Almost four years ago I left my full time job to return to my entrepreneurial roots and pursue my publishing dreams. Within a couple of months I knew I needed the help and advice of a professional coach to help me organize my new office space and to simplify my systems. Calling Marcia Ramsland was the best investment I could have made as a creative entrepreneur. Listening to her advice and acting on it set me on a trajectory to do the work I love, to double my income, and to finally finish writing and publishing the one book I hope will change the world.

Why should this matter to you? Because today you too are cementing (or sabotaging) your future—perhaps without realizing it—merely by the way you respond to the advice others are sharing with you.

The First Response Factor

When I think of all the people and coaching clients I’ve worked with over the years, I can quickly separate them into two distinct categories based solely on one criteria: How they first respond to advice. But at the end of the day, they all share one thing in common—the way they respond to advice ultimately cements a predictable future.

Case #1: “Yes, but…”

Take Dr. Smart (not her real name), for example. She came to our coaching relationship with many years of education and professional experience under her belt—not to mention numerous letters after her name. Her curse was years of knowledge and a “I need to prove I’m smart” attitude, forgetting that she needed to make changes in order to pursue her creative passion.

Her first responses to advice were keeping her stuck, and they sounded something like this:

  • “I don’t think that will work…”
  • “Yes, but…”
  • “It doesn’t feel right…”
  • “I don’t know…”
  • “My research tells me that…”
  • “That’s not me.”
  • “It’s not resonating…”
  • “I don’t think that’ll work for me…”

Sometimes her first response was silence with body language that was worth a hundred objections.

Sound familiar?  Fortunately, this very smart lady now gets it and is making great strides towards her goals.

Case #2: “I receive it…”

A few years ago I was having lunch with a colleague who was experiencing negative consequences from her communication style in the workplace. It was killing me to see her sabotage herself, so I decided to share some of my observations that concluded with, “May I share a piece of advice?” She nodded, somewhat surprised.

When I finished sharing, it was I who was surprised with her first response.  She sat back and took a deep breath as if buying herself some time. After what felt like a minute, she said, “I receive it.” She went on to thank me for caring enough to share and promised to reflect on what I had said.

The Bottom Line

Advice, whether sought or not, from a friend or a foe, can be an unexpected gift—if you are willing to start with: “I accept it” or “I’m willing to consider it.”

That’s my advice for you. The next time someone gives you advice, consider choosing one of these two responses:

  • “I receive it.” or…
  • “I’m willing to consider it.”

Our first response to advice can either keep us stuck or move us forward towards a future where our blind spots are removed and where we can see our most ambitious aspirations realized.

Best piece of advice

“Stop fighting for your limitations unless you want to keep them.”

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