When you start something new and interesting, a lot of people have something to say about it. They’re excited, and they want to share everything they know with you. Or, they just want to pick you apart and ruin the party. Boo!
Often, this comes in the form of unsolicited advice.
- “You should really do _______.”
- “Have you thought about ______?”
- “How are you going to be successful if you don’t ______?”
Now, advice is a funny thing. Everyone’s got some for you, and they all think their version is the best!
What are you to do? You don’t want to tune out all advice; some of it’s really good! But you also don’t want to fall into the trap of trying to please everyone who has an idea for you. Last week, I even got an email with a five-point checklist of things the sender expected me to complete to his satisfaction by the following week!
I read his email, thought about it, and replied with, “Thanks. I’ll get right to work on that!” I didn’t.
A smart Riskologist accepts all advice, but acts on little. She creates a system that allows her to accept all criticism, critiques, and words of wisdom that come her way, but then filters that advice so that she’s left with only the best.
But how does that system work? How do you know what advice is best? What do you discard? What do you save?
Recently, I launched a new business project and had to come up with a system to solve this problem quickly. The second we opened our doors we were flooded with emails from friends, relatives, customers, and everyone else you can think of.
They meant well, but they overwhelmed us. So, I devised a very simple rule of thumb I now follow in order to parse the advice that matters:
All unsolicited advice must be accompanied by a payment of $29.
Why $29? Because that’s what it costs to be a customer of this new business, and our customers’ advice is the most important feedback available to us.
Our time and ability to implement advice is limited, so if we’re going to disregard some, it’s going to be the advice that comes from those that aren’t paying us to submit it!
How’s that for turning the tables? Most people pay to have advice given to them. From here on out, I’m only accepting any that comes with a payment.
This rule guarantees the advice I listen to is the advice that has the best shot of helping our business grow more. Implement it, and customers are happy and spend more. Simple.
Maybe your circumstances are different–charging money for advice isn’t the best fit for every situation—but you still need a system.
When you do something interesting—and that’s what Riskologists do—everyone wants a say in how it goes.
But the only opinions that matter are the ones that come with some sort of skin in the game. If you can find those opinions and stick to listening only to them, you win.
For me, that means unsolicited advice must also come with a $29 payment. All other ideas go to the back of line!
What’s your system? How will you make sure you’re listening to the right people in your life?