Best Advice Ever

What is the best advice you ever got? We polled some staff members and came up with a few gems.

• At Dave’s first job, a supervisor told him, “I don’t think you’re lazy, but based on all your questions, it’s clear you haven’t made much effort to figure out the answers for yourself.” Lesson learned.

• Troy remembers an experience from his second job. He was supposed to make a large morning delivery for a landscaping project for a bank. Instead he was hanging out with his buddies and didn’t show up until the afternoon. His boss, also a friend of the family and church pastor, called him into his office. Still in his pajamas, he told Troy he’d been up all night passing kidney stones, and since 8 a.m. he’d been getting calls about the delivery. He then said, “I don’t care if you call and tell me to jump in a lake. You call me. Now get to work.” The rare occasions Troy can’t be on time, he calls.

• Chris’s dad once told him, “Anything in life that is worth learning, is worth the risk of failure. The mistakes made during that failure are the stepping stones of attaining continued success." Three months before her passing, Chris’s grandmother said, "Life will always throw obstacles in your path to bettering yourself, no matter if it is physical, mental, or emotional. Don’t fret. These obstacles are needed to grow into the person you were meant to be."

• Shawn told his grandfather that he would help him with something, but when the time came he was busy and forgot, as teenagers are prone to do. A few days later his grandfather said, "Give out promises sparingly and keep all that you give. Saying you will do something is a promise.” If his grandpa told him he would help or see him, he always did, so Shawn has striven to follow his example ever since then.

• The best advice George ever got was from his sales mentor of several years ago, who taught him that the most important way to differentiate himself from his competitors is through ethical conduct. According to George, “I met with an office manager who, in a very indirect way, informed me that one of my competitors had offered a bribe for their business, and it took me a while to figure out that she was asking me for similar perks. I explained that strict industry regulations prohibited that practice, and ended the meeting. The Doctor chased me into the parking lot, saying it was a misunderstanding, and demanded that I forget the conversation.”  

George said, “After the incident, I called my mentor to ask for his advice.  He said I had done the right thing, and that a regulatory violation would be a lot more trouble than hooking one account. My mentor then told me this story: Another sales rep brought one of his client's a fruit basket, and around one of the oranges, was a Rolex watch. That office manager told the other rep that they ‘don't accept fruit in this office,’ and rejected the basket.

George continued to handle that account, gradually winning back their business with great service. Eventually the company that had been offering bribes went out of business.

• As a teenager, Glen wrote down useful advice he got. He kept this list in his wallet for many years. Here are a few quotes from Glen:
- It’s good to have something to talk about, but don’t always insist on talking about it.
- I don’t know yet, but I know that I can know.
- A friend is someone who takes you as you are, and leaves you a little better.
- Worry is using energy to get something you don’t want.

Shortly after college, I was working as a Collection Specialist for a manufacturer of very high ticket items. A co-worker said she couldn’t imagine doing my job, which sometimes involved talking to VP’s of GM, GE, etc., because she’d be too nervous. I told her that I could do it because I didn’t think of them as being any different than anyone else. Later I realized it was one of my mother’s sayings that had stuck with me: “They all put their pants on one leg at a time.”

We’d also like to share your insights. Please follow the link below to add your comments telling us what advice you’ve gotten that has helped you succeed, or what advice you would give to others based on your experiences.

Adam Irby