What Would Happen to You If You Tried to Follow Every Piece of Advice Ever Given to You?

I was attending a day long women's leadership conference at a local university. It was an annual conference with a few hundred attendees. I remember attending the previous year and wished that instead of all panel discussions on a specific topic, that they would sprinkle a few workshops or presentations by an individual speaker on popular leadership issues. The conference did have a keynote speaker at lunch, which was delightful.

I was sitting in on one panel and one question posed to the panelists really intrigued me. It was about stolen ideas at work and how to respond. Everyone had a different opinion. One person said to pick your battles and sometimes when another claims your idea for their own it isn't worth it to correct them. Another person said to state that you liked how they picked up on your original idea and added their own twist to it and go on to clarify your idea and thoughts on implementation. Others said to address it in private. Each panelist had a different opinion based on their style and personality. It was important for the listeners to realize they needed to take the advice under consideration, assess their situations and determine their own best path. They also needed to reflect on ways they could prevent their ideas from being stolen in the first place. Paying attention to our inner guidance is key.

I also participated on an SPE (Society of Petroleum Engineers) MIT (Members In Transition) panel around the same time. We were providing advice and tips on finding a job, including interviewing and resumes. One person asked how long a resume should be. One fellow said don't worry about that - just get in front of people. A second person said no more than two pages. Another person in the recruiting industry said four or more pages were ok. I said it depends on your experience and what the interviewing company is looking for - that two pages were a typical recommended length but if your career has spanned decades and the job requirements are expansive, you may want to include more. So everyone had a different opinion. It would drive the listeners crazy to try to please all of us or adhere to all of the recommendations.

Following everyone's advice will have you running around like a squirrel, darting from one idea, plan or project to another and you will end up exhausted.

It is ok to ask for and listen to advice. But don't act on it without thinking it through. Pay attention to what parts of it resonate with you and what parts don't feel right. Formulate your own plan forward based on what you perceive to be the best route for you. Copying other people's ways of doing things will not necessarily get you the same results they experienced.

When have you asked several people for advice on the same issue - what kind of responses did you get? How did you decide what to do?

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