This is a catch-22 for new business owners. On one hand, it’s an honor to be able to consult people who you perceive as successful. On the other hand, everyone has different advice which is sometimes conflicting. Third, you will find that people are not as knowledgeable as you’d thought they would be, which would forever change your perception of them.
So, what do you do?
- Ask questions
- Listen to everyone
- Have an open mind
By asking questions, you will get answers to your curious questions or uncover additional information you hadn’t previously thought of. You will also get clarification on things which were confusing to you. More importantly, you will find out how much a person really does or does not know.
Everyone has his or her own experiences. Some learned from them; others were the victims in their situations. Then there are people who are extreme exaggerators.
Listen to everyone and try to determine who is credible and ethical. Many people talk a good game; very few live it. True colors will eventually show. Also, your movers and shakers vs. fakers radar will activate more quickly with more experience you gain.
Have an Open Mind
Having an open mind alleviates lots of disappointments. Many times we have perceptions of people, and when they do not meet those standards, it typically results in disappointment or some other negative feeling.
An open mind also allows you to see people and situations differently from others. For example, you and three other people could be at a function and someone says something that is perceived differently by each of you. Generally speaking, most people veer on the side of negativity first. You, on the other hand, my not agree with the statement, but may take a neutral stance to try to understand the person and or the statement before passing judgment. Or, you just may not care about the statement and let it pass like water under a bridge.
I am a scholastic sponge. I love learning and will sit at the feet of anyone who is willing to educate me. However, over the years I have learned that I have to choose my “wise counsel” carefully, and the best way to do that is to ask questions, to really listen to what is being said, and to have an open mind.
Tell us about a time you had a chance to speak with someone you looked up to as a successful business person and had disappointing results. What are some of your business mistakes regarding listening to others?