Recently, someone in a professional setting told me that I was great “management material.” I brushed it off in the moment but gave that comment further consideration later that evening. What even is “management material”? What does that mean? Should I pursue that in my career? Should I clarify that my intention and desires for my life don’t necessarily lie down that path? After a lot of thinking, I think I’ve figured out a few things about myself, and about that situation.
Well-intentioned advice isn’t a bad problem to have, but can be frustrating.
Advice is always a roll of the dice, it could be received in a way you don’t intend or it could be a pivotal moment in someone else’s life. I personally believe that how they take the advice is a reflection of them and not necessarily your advice. Regardless, it has all the makings for a super uncomfortable conversation. A mentor of mine once told me that if someone is taking the time to give you advice or feedback, they think you’re worth their effort and time and that you’re capable of more than you’ve shown. Essentially, it’s a weird flavor of a compliment. Ever since then, I’ve found it much easier to accept feedback and advice from others, but to each their own with that.
Deciding whether to listen to advice is entirely optional.
Whether you decide to gracoiusly accept or explosively reject someone’s advice doesn’t change the outcome–you heard it. You have their advice, living “rent free” in your head. Will it eat away at your brain slowly, will it become your guiding light, or will you just box it up and tuck it away, never to be seen again? That’s entirely up to you. “Oh wow, thanks, I hate it” is a totally valid response to advice in your brain.
What you want is more important than what you’re suited to.
That advice is now your thing. Your toy. Your taskmaster. You can decide what to do with it. I’ll never forget the time I was given the advice to find another career because they didn’t think I was well-suited for what I wanted to do. I’m not unhappy with my life has turned out following that advice, but I will never forget that feeling of having someone give me the unwanted, unwarranted, and frankly untrue advice. I could have pursued that career, but I took that piece of advice to heart and moved on to something else. What if I hadn’t? What if I had kept on the same path, used that advice as fuel to prove them wrong, and kicked ass at it? I’ll never know, but I’ll never accept advice without really thinking about if I want to take it or leave it.
At the end of the day, it’s your life.
Advice can be great, and it can be a joke. Don’t let someone else’s advice be the sole determining factor in how you lead your life. Including this advice. #paradox