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Follow the Advice You Give Others

Follow the Advice You Give Others

What’s the advice you give others that you should follow on your own? I’m not even going to ask if you don’t follow your own advice, I’m going to ask how often it happens. I suppose I could restrict this topic to, Follow the Good Advice You Give Others. 😉 If you give a boatload of bad advice to others, that’s another discussion we should probably have offline … or you should have with yourself. But then again, if you already give bad advice to others, who knows what advice you give yourself. I digress.

You should do this. Oh, do you do that? Uh, no.

I caught myself today working my graphic designer and suggested she put together a more elaborate project questionnaire for new clients. Sometimes, in the middle or even near the end of a project, she (and/or the client!) would lose track a bit of the direction or the “creative brief” of the project and the questionnaire gave them something of a starting point that they could refer to. (In the same way a creative brief does, of course.) Who, uh, also needs a more detailed project questionnaire? Yeah, hmm, that would be me.

Maybe we should make our own rules: if we advise people three times about something that we’re not doing ourselves, we’re not allowed to advise that again until we do it ourselves. Scratch that, why give ourselves the luxury of three? Maybe before we do it again a single time, we need to do it ourselves. I’ll take my own advice, I need to do a new project questionnaire, it’s true. I’ll get it done and post about it here. If I think it’s a good idea for a client or a colleague, I’ll hold my tongue and they’ll probably wonder what I’m up to and then I’ll have to explain this whole post here. To avoid that awkwardness, I should get started on that …

Maybe worse: Do you not follow the advice you give yourself?

To clarify, I’m not necessarily talking about hypocrisy. (Hypocrisy is the state of promoting or administering virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that one does not actually have and is also guilty of violating.) I’m talking more just about laziness or lack of getting it done. I hear myself way too often talking with my business partner about not the things he should be doing, but, maybe this is even worse, the things that I know I should be doing but I’m not. Why am I not doing these things that I know I should be doing? I know they would be beneficial. I know they’re not actually that difficult or time consuming or have whatever realistic challenge that I could not accomplish. So why doesn’t it happen?

If it’s such great advice, why am I not following it?

Of course, maybe the advice to others doesn’t apply to you, it’s not relevant or timely. But maybe turn that advice around or give it another twist and maybe the core of the suggestions are worth swallowing.

One reason I’m writing this post today is to help me remember to take my own advice. If it’s good.

If I were you, I would go this way. But it's not my car and I'm not driving.

If I were you, I would go this way. But it’s not my car and I’m not driving.


  1. John Muldoon

    Haha. Great post. I was waiting to see it my name came up. 🙂

    Lately I’ve been trying to treat myself as a client. What would I tell myself to do? Take some crappy project just for the money? No way! Launch that thing that will pay my mortgage AND make me proud? Um, yeah, let me get on that. You know, that thing.

    Thanks Bradley!

    • Bradley

      As I wrote this, I realized the topic was bigger than a single post. The larger topic is maybe, “We often know what we need to do, but we don’t do it. Why?”

      I think it’s just more obvious when we hear ourselves say it out loud to someone else that it sounds worse. But in reality, it’s worse when you say it to yourself … and don’t listen.

      I like, “Treat myself as a client.” Thanks for that.


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