Do You Take the Good Advice That You’re Given?
- Almost everyone knows, or has known, a person who simply refuses to take a single bit of good advice given to them. Instead, they close themselves off to it and continue to travel down a destructive path, usually in denial that they’re doing it.
- Mentors coach and advise mentees in order to help them take advantage of their expertise and years of wisdom. When mentees listen and take a mentor’s advice, they not only become better at whatever they’re learning about, but also become better as mentors to others in the future.
- Although it’s ironic, this works in the opposite direction too: when mentors are open to listening to their mentees, they become even better mentors.
- The benefits flow both ways between mentor and mentee, like two sides of the same coin.
“It’s the good advice that you just didn’t take.” That’s a line from a song that came out in 1996 called Ironic by Canadian artist, Alanis Morissette. Why would I bring up this song and, in particular, this line from it? This song was on the top 10 list back in its day and every time I hear it, I think of someone in my life who is having a hard time taking any advice whatsoever. It’s as if they’re closed off to everything.
This person is being given good advice by, maybe, multiple people and, despite that, they’re continuing to go down this really destructive path. It’s very difficult to witness and is a little like watching a car crash happen, but the people in the car have no idea (or refuse to admit) it’s happening.
In a backwards sort of way, this scenario pops into my head when I think about mentoring, specifically about the mentor and mentee. I’ve been a mentee on many occasions in my life; and, today I have many people mentoring me in phenomenal ways. I’ve found that the more open I am to listening to them as a mentee, the better I become as a mentor.
That line of reasoning may seem a little backwards, but it really isn’t because it’s like a two-sided coin. You always have both sides. We may think we’re only on the one side, but that other side is always there, regardless. So, mentors also get better when listening to mentees and, likewise, when mentees remain open to receiving and taking good advice, they become better mentors.
As we age and gain experience in certain areas, people seek advice from us more often and we may find ourselves in the mentor role much more frequently. This is certainly true for me—I’m called upon to be a mentor more often nowadays. And I always have to remind myself that I will learn more from the mentees than I’m going to be able to teach them as a mentor. Staying open to learning from my mentees makes me better in the role of mentor. It’s a different way to look at this relationship, but that line from Ironic lays it out perfectly: “It’s the good advice that you just didn’t take.” Until next time, enjoy.
Gary Klaben is in our Glenview, IL office and serves our clients who are now located all over the country. He has over 30 years of experience and is the author of Changing the Conversation, Wealth of Everything and co-author of The Business Battlefield. Whether advising his clients, mentoring his team, or coaching entrepreneurs, he is always simplifying complexity and motivating others to take the next action that’s right for them.
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