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Behind the Scenes: The Worst Advice I Ever Received



We have all been on the receiving end of someone’s “advice,” both professionally and personally, whether solicited or not! Some of it has been very good, and some of it – well, not so much. Today’s blog focuses on the not-so-good. We asked our Advisory Board what the worst advice was they ever received – and you may be surprised by their answers. From well-meaning mentors to unsolicited opinions from that one colleague who always seems to have something to say, advice can sometimes lead us astray. Whether it’s advice that didn't suit the situation, didn’t align with personal values, or resulted in unexpected (and often comical) consequences, our board members have seen it all. And let’s be honest, sometimes we aren’t even looking for advice or help; we just need someone to listen. Let's dive into their stories and learn a thing or two about what not to do!


It’s not good to receive negative feedback: As a young lawyer, negative feedback used to make me cringe, even when it was constructive. Now, I've learned to appreciate such feedback as it enhances self-awareness and strengthens leadership skills. In truth, the worst feedback is no feedback at all. Embrace the critique; it's a tool for growth.

 

You can never practice law again after you take time off: Luckily, I knew better than to believe this. Knowing your strengths and believing in yourself is key. After five years at home with my children, I returned to the workforce, reclaiming a flourishing, challenging, and successful career. Breaks don't break you; they can make you stronger.


First impressions are everything, maybe consider not wearing so much black and add some color or patterns or chunky jewelry: Agreed – first impressions can be everything, but so is authenticity. I love black and detest chunky jewelry. Wearing things I don't feel comfortable in makes me feel like I'm in a costume, not being myself. While authenticity should never be compromised for a first impression, the advice did give me pause and an opportunity to think. I still wear a lot of black, and I have added a bit more color and pattern, but still no chunky jewelry!

 

You should smile more: This one came from a man! It's a classic example of unsolicited and inappropriate advice. Women often receive this kind of feedback, which undermines professionalism and reinforces stereotypes. Smiling should be genuine, not something done to meet someone else's expectations.

 

Reinvent yourself: Similar to the advice about avoiding black, this one missed the mark on authenticity. Instead of constantly reinventing, I found fulfillment in embracing who I am. Stability and continuity are invaluable, and personal achievements and well-being should always be prioritized.

 

As we've seen from our Advisory Board's experiences, not all advice is created equal. What works for one person may not work for another, and sometimes, the best lessons come from those missteps and mishaps.

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