Opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of Rolling Stone editors or publishers.
You may have heard this phrase a million times before: Many people receive good advice, yet few profit from it. As wild as that may be, what if it was actually a good thing?
I believe that the majority of insights, guidance and direction are usually based on opinion rather than what we really need, which is counsel.
What Is the Difference?
Opinion tends to be based on observation and judgment, whereas counsel is typically based on wisdom, knowledge and direct experience.
For instance, imagine sharing with your family and friends at a backyard barbeque the idea of traveling to Mars, along with the importance of becoming a multi-planetary species. Chances are, your circle may try and talk you out of such wild thoughts, saying you are being ridiculous, and share the latest science fiction movie they just saw where aliens destroyed mankind. Compare that to the same conversation with Elon Musk and his friends, where they are seeking the most cutting-edge opportunities to make that vision a reality.
Same topic, two completely different perceptions and conversations. Ask yourself the following questions:
• Where am I getting my information from?
• Is it truly counsel to help me grow, or is based on an opinion from someone who has never accomplished what I want for myself?
Jumping To the Front of the Line
Some of the most successful people are also the most available people. Sounds far-fetched, right? Let’s examine:
In my experience, those who are new and starting out in a new field or on a new project are typically outgoing and have an open mind. Leaders who have accomplished great achievements are similar and usually look for all that is possible. Now, compare that to the people still stuck in the middle — the ones who may be filled with ego as they try to find their own voice or claw their way up the corporate ladder.
My solution? Jump to the front of the line.
While in school, you would be punished for cutting in line, but in business, we are rewarded for it. In the world of business — especially in creative industries — this practice can be immensely helpful to jumpstart your next project, career or goal.
For instance, let’s say you are an up-and-coming artist. Rather than hang out solely with other “starving artists,” sharing all the reasons things are not going your way, go to the local gallery. Sit outside and see whose work is being pulled from the walls and being sold. Then ask that artist how they did it. That is counsel — seeking advice and guidance from those who have already done what you are aspiring to accomplish. Duplicate their process or action steps, add your own spin to the technique and chances are you could do it too.
Network With Purpose and Intent
One way to “jump to the front of the line” is to network with purpose and intent. Consider using social media to send a quick direct message to a person you look up to with specificity of who you are, what you are working on and how you can add value to one another. This could potentially open up new doors and opportunities.
Second, consider joining a council, mastermind or networking group that helps you take proactive steps to achieve your purpose. Start fishing in the right fishing holes, meaning: If you seek to associate with C-suite individuals, you may want to avoid the local networking group and identify organizations that are a better fit in order to build a win-win alliance.
Bottom line: Share ideas, missions, dreams and goals with people you have respect for and not just those you have influence over. I believe we can truly have anything we want the moment we begin to seek counsel and not opinions.