Advice is tricky. If it’s unwelcome or poorly timed, it can feel like an ill-fitting sweater — constricting, itchy and unflattering. Even if it’s solid wisdom, maybe it’s just not the right fit or style for the person on the receiving end.
But advice that’s desired — and imparted with empathy, experience and humility? That’s like a favorite pair of jeans you come back to year after year because they make you feel like the best version of yourself.
I give advice for a living. Here are some pointers that I keep on steady rotation. Here are 10 pieces of well-worn advice. I hope you find something that resonates.
1. ‘There’s more than one way to do something’
I remember scrubbing a pan when I was maybe 8 or 9 years old. There was something stuck on the pan that wouldn’t come off, and I just kept scrubbing it. My dad stopped me, grabbed a fork and just scraped it off. And he looked at me and said, “There’s more than one way to do something.” From that moment on, I’ve been looking at every problem in my life like how can I do this a different way?
2. ‘The hate will come at the same rate as the love’
The best advice I ever received was that the hate will come at the same rate as the love. There will always be people who are so dissatisfied with themselves that they have to project that onto other people. And instead of trying to focus on the negativity, I tend to try to put more energy into the people and the things that are showing me love, support and good energy.
3. ‘Being vulnerable means taking off our armor’
I was talking with a client about how I didn’t mind being vulnerable as long as I knew the other person would be warm, that they wouldn’t judge and all of that. And I said, “that’s not vulnerable. Being vulnerable means taking off our armor and going in not knowing how we’ll be received, but putting ourselves out there a little bit anyway.”
4. ‘Go where the energy goes’
The best piece of advice I ever received was “Go where the energy goes.” What has good vibes? What makes you feel good about yourself? Where is that good energy? Head in that direction.
5. ‘It’s not all about you’
The best piece of advice I was given was, “It’s not all about you.” When I’m in a situation where a tough decision has to be made and it feels personal, I remind myself it’s not all about me, and that I’m one piece of a bigger universe that’s at play right now.
6. Expect yourself to change
We all change every five years or so. More or less, we have to expect ourselves to change, and we have to expect people in our lives to change. That little piece of advice has given me a lot of space for room and for growth.
7. ‘When people show you who they are, believe them’
When people show you who they are, believe them. Far too often, I have seen us try to recreate who we want people to be, only to later find out they are exactly what they’ve been demonstrating.
8. Pace out your self-improvement
Don’t be so overly involved with your self-improvement. Accept the gifts and abilities that you have, and don’t spend so much time trying to develop new ones that you sacrifice your gifts. Be yourself.
9. It’s OK to say ‘I don’t know’
Something I’ve benefited a lot from is telling yourself, “I don’t know. And that’s exactly where I should be when I take that first step.” I’m as ready as I ever will be. I’m going to do it, and I’ll know more after.
10. Be consistent
In a way that feels good for you, whether it’s exercise, waking up at a certain time, calling a relative. Whatever it is, show up for yourself consistently. That’s how you create trust in yourself and how others trust you.