We don’t like asking the advice of others especially when it is exposing a weakness in ourselves. However, keeping quiet and not asking is a recipe for disaster.
Sure, to err is human and I believe we learn more from our mistakes than we do from our successes however it is better to make an informed mistake rather than an un-informed one.
The advice of others can improve your decision making
When considering any new task, even if you have researched thoroughly and formed your opinion or decision, I would urge that you run it past someone that you trust, respect or has more knowledge than you in the field.
If you worry about what they may think of you asking for the advice of others, perhaps you need to consider what you are afraid of. Do you feel as if you must behave like the expert, all knowing and all powerful? Are you worried they will think less of you? If their reaction is to belittle you; they were the wrong person to ask. Yes, choose who you ask for help carefully, but don’t suffer on alone when you are stuck or not quite sure if you are on the right track.
In my experience, truly successful people are willing to give advice generously and they also ask the advice of others. They are not so proud that they don’t value other’s perspective and their motivation is to achieve the best they can. Whether that is a new product, approach, way of thinking or a service; getting advice from others can improve the outcome.
The advice of others can spot mistakes
A fresh pair of eyes on things is never a bad thing. Sometimes we get too close to our subject and can miss a vital or obvious detail that they may spot. If their knowledge is greater, helpful suggestions normally follow which only goes to improve your final offering.
This is why I am an advocate for mentors. I develop relationships and connections with people that I do value the advice of and they are my first port of call before launching any new idea or concept into the public domain. One of the greatest benefits of mentors is that they bring their own experience to the table, but they will often challenge you to take risks. They should also be part of your circle of positive people I have written about before, which helps you to take a positive approach to your challenges.
Even the most apparently successful and famous people have mentors. There is always someone who knows more than you and, conversely, someone who knows less. The trick is knowing who to ask and who, in return you can offer advice to. It is a two-way street, this giving of advice.
It is especially crucial to tap into the expertise of mentors if you are an entrepreneur. Starting a business can be scary, but it does not have to be a solo journey.
The idea of launching a business should no longer be a scary or daunting experience, riddled with unknowns. It should be a collaborative experience accumulating the learnings of the hundreds of local entrepreneurs who have already built successful businesses, and can help you move faster and avoid known pitfalls based on their years of experience, as entrepreneurs themselves.
Beware the advice dragons!
There is a however. Sometimes we can get too much advice and sometimes it is not asked for. I would always advise that you politely listen but remember that in the end it is your decision. There are, sadly, those whose sense of self-importance extends to giving frequently unasked-for advice.
These are often those who are threatened by a new way of thinking; the “out of the box” idea that challenges the old way of doing things. Try to pick through the advice to discern bias from practical suggestions and see if there is any truth you can use. Sometimes within their negative reaction are kernels of truth you may need to accept.
However, ultimately you are the one who must live with the outcomes of any decisions you make, not those advising you.
Provided you are willing to accept the consequences, good or bad, of your informed decision then go with it even if it is at the expense of ignoring some of the advice of others you have received.