How often do you post something online and some absolute turd comes along and drops some unsolicited advice or says, “you should do X, Y and Z. I think this this and this” 

I bet it is quite often. Those people often mean well, sort of. But all the same, jog on. Do not be that person. If someone asks for advice, then give it especially if it’s in your remit. If they have not asked for the advice, then keep it to your fucking self. Nobody asked. So do not provide, they don’t want it. To think otherwise is an absolute fallacy. 

We all fall into the trap at times in our lives and in our business. Somebody will say something, and for the most part, it will be a flippant statement. But they’ll say something and you instantly jump into, “I can help this person I have a solution”. 

But they didn’t ask for a solution. They don’t want your solution, they just want to talk about their issue. They want to say their piece and be done with it. For the most part, that’s all they want. If they follow that up with, “so what you think”, or, “what should I do?”, Or, “do you have any advice?”, then by all means, crack on. But unless that has happened, keep your advice to yourself, it is not wanted. They will let me know when they want it. 

Unsolicited advice or unrequested input never goes down well

Regardless of whether they need it, they have to want it for it to go down well. You obviously want it to go down well because you care enough to give that person advice in the first place. So you need to be tactful about it, you need to wait until they actually ask or at least imply that they are looking for some sort of a solution. Then, and only then can you leap forward and say, “well, I may have a solution for you. Have you considered x y&z?” 

Never, ever, ever go in with, “you need to…”, or, “you should…”, or, “You could…”, or, “If I were you…”

Those people are not you, roleplay is not what they asked for. Accept that and move on with your life, accept that they don’t want you to tell them what to do. They want you to give them some things to consider and think about. Absolutely. 

Your well intentioned but unsolicited advice is not as altruistic as you think

If they have made the right noises. That is, if they have explicitly said, “what do you think? Do you have any advice?”, and so on. But they do not want you ramming instructions down their throat like you’re their dad and they’re five years old. They are not a child, you are not their parent. So give it a rest. And even if they were, how disrespectful is that? Honestly, think about it. From their perspective. How demeaning is it? 

You might be saying to them, yes, I think you should do this. But what they hear is, “why didn’t you think of this? What a fucking idiot?” 

You might think that’s quite a leap but, you have to bear in mind that human beings, yourself included, are emotional creatures. They think in terms of feeling. People aren’t Vulcan, we’re human. Everybody, and I really do mean everybody, thinks in terms of how they feel. There is no way around that fact. 

You come at them with, “you should do this”. And they hear “why didn’t you do this?” It feels like an attack, don’t attack people, you’re trying to help people. So don’t attack them. 

Give them something to think about

And the way you word things is important, it matters. “Have you thought about this?” “Have you considered this”, is much gentler. That is a much more pleasant thing to hear. There will still be an element of the attack in that, at least from their perception. You can’t eliminate that completely. But you can soften the blow by wording things gently. 

I’m not suggesting we treat people like children. But I’m also not suggesting that you bark orders at people either. People need you to be gentle. If they want your advice, they will ask for it. 

To ask for advice requires an element of vulnerability

And when they do actually ask for it, you need to recognise that that person is being vulnerable with you. They don’t want you to ram it down their throats. “Well, why didn’t you think of this”, “I would do this”, when you’re not them. Only they are. 

You’re not in that position. They are. So give them some things to consider, to think about, point some factors out, or some things out that they’ve missed. So they can draw their own conclusion. Be gentle and don’t violate people by barking orders at them, with your “Do this, do it now” instruction. 

It’s not an army boot camp, they’ve asked you for a bit of advice. They’ve not told you, “right, boss me around and treat me bad”. You’re no in an S&M dungeon, there are no whips and chains. It is strictly a conversation between two emotional beings. Recognise and accept that, and apply your advice gently. Don’t just ram it in. Be gentle. 

You’re not the boss of me

They are not, and I cannot stress this enough, they are not people that are after being ordered around because there are no people that want to be ordered around. Never, ever, ever does a person want you to detract from their independence. 

Yes, they want some help and they’ve been vulnerable enough to ask for some help, but they want that help delivered gently. They want you to help them be more independent, not detract from their independence. 

Unsolicited advice is the ultimate detractor when it comes to independence. 

It is the ultimate, “I’m telling you what to do because you’re fucking stupid.” 

That’s what unsolicited advice is. Even though you don’t mean it in that way, that’s what you’re doing. So keep your unsolicited advice to yourself. Use that information in your own life to avoid their current situation. Absolutely. But if they want that information, they will ask for it and they will do so, and they will be vulnerable enough to do so when they’re good and ready.

You need to be kind and compassionate enough to deliver it gently, to help them come to that conclusion themselves. And that is it. No, “you should do this. If I were you I would have done x y&z”, just give them some things to consider. To enable them to draw that conclusion themselves.

Unsolicited advice is about as wanted as gonorrhoea to keep it to yourself.

There’s only a few basic things you really need to worry about as a business owner

The things you need to concern yourself with as a business owner are actually very simple. Not only that but most of the things you do worry about are either a byproduct of something else or they are entirely out of your control.

I wrote a post about the things you should actually be worrying about, here

If you are looking for advice about your business then slide over to my company website and send me a message. I love to answer your questions, so fire away 

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