From the Archives – Ways to Mindfully Accept Unsolicited Business Advice

November 22, 2023

Mindfully Accepting Unsolicited Business Advice during the Holidays

This time of year, many of us are gathering around the table to celebrate the holiday season with friends, family, and colleagues. And during these get-togethers, it’s all too common to find yourself in a conversation with someone who wants to share their opinions and advice on how you should run your business.

In some cases, this well-intentioned advice is unsolicited so you might not know how to respond. Or perhaps it caught you unaware and now you’re beginning to experience doubt.

In today’s episode straight from the archives, I’m sharing how you can mindfully accept advice so that you’re continuing to pursue your goals for your own success.

Catch the full episode above!


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Please note this transcript has been auto generated and may contain typos.

Hi, friend, and welcome to the Brand Strategy Podcast, a show created to equip you with the inspiration, encouragement, and clarity you need to build a brand of your dreams. I’m your host, Bonnie Bakhtiari, Brand Designer, strategist, and founder of the Illume Retreat. From sustainable Strategy to heartfelt encouragement. Each episode is designed to equip you with the tools you need to chase after your dreams because you deserve a brand that empowers you to do what you love, connects with your dream clients, and offers a deep sense of fulfillment along the way. So grab a cup of coffee and join me on this journey, won’t you join me?

New Speaker:
Hey friends. Welcome back to the Brand Strategy Podcast, where today I am doing something a little bit different. I am going back into the archives, and I am resharing a past episode with you because hear me out. I think this is a reminder that we all need to hear this time of year. I am sharing an episode that aired back in December of 2022. It was about ways to mindfully accept advice, and it was coming from the standpoint of how to accept advice or listening to other people, um, who might have quite a handful of opinions about your business, how you run your business, how things are going as we gather together during this holiday season. So this is an episode about the importance of cultivating a filter that you use to sift through all of the noise that’s out there. Um, personally, I have been done for quite a while now taking advice from people who haven’t built what I want to achieve.

So if they’re telling me how I’m supposed to do it, but they haven’t actually done it themselves, like you mean, well, I’m sure, but it’s not for me. And so if that resonates at all, then this episode is hopefully going to reach you right where you are and provide some ways that you can kindly and respectfully acknowledge the well-intentioned advice of those that we might come in contact with during the holidays, while still honoring your truth, acknowledging your power and your agency as an individual, and allowing that power and that agency to reflect in the decisions that you make for your incredible business. So here it is. Hey friends. Welcome back to the Brand Strategy podcast, where today we are talking about some ways to mindfully accept advice and some thoughts to consider when it comes to welcoming in other people’s opinions or perspectives or, uh, you know, concepts into our orbit, especially as we are focused on building businesses that honor how we uniquely define success.

So today’s episode actually is inspired by a conversation that I had earlier, um, this quarter with one of my really fantastic students inside the brand strategy school. Um, inside the brand strategy school, I still offer one-on-one coaching calls with students. And that’s currently the only place where people can work with me in that kind of like one-on-one coaching capacity. And we were having this conversation about, um, kind of like where she was in, how she’s kind of in the season of burnout. And what was really interesting is she was talking about this conversation that she had with a family member and they were giving her all of this advice on how she should grow her business, how she should get new clients, how she should show up on social media. Like this person had a lot of opinions and they were putting all of these opinions on her, and she was coming to me being like, which of these do I follow?

Which of which of these pieces of advice are, are worth it? And my take on this is a little bit spicy simply because I am in a season of life and business where I’m done taking advice from people who have not built what I’m trying to build. So for me, when family members or well-meaning neighbors or friends or people that you used to know from school show up and try to give you advice, it’s coming from a very well-intentioned place most of the time. But we have to be selective about what we absorb and what we take in and what we then take action on. Because we live in an age where there’s a lot of noise out there, there’s a lot of thoughts and opinions and perspectives that we see on social media. Um, I mean, , just the fact that you listen to my podcast means that you also hear my thoughts and opinions.

And so there’s so many different places wherever we go, where people are wanting to tell us what they think and why they think that and why they’re right. And that can be exhausting. So when it comes to accepting advice and doing it in a way that feels mindful and in a way that serves you, I think that it’s important to have kind of like a boundary in place with yourself and for yourself that you follow. Uh, especially this time of year, so many of us are traveling. Maybe you’re tuning into this while you are driving or flying or on your way to see family for the holidays. Maybe you are getting ready to go out of town or maybe you’re getting ready to host some people because with the winter holidays, we are in community with people a lot. And that might mean that you’re spending time with family members or old friends or, uh, you might be seeing people at, you know, holiday parties or events.

