4 Reasons Why Good Advice Won’t Work for You


2014 Mark SanbornAll contents under the heading “Article” were written by Mark Sanborn who is a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), recipient of the Council of Peers Award for Excellence (CPAE), past president of the National Speakers Association (NSA), international bestselling author, and noted authority on leadership, team building, customer service and change. I would have shared his article electronically rather than copied it into my post, but I received a paper version of his article and I could not easily share the article with a single click. I believe the article is worth sharing and I believe the article is pertinent to our community.


Isn’t good advice always worth taking? And don’t we all want good advice from whoever can give it?

The reality is that people sometimes ask for advice when they are really seeking affirmation or validation. And if you give them anything less than that, they’ll be at least disappointed, and at worst angry.

But even the best advice won’t always work. Here are four reasons why good advice won’t work for you. These reasons might answer some questions or demystify dilemmas you’ve faced in the past.

1. You don’t think you need it.

You can’t help somebody who doesn’t think they need it, and these people aren’t usually seeking good advice. Sometimes someone who doesn’t think they need help will ask for advice for appearances, or to ingratiate themselves to someone.

Even if the non-learner stumbles upon worthwhile information in a speech or seminar, they will dismiss it – it becomes seed falling among the stones.

(And as I mentioned earlier, don’t see affirmation under the guise of wanting feedback or advice. Those are very different things.)

2. The advice is good but you’re the wrong person.

The relevancy of the advice is dependent on the person and their situation.

I’m always amused when I hear aspiring authors say that Seth Godin doesn’t need a publisher so they don’t either. Really? Unless your situation, renown and abilities are similar to Seth’s, advice that is good for him won’t necessarily be good for you.

Likewise, you might be past the point in your speaking career where the advice offered is relevant. It might apply to someone with less experience, but it won’t reward you in where you’re at in your journey.

3. You get good advice at the wrong time.

Sometimes advice arrives when you’re not in a position to apply it immediately. There are more urgent or pressing matters to attend to, or you don’t have the necessary resources. If this is the case, put it on your “to do as soon as possible” list.

Sometimes it is the “wrong time,” and the advice might be too uncomfortable or painful. You need to wait until you’re able to accept it gracefully.

4. You don’t recognize it as good advice.

You might not like the advice you’re getting because it is difficult or painful to accept. The best advice often comes from friends and colleagues who love us enough to tell us the truth. Don’t let the unpleasantness of advice prevent you from recognizing its value.

So what is good advice? It is information relevant to you and your business based on where you are at in a particular point in time. Advice that comes too late or too early won’t be helpful to you. And you must be receptive to what it suggests you do.

Call to Action

If you have advice about recovery from life-threatening adversity that may help someone, please share your advice in the comment section below this post. Perhaps, a reader is at the right point in his or her journey to recognize the value of your advice.


Click here to read another Beyond Injury post.

Thanks to Mark Sanborn who wrote the article I referenced in this post; and all the people who, directly and indirectly, made it possible for me to use the picture and text I used in this post.


  1. Great insight here. There is so much more to giving and receiving advice than meets the eye (and ear, and heart!). Thank you for sharing.

    1. Rosemary, thank you for sharing your comment. Anyone can give advice, but the art of giving and receiving great advice seems like a skill acquired through practice. Intuitive, I think we all know what to do, but many people fail to practice something they think they know. I appreciate your comment. Thank you. ~ Scott

    1. Mark, thank you for allowing me to share your article with some of the many people who could benefit from reading your words. ~ Scott

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