Evaluating advice from other people

How do you handle random advice?
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I don’t know about you, but I listen to an obscene number of podcasts.

And I don’t listen to comedians or works of fiction, I listen to podcasts about the things I’m interested in doing — content creation, YouTube, audio, video and the like.

And the unintended consequence is that I am often bombarded with unsolicited advice every single day.

I thought it might be worthwhile to explore how I negotiate all of this and some things that might help you along the way too.

Hi, I’m John Lacey and this is Build A Presentation Muscle.

Too much advice is never enough

I’m sure you’ve experienced some version of this. You’ve just read an article that gives 3000 ‘must do’ tips on whatever it is that you’re trying to achieve. Perversely the 3000th tip is often, “But don’t overthink it.” It’s a form of madness really.

People on the Internet have opinions and they’re rarely shy in sharing them. Taking everything you hear to heart is a surefire recipe for disaster, especially since much of the advice will contradict other pieces of advice.

There are opportunities everywhere. But opportunity cost is real. One hour of Instagram outreach is an hour you can’t spend on something else. So it’s important to be intentional.

So how do you evaluate the advice of other people?

Knowing yourself

Before we even start considering outside input, it’s important you know yourself. When you can set some parameters around what you’re interested in doing and what your goals are, this will help you establish what falls outside of your scope and help you avoid scope creep.

What are your goals?

It’s important to not spread yourself too thin. If you have one or two overarching goals you essentially have a framework with which to consider new opportunities.

If your goal is to grow your YouTube channel and a new opportunity shows up on your desk, immediately you can say ‘Will this help me grow my YouTube channel?’

How much can you do right now?

Time, energy and money are finite resources. You can’t do everything all at once. There’s a good chance if you’re just starting you have a lot of enthusiasm right now, but it’s important to think about what is truly sustainable over a longer period of time.

It’s been useful for me to think in terms of weekly deliverables. At the moment I try to do these three things each week:

I do like to supplement these with other things, but those are the main points I try to hit each week.

It might be worthwhile thinking about your own deliverables, and committing to one or two things you’ll do on an ongoing basis.

But I think the bigger takeaway is to make sure whatever you do is sustainable. Make time to rest. Burnout is such a common experience for most people today, myself included, and we really need to look at how we manage our energy and expectations.

Evaluating advice

Understand the advice giver

Take a step back and think about the relationship the advice giver has to the advice.

It’s really tempting to want to emulate other people who have been successful. And this may or may not work for you. Often the person giving the advice may be too close to their own experience to understand why something worked for them. Sometimes luck is a factor.

Sometimes the advice they are giving is to buy their service or product. It’s not an unmeaningful coincidence that the person selling the Instagram course thinks that Instagram will solve all your business’ problems. And the advice isn’t malicious —they’re likely invested in Instagram because they’ve had some success there— but it is important to keep this nuance in mind.

People may be invested in different things for a variety of reasons, but there’s always the danger that when you own a hammer, everything can look like a nail.

Dig into the ‘why’

It’s one thing to tell you something is great, it’s another thing to explain why. But this is where you can better understand the thinking that went into the recommendation.

Especially if you’re considering buying some equipment, it can be useful to listen to a number of different reviews and consult the online manual.

Is it right for you?

Will this new approach do something to help you reach your goals? Or is it a distraction?

Marketers frequently weaponise your Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO). They will introduce artificial scarcity. They may inflate the features and benefits to get you to part with your money. Again, this is an important time to keep your eyes on your own goals and not be distracted by the shiny objects.

Is it right for you right now?

You might be interested in exploring a new approach or direction, but is it something you can implement now or would it better to add it to a list of things to consider at another time?

Can you try it before committing?

It could be that a new direction is exactly what you need. But before diving in completely, do you have an opportunity to try it in a small way?

Can you do a trial of some software or subscribe for a single month and put it through its paces?

Can you do a special episode of your show in a different way and signal this to your audience that this might not be a permanent change?

Everyone’s experiences are likely to be a little different. By all means seek out advice from people whose opinion you value, but know that there’s no substitute for trying it out yourself.

Keep your eyes on the prize

It’s great to compare and contrast our experiences with those of others, but don’t be too reactionary when it comes to new ideas and workflows.

For more information about today’s episode head over to JohnLacey.com

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