And people always wanna know, how’s your business doing? And when you start sharing, it’s easy for our society to assume that we’re asking for help even when we’re not. So if you find yourself in a situation this holiday season where someone’s asking you about your business and you’re sharing and you’re very clearly not asking for support, like you have not said the words, what advice do you have for me on this? And then someone starts showing up and giving you their unsolicited advice, I view that as an opportunity to kind of practice the smile and do like, you, you appreciate the intention, you appreciate them trying to help you out, but you know, and I know that unless they have built what you are currently building and they are showing you from their actual lived experience how to do that thing, what they’re sharing probably isn’t gonna help you.

And I’m not, not saying that like people, um, dunno what they’re talking about or that they’re, you know, we can absolutely learn a lot of things from cross-disciplinary studies. We can learn a lot from people in areas outside of our own. So really what I’m saying is just take it with a grain of salt. It’s important that we kind of cultivate a filter that you can use to sift through all of the noise that’s out there. So whether you’re getting well-intentioned advice from your, your Aunt Grace or , you’re getting some, uh, you know, like unsolicited advice showing up in your Instagram feed from, you know, that bro marketer that you follow who has his own YouTube channel. It’s important that you understand what you are accepting and what you’re taking in and what you’re willing to let into your life. Because not all the advice that we receive is good advice.

Not all of the advice that we are exposed to is stuff that we should take action on. And I’ve actually found in, you know, the years that I’ve been an entrepreneur, that a lot of the advice that I have received that I wasn’t looking for, that I chose to take action on never served me, and it never actually led me in a direction that worked for me, right? Because I was taking action based on insight and experiences from people who have not done what I’m trying to do. And I think it’s really important that we also consider not only when people are giving you well-intentioned unsolicited advice, are they often sharing from a place of not having achieved the outcome that you are trying to achieve, but they also don’t have to live with that outcome, right? I mean, there are a few exceptions to this.

Like if it’s your partner or your kids or someone who you physically live with or someone who you financially support or you’re a caregiver to, um, I think that for most people, like our friends from high school or you know, like that, that like former biz bestie of yours who you’ve lost touch with when they’re giving you unsolicited advice, they have no stakes in this game. Like, they are not going to be there if there’s any fallout, they’re not gonna be there. If it goes great, they’re not gonna be there if it goes poorly. And that’s really key. So the next time someone is telling you, oh, you, you know what you should do, you should do this. You can be like, thanks for sharing that with me, and then not do it. Because honestly, you’re the one that has to live with the consequences of your actions.

You’re the one who has to live with the outcome of your decisions . And so the next time you are, um, your, you know, kind of wacky uncle or your grandparents that you see only a couple times a year, try and weigh in on how your business is going. Remember that you are, you are the CEO of this business. You are the head of this company that you’re creating. You are the one that you can trust to make decisions, and sometimes there are gonna be some pearls of wisdom that someone shares with you. But that’s why it’s important that we have that filter in place, right? So that we can catch those pearls. But we could let all the sand and the grit and the, you know, stuff that doesn’t serve us fall through the cracks so that we are taking action only on what aligns for us.

And this is something that, you know, like I said, it might be a little bit spicy, might, I’m, you know, it might like come across a certain kind of way, but what I’ve done by doing this, by implementing this, is I’ve created this boundary of what I will accept and what I will not accept. I will accept advice when I ask for it. I will not accept unsolicited advice. And depending on what kind of conversation I’m in, if it’s someone where they’re really going on this like tangent of all the things they think I should do when I have not asked them, I will say, Hey, I appreciate you sharing that with me. But to be clear, I’m not asking for advice on this situation, so let’s change the conversation. And I’m doing that respectfully. I’m doing that from a place of letting that person know that I do genuinely appreciate their energy and their thought on this.

But when I need help, when I need that support, I will seek it out. And knowing that I have access to other places where I’m able to receive the support that I need, right? I have a therapist, I have a, you know, business coach, I have a group coaching program that I’m a part of. I have a team that I can turn to. I’ve got really close industry friends who I know are like literally in the trenches with me. And, and you know, we’ve, we can really meet each other in that shared space. There are people around me that I know I can turn to when I need that kind of support. And so I don’t need the support from strangers on the internet or family members or old friends or anything like that. And so as we go into this holiday season, and actually as we go into this, this, you know, coming season, a brand new year, like I encourage you, if this resonates with you, take this as an energy into 2023 because we are out here building these lives and these businesses that honor how we uniquely define success.

