Deciding to make a big change in your life, like a career change? Yep, definitely ripe moments for some generously-given counsel.
Often, well-meaning friends, family members, and colleagues are keen to give their two cents—even if you’re not asking—about your career decision, all with the goal of helping you make the right move.
It’s one thing to receive advice that you’ve asked for, from someone whose opinions matter to you. It’s another thing altogether to listen to someone’s unsolicited point of view, particularly if they’re being critical of your career plans.
The truth is, unsolicited advice can be helpful too. If you can remain open to hearing them out, that is. You may gain unexpected insights that can help you make a better decision or clarify your next steps.
Rather than get flustered or defensive, here are 5 things to keep in mind the next time you find yourself at the receiving end of someone’s two cents.
1. Who’s dishing out the unsolicited advice?
Does this person truly have your interest at heart? Does he/she have a unique perspective on the situation that’s worth listening to? Has she experienced something similar in the past, and can shed some light on some truths–no matter how difficult it may be to hear?
2. Can you simply ignore the advice, or must you respond?
Fortunately, no one can force you to listen or follow an advice. Can you simply acknowledge the person, thank him for sharing his thoughts, and move on?
You’ll find that often, there isn’t any need to provide a response or explanation for your actions or decisions.
3. Remember that the advice is always given through the advisor’s filters.
Every advice you’ll hear (including the ones in this post), is shared through the giver’s world view and his own filters.
That’s important to remember. Someone who sees the world as glass-half-empty will tend to look at risks, whereas someone who shows up with a glass-half-full point of view, always sees the opportunities.
Understanding that a person’s advice is at least partly about them, will save you from taking things personally and being inadvertently hurt in the process.
4. Find a way to get the sting out.
Sometimes, the advice just rubs you in all the wrong places, and—whether the person intended it or not—it stings.
If you truly can’t find anything worth harvesting, and it’s simply doing damage to your mindset and confidence level, then you must do everything you can to avoid letting the advice stick.
The worst thing is to let the person’s words find a home in your head, and become another negative voice back there.
If you aren’t able to shake it off by yourself, talk to a friend, a mentor, your therapist even, if you have one. Don’t let their words find a home.
5. Be gracious.
Assume the best in people, and thank the person for his time and the effort he took to share his thoughts.
Best case scenario, the unsolicited advice is helpful and you find some value in it. If not? Change the topic of conversation or simply walk away from it. Remember #3 above, and if it really bites, think about #4.
What’s on Your Mind
How have you dealt with unsolicited advice? Do you have any additional tips to share? Please do so in the comments section below.