany or two, that could be life-changing kernels of wisdom that could really impact you and/or your organization.