An advisor can help you save time, money and see you out of a rough spot. But how do know if the advice you’re getting is good advice for you? When you have nothing to calibrate against or are up against a wall, it’s hard to differentiate useful from useless.
Learning to ride a motorcycle teaches you lessons beyond riding. Because of the vulnerability and potential risk, you need to make sure you’re getting the best information. Use those same criteria to accept other guidance.
9 ways to differentiate good advice from bad
- Is true. “Look where you want to go,” is good advice for a motorcycle rider. It’s proven time and again. Good advice goes beyond the experiences of the advisor and includes real-life examples from others who have used it successfully. Read: The Difference Between Good and Bad Advice
- Calls for action. Many aspire to ride a motorcycle on the open road. That doesn’t make them proficient riders. You can’t just dream something into being or wait for it to fall into your lap. Good advice will confirm your goal, tell you specifically where to start and how to take the next steps towards your goal.
- Is unique to you. Everyone learns at their own pace and in their own manner. While motorcycle courses follow an approved curriculum, a good instructor observes student’s behavior and uses different approaches to facilitate transfer of learning.
- Is not forced on you. Whether it’s to make a decision, spend money or commit to a course of action, a good advisor presents you with the facts and then leaves it to you to decide whether or not to accept the advice. Read: Why Anxiety Makes you a Sucker for Bad Advice
- Facilitates personal growth. Although instructors will coach you to push beyond your comfort zone, they won’t do so without knowing you have the skills to do so. Invariably, good advice helps you discover capabilities you weren’t aware of, grow in confidence and want to learn more.
- Carries supporting evidence. You wouldn’t ask your mechanic how to create a website or turn to an IT professional for mechanical advice. Look for advisors who have a history of experience in the area you’re asking about.
- Is facilitative, not directive. I can’t ride your motorcycle for you. Good advice doesn’t take away personal accountability. It gives you the information you need, creates the environment and helps you build the structure to do it yourself.
- Is forward looking and constructive. You stand where you are in your life, looking towards the future. The past is behind you. Good advice doesn’t dwell on mistakes or lay blame. It uses those lessons and the truth of whom you are to help you move forward towards your goal.
- Feels right. The final test. If the advice you’ve received passes all the thresholds above yet there’s a nagging feeling that it isn’t right for you, listen to your intuition. It’s always right. Figure out where the disconnect is, ask more questions and if necessary, select another advisor.
Bad advice can leave you frustrated, headed down the wrong path or at risk of personal harm. You may not feel good about a particular situation or like what you hear, but the right advice will give you hope, inspiration and a solid action plan for moving on.