There is no lack of advice in this world. If you want or need advice, you can always find someone willing to give it. Even when you don’t want it, someone will be very willing and eager to jump in and tell you what they think.
The second deadly mistake I made, was allowing myself to be influenced by the type of people that no one would or should want advising them.
Impact from “The Voices”
I’ve come to use a great expression that I learned from Jim Rohn. Voices of Value. Some voices you hear offer valuable counsel. Their advice will positively influence and help keep you on track.
Other voices offer advice that will get you in trouble.
Usually, the bad advice is evident. You can immediately tell that what you are listening to, what the person is saying, is just plain wrong.
When someone tells you to literally
- walk off the edge of a cliff
- drive with your eyes closed
- drink a glass full of bleach
It’s not hard to see right through that kind fo advice…
Hard Shoves and Subtle Nudges
Those are hard shoves. Easy to see and feel. It’s a SHOVE. A hard push. When you see hear or feel it, you can immediately reject it.
But sometimes, the bad advice is subtle, wrapped in a way where it is hard to determine just how dangerous it is.
The people giving this kind of advice are storytellers. Their stories entice and pull you in. They convince you to follow.
The people telling you these stories seem credible. They appear to be successful, and what they are recommending seems to be great advice.
These are subtle nudges. You are nudged ever so slightly. An inch here, a half an inch there. Until one day you wake up and find yourself way off course.
A hard shove immediately throws you off course. Easy to feel, simple to discern. A series of soft and subtle nudges, over time, can have the same effect as that hard shove. Either can place you in danger, some place you don’t want to be, like off the edge of a cliff.
With the subtle nudges, you don’t see it coming until you are in free fall…
I had plenty of people surrounding me, all eager to give advice. The challenge was to sift through the ones worth listening to and ignoring the others.
Tune in the Voices of Value. Tune out the others. Simple. Well, not really…
How can you tell the difference between the voices?
Develop the habit of listening to different perspectives from divergent sets of people, then pay attention to the still small voice inside of you. The longer you listen, the better listener and discerner you will become.
The 5 Steps to Follow While Looking and Listening
- Identify and Vet Potential Voices of value — look at their profiles, resumes, bios, what others say about them, the comments they get, and ask others you trust for their input
- Monitor what the potential voices say and write about for a reasonable period of time to ensure consistency, integrity, ethical constancy, and concordance with your own values
- Drop anyone from your list of potential voices that appear at all questionable
- Enter into mentoring relationships or follow candidates cautiously and gradually — do not blindly follow advice
- Continuously monitor and evaluate what your voices say and do
Potential Sources of Voices of Value
These are sources I have found especially valuable when seeking out potential voices:
- Research Professional, Socially Renowned and Recognized Experts — Look for people in your chosen field, or with skills you want to acquire with the breadth and depth, doing the things you do or want to do, extraordinarily well. It also matters if they do those things for a living. After all, one of the hallmarks of doing things right, and of success, is that people keep coming back to a person. To continue to do business with them, and to obtain their services. These are voices of value.
- Look at Peers or Higher Ups in Your Present Company — People that perform similar roles, or supervise the same or similar areas as you, or things you aspire to. Look for people with more time on the job and with more experience, especially if they have worked at other places. Above all, look for people that others look up to and hold in high regard. Those are voices of value.
- Join Groups With Similar Affinities — These would be groups that share your common interests. For example, if you are a Human Resources professional, a group of other HR Professionals. If you are in Finance, a group of CFOs, or Professional Accountants or Economists. If you are a Technologist, a Tech related group. You get the idea. Once you become a member, watch, listen, observe what people have to say and how it is received. Who do people listen to and engage with the most? Who do they gravitate to? Who commands the audience and has earned respect? These are voices of value.
- Attend Conferences or Trade Shows That Feature Sessions and Speakers — A good speaker doesn’t have to be world-renowned or famous. In fact, most if not all of the world-renowned speakers, presenters, authors were not at all well known once upon a time. Attend the sessions. Listen. See what the audiences think. Observe how the presenter behaves, what they say, how they say it. You just might find a voice of value you can follow in your area of interest. And if the speaker is just starting out, you may be lucky enough to engage with them early on before they develop such a huge following that you are now just part of the mass audience.
- Go Back To School — Perhaps you are still attending college. Or maybe its been a while since you set foot on campus. Either way, take a look at your current or former professors. If it’s been a while, go back, virtually if you can’t physically. What do they stand for? What are they lecturing on? What are they saying? Writing? Publishing? Does it resonate with you and your values? Do they have a following? Are they respected? These individuals are potential voices of value.
- Take a Fresh Look at Family Members — I recently r-engaged with members of my family that I had not had meaningful conversations with in quite a while. I discovered some deep thinking, interesting discussions, broad perspectives, and sound advice. You might just discover a voice of value, or two, or three among your family members.
Make sure who you are listening to, being influenced by and following is adding value and not leading you off a cliff. You are not a lemming…