There’s a strong chance that you’ve ben given great advice in the past, but overlooked it because you were too stubborn to listen. This isn’t an insult or accusation, because trust me, I well and truly fit into this category.
When you’re young and naive you think you know everything there is to know. Some of us (again, me) take a while to outgrow this, but hopefully, at some point, you let go of your ego and listen to the advice being offered.
Last week I interviewed Fraser Doherty of SuperJam as part of The Successful Mistake. I’ve spoken to many great minds of late, and the things on show are nothing short of brilliant. Fraser told me something that made my mouth gape, though.
At the age of 14 he set up his business. That’s right…FOURTEEN!
At 16 he presented to a major supermarket. That’s right…SIXTEEN!
It didn’t go well because the buyers couldn’t see the packaging being a success. He got the big NO and was left shattered, but they did offer him some good advice. After the initial shock and depression passed, he picked himself up and listened. The result is nothing short of incredible.
Are You Willing To Listen?
As you probably know I’m a big fan of storytelling. When I heard Fraser’s I knew it was one worth sharing.
I can just about remember when I was sixteen, and guess what, I listened to few people. The select couple I did were my rugby coaches, and that was largely because they were gigantic and scary. Fraser was given the rare opportunity of presenting to some big-time buyers, but at that age it’s hard to comprehend how important it is.
- There will be other chances
- I’ve already made it
- There will be plenty of other interested people
Age and wisdom tells us that this isn’t always the case. When a great opportunity comes knocking, you should take whatever you can from it. Fraser did this at the ripe old age of sixteen, something I feel many of us would overlook at a much older stage in life.
What Can We Learn From This?
Fraser had spent a great deal of time preparing for that meeting. He had spent months building his brand, a brand that they didn’t like. The easy thing to do would be one of two things:
- Cry, sulk, and give up
- Convince yourself it’s them, and that your brand is actually amazing
That’s right, the easy thing to do is to not listen, because not listening allows us to carry on doing what we’re doing and not start from scratch. This isn’t what Fraser did, despite the entire period hurting like WOAHHHH.
He picked himself up and planned a total re-design. It took time, but in the next meeting he got the big YES.
Advice is thrown at us every day. We meet new people and read new books and watch new TED Talks, therefore it’s impossible to listen to everything. One of the best skills we can develop is that filter that distinguishes between the good and bad.
In general, though, we prefer not to listen. Our natural instinct is to listen to your own advice, but this often leads to tragedy. It’s not to say you aren’t brilliant, but no single person can build an empire on their own. Yes, listening is vital, and I hope you read this and think about all of those times in the past when you were stubborn, despite the advice on offer being stellar.
When great advice comes calling, make sure you listen to it!
One of the best things about The Successful Mistake is all of the tips I pick up along the way. Last week I received some from a man younger than myself, and who first demonstrated them when he was FOURTEEN.
Turndog Millionaire – @turndog_million