And we are not, we are not playing small. We are not getting distracted with the well-meaning nonsense that other people are telling us to do. We’re not losing our focus because of all the shiny things that are out there. We are taking intentional, yet imperfect action towards the outcomes that we want to experience. And that’s a good thing. And if anyone’s trying to make you feel a certain way about yourself because you are protecting your energy in that way, and you are building these boundaries, just remember that people cannot take advantage of you when you have boundaries in place. If at one point in your life you did not have boundaries in place, and now you do, those people cannot take advantage. Those people are losing that unfiltered, constant access to you that they once had, and that’s uncomfortable for them. But you know what, that’s not your problem.

You’re only accountable for your actions, how you show up in the world and how you treat people. But you are not , you’re not accountable or responsible for the way that other people respond to the boundaries that you’re implementing. So I want to encourage you when it comes to unsolicited advice, uh, you know, we can’t control how other people act. We can’t control what other people say, but we can control what we accept. We can control what we let in and what we take on board. So I hope that you are feeling encouraged and feeling motivated to get clear with yourself and with others about what you will accept and what you will not this holiday season and into the new year. Um, this is something that takes practice. This is something that I’ve been practicing for years. And so it’s okay if it feels a little sticky or you fumble a little bit in communicating that kind of boundary or figuring it out for yourself, you know, in the coming days.

Like that’s normal. You’re human and you’re trying something new. And it’s okay if you’re not perfect at it, the first couple times you implement it. But I hope that you are gonna take action on this because I’m such a believer that when we start to implement these boundaries of what we will accept and what we will not accept when it comes to unsolicited advice, we free ourselves up from taking on expectations to meet that are not ours in the first place. So, like I was saying, my, uh, brand strategy school student who I was chatting with, you know, she was sharing with me all this advice that she was feeling really conflicted about because this well intending person had given her all of these, all of these strategies and thoughts that she didn’t ask for. And, you know, I encouraged her, Hey, like, what about that advice resonates with you?

Does any of it resonate with you? Is any of that what you were looking for? Um, and you know, she looked at it and she was like, no, like none of that resonates with me. If anything, it confuses me. It makes me feel like I’m, you know, going in the wrong direction. And I was like, okay, well what kind of business does this person have? You know, this, this family member? Like, do they, do they have a business? And no, they don’t they have never built a business, they have never worked with clients the way that she works with clients. They know nothing about the design industry except from what little they see as they passively watch her build her business. And to me, that is not a source that is giving you quality business advice. You know, like we can appreciate the intention, but we’re the ones that have to live with the impact.

And so be careful about what you let into your, your orbit. Uh, you know, as you move out in the world, I just want you to be taking in only that what serves you.

Friend, I am so grateful that you are a part this community as we approach the holiday season. I hope you’re having a joyful, a restful holiday season that you are spending it with the people that are closest to you, that you are celebrating it in a way that makes you happy. You’ve worked so hard this year, the holidays, I know can be challenging for so many of us. So however you’re choosing to spend the holidays, whatever your life looks like, I want you to know that you matter, that you are so valued. I see you as a part of this community and I am grateful for you. I wanna celebrate the hard work that you have done over this year, and I want to preemptively celebrate all the success that you’re gonna see as you go into the new year. So, um, without getting too sappy here, I’m a fan of yours, and as you know, I’m cheering you on from Waco.

Thank you so much for joining me today. Friend, before you go, I would be so grateful to receive your feedback on the Brand Strategy podcast. If you enjoyed this episode or the podcast in general has helped you grow your brand, I’d really appreciate it if you left us a review in iTunes. Your positive reviews enable the brand strategy podcast to continue to grow and reach like-minded creatives just like you. Thank you for all your support and encouragement as together we pursue building brands with purpose and intention. Until next time, I’m cheering you on from Waco.

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My name is Bonnie – I’m a brand designer, strategist, and writer which all adds up to one eclectic conglomeration of qualities that enables me to serve you well! Past clients have dubbed me "the Joanna Gaines of brand design," and I've had more than a few call me a dream maker, a game changer, and a design wizard (my Harry Potter-loving heart didn't hate that one, let me tell you!). At the end of the day, I'm a big-hearted creative who will get teary-eyed as you share the heart behind your business; who will lose sleep over the perfect font pairings and color selections to bring your brand to life visually; and who will work tirelessly to empower, encourage, and equip you to share your work with the world intentionally. 

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