Chapter 6

Those Who Know Are Where To Go

Today's Empowering Quote

"Listen to everything a man has to say about what he knows, but don't let him advise you about what he doesn't know.  And usually he doesn't know too much about what's best for you."
-Barney Balaban

Today's Empowering Question

"Whose advice have I been listening to?  Has it helped?  Where can I get the most helpful information and feedback?"

Today's Fast Session

Doesn't it seem like everywhere you turn someone is willing to tell you how to get rid of your problems...whether they know what they're talking about or not?  The danger is when you start to listen to it.  You'll usually find that your advisor/critics rarely, if ever, follow their own advice.

I was recently watching the NY Yankees play the NY Mets, when a commercial came on that starred Mike Piazza, the catcher for the Mets.  He's having a rough season so far.

In the commercial, here's Mike standing on the street.  A guy in a truck asks Mike, "How deep is right field?"  Mike says, "About 330 feet."  Then the guy asks, "How deep is center field?"  Mike says, "About 410 feet."  So the guy says to Mike, "Hit it to right field!"

The game announcers remarked that those kinds of interactions happen all the time between players and fans.

Here's an important question: Who are you listening to?

Do you take advice and criticism from people who have no business giving it out?  Is it usually helpful?

Now don't get me wrong.  Criticism delivered properly is healthy, course correcting feedback... if you seek to learn.

Too often though, critics have other agendas.  And they couldn't take their own advice if their lives depended on it.

The problem with hearing unwanted or unwarranted criticism is that it often isn't put in a constructive way, so instead of getting, "You know I read that walking just 20-30 minutes a day can help you lose x # of pounds.  Have you tried that?" you usually hear, "You are fat.  You better start exercising."

This from a person who probably only puts on a pair of sweat pants to sleep in.

Here are a few bad examples of well meaning but potentially costly advice.

-You should get into XYZ stock. It's been climbing for a year.
-I take Supercalifragilistic weight loss pills and I lost 13 pounds.  You ought to try it, too.  A doctor made it.
-I quit smoking cold turkey.  That's the only way that works.
-Don't let it get to you.  What you need is a drink.
-Vegetarian?  How do you get protein?  You have to eat meat.

When I was failing at selling, everyone had advice.  The trouble was, the people giving it were the furthest thing from professionals.

So in addition to reading books, listening to tapes and going to seminars, I set up an evaluation system that told me with absolute accuracy if I was doing a good job that day.

I graded my performance each day on about 30 different factors.    Everything from number of calls, how I greeted someone, my facial expressions, question structure, listening with empathy, concern for their problems instead of mine, answering questions, building value, etc.  It was an extremely thorough, honest assessment.

After each appointment, I pulled out my sheet and filled in the grades for each factor. It took 1-2 minutes, and was brutally honest at telling me where I needed to improve.  Many salespeople who knew me asked me how I turned it all around so fast.  I didn't offer it.  They asked first.  When I'd tell them what I did, they couldn't believe something so simple could work so well.

And every single one of those salespeople continued on their mediocre ways.  Many left the sales profession all together.

Imagine that.  They had a world record holder willing to share a critical idea, yet they continued listening to their equally inept co-workers instead.  Very few people want constructive criticism, even if it's just from

So I have two tiny little suggestions...

One, don't give advice.  People don't want it.  They don't use it.  And they'll get sick of hearing it.  If you must, be a sounding board instead. When people hear themselves out loud, they often get the answer they were looking for without outside advice.  It's hard enough to change yourself.  Changing others is fifty times more difficult.

And two, don't let critics ruin your mood.  Not even for a minute.  If someone comes along and gives you their two cents and you find yourself feeling powerless, make a mental note, "This is what I get when I let just anyone mess with my esteem and confidence."

Listen to yourself and to people who have overcome the same challenges that you're working on.  That's it.  Talk to people about your challenges, but unless they've overcome the same thing, be careful about taking their suggestions.

It could be very costly to your emotional, physical and financial health.

Today's Winning Beliefs

-- I seek out advice from the appropriate places
-- I check out all options when I make important decisions
-- I'm good at evaluating the value of advice
-- I'm in solid control of my own self-esteem
-- I am honest with myself in areas that need improvement

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