Don’t take advice from these people.

When I was 18 and I started my first business, I asked a lot of people for advice. Since I was so young I asked mostly older people for their opinion about what I was up to.

I assumed since they’d been alive longer than I had that their advice would be good.

Some of them were super supportive and amazing. They gave me great feedback.

And some of them were not.

As is the human tendency, I let the unsupportive ones get under my skin. I allowed the advice that didn’t support what I was up to to carry more weight than the advice that cheered me on.

Many of the folks who were unsupportive had jobs and had never run a business. They doubted my choice to start a business so young. And they were concerned that *gasp* I was building a network marketing business of all things.

They suggested that I get a “real” job.

My 18-year-old sense of self was wobbly at times. I let their advice seep in and implant little seeds of doubt in me. I held back a little because I was afraid of what they would think of me if I moved forward despite their advice.

It wasn’t until several years later that I realized something: the people whose opinions were irking me were not people who had ever built businesses.


Listen, I LOVE getting feedback. I regularly seek it out. I even pay for it sometimes.

There are 7 billion people on Earth. Everyone LOVES to give their opinion. But we have to be choosy about who we listen to.

Here’s my rule of thumb:

Only listen to advice from people who have what you want. (Tweet it!)

Are you looking for relationship advice? Stop soliciting it exclusively from your single girlfriends. (They may have some golden nuggets from time to time, but I’m just saying MOST of the time they shouldn’t be your go-to gals on this subject.)

Wanting to grow a business? Don’t listen to your friends who’ve never taken action on their entrepreneurial inklings.

Hankering to up your game in the health and beauty department? Nix the input from the folks who spend their nights puffing on cigarettes, knocking back whiskey, and eating processed food.

Here are 3 simple steps to follow anytime you’re getting advice:

1. Get clear on what you want.

2. Find someone who has it.

3. Ask them for advice when you need it.

And for the love of God — stop worrying about what the people who don’t have what you want think about what you’re up to.

They’re entitled to their opinions but that doesn’t mean you have to take them to heart. Thank them for sharing and move on.

Over to you:

Have you ever taken advice from someone who didn’t have what you wanted? How did it feel? Did it work?

Leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you!



  • Awesome post, Kate! Funny how sometimes we ignore the most common-sense principles of life. When I was first thinking about being a life coach I was still in college, and my advisor at the time (who was trying to convince me to do a PhD) told me “no offense, but I wouldn’t pay a 23-year old to tell me how to live my life.”

    I let that statement hold me back for an entire year of running my website and being in business, because, even though I believed I had a gift and that I could really help people get clear and committed, I kept replaying that advice in my mind over and over again. It wasn’t until I realized that her advice had everything to do with her – where she was, how she saw the world, and what she wanted me to do instead – and nothing to do with me, that I was finally able to let it go and stop holding myself back. That’s when I learned this lesson!

  • Danya

    Loved this:

    “And for the love of God — stop worrying about what the people who don’t have what you want think about what you’re up to.”

    Ha! Yes. Thanks, Kate. :-)

  • Lisa

    Love this post! My CPA who is a close friend and I adore does NOT get what I do as Health Coach. I used to always go to her for business advice because I respected so much her own business sense and I admired her for her own success. It took me awhile to realize she had NO idea how my business operates. Now I stick to getting financial advice only and spending girlfriend time with her. I get business advice from other successful health coaches that I admire. I’ve also stopped trying to talk to my family about my work! No point in that!!

    • Kate

      Such a great distinction between taking financial advice and taking business advice. They’re NOT the same thing!

    • Reading this post made me think of what I once said about YOU Lisa and then look! I found you in the comments! I love synchronicity!

      In the intro to your Kindness Challenge guest blog about sugar addiction I had said: “It had been 10 years since I’d seen her [Lisa] and yet she looks just and vibrant and radiant as if she had been cryogenically encased since our last encounter, as if we were in a Mel Gibson film. I’ve always thought that I should only be taking health advice from someone who looks fabulous themselves.”

      Lots of people have health advice! But I only take advice from people whose vibrant and radiant energy I want to adopt. Even if someone *looks* fit but is a negative person, I steer clear of adopting their recommendations.

  • Jennie

    Hi Kate. The one person I should not have listened to was and still is….my mother. And when you grow up questioning everything….fearing everyone…getting unsound advice and misguided advice….well….I guess you have to discover mentors to learn from and emulate one fabulous person at a time. That is why I am here.

  • This is precisely what I needed to read today. But of course. I often ask myself if a person has what I want when it comes to psychological and/or spiritual matters, but forget to do so with the more “practical” stuff (i.e. financial and business related pursuits). But I’m learning a little more everyday how connected it all is- the financial and the philosophical, the material and spiritual, and YOU have been huge in this process. I’m only a recent subscriber but want to thank so very much for doing what you do. It doesn’t hurt that you’re incredibly likable and real too, whatever that means :)

    • Kate

      Thanks Monica – welcome to the family over here. And indeed – the spiritual and emotional stuff is essentially the same as the financial and everything else :)

  • I loved this post, Kate. It was exactly what I needed to hear this morning!

  • Odalys

    I loved this post!

    I also think it is important for us to not accept/allow unsolicited advice. I have learned to think before I share my plans. Sometimes simply saying “I am going to do X” leads people to believe that it is an invitation for them to give you opinions and advice.

    About family, like Lisa above, I sometimes think there is no point!). I find in my family, they mean well with their “cautionary” tales – they think they are helping; some have had bad experiences and are reflecting their own fears. It is definitely up to us to figure out if the person who we are sharing our plans with is the right person to ask for advice.

    • Kate

      It’s so true Odalys – sometimes practicing containment works really well too until you’re feeling really solid in your direction.

  • Charmaine

    So true, thank you so much for the post! I always remind myself that people are giving the advice based on where they are and where they want you to be. In a strange way their advice however well intended actually has nothing to do with you. It’s all about them and their space and world view.

  • elina

    I’m so grateful for You and Marie for your posts. It’s so awesome to get clear on this who to get advice from situation. I love to hear more from you because you seem to really have fun and PLAY a lot. :)

  • Annette Damsgard

    I Loved this post, and you´r right i´m starting in MLM in 2012 and i don´t earn anything because my downline are inactive so now i have to found new people to sign up, and in this moment i´m stock with my huissnes so i have seek help from others distributior over my tittel i am manager.
    I´m read alle you´r post and the book Money a lovestory
    I’m learning a little more everyday how connected it all is- the financial and the philosophical, the material and spiritual, and YOU have been huge in this process. I’m only a recent subscriber but want to thank so very much for doing what you do. It doesn’t hurt that you’re incredibly likable and real too, whatever that means :)

  • Hi Kate, I’m one of those who loves and needs a weekly paycheck. I know that goes against your paradigm for success, but I love working in a beautiful hotel selling gorgeous clothes and handbags to grateful people who love luxury. I had my own secretarial business years ago and loved it. Then I had a dress shop that I just zoned out on. But those businesses provided money…however, I love regular, timed money coming in. That’s just me. Once my financial matters are taken care of I can then concentrate on living my life the way I like. Freedom means everything to me, and a steady payday let’s me be free. Cheers and wishes for the best always, Elizabeth

    • Kate

      I love that Elizabeth! My paradigm is that I want people to feel free. And for some feeling free indeed means a steady payday. I love it!

  • Jennifer

    Hi Kate, thank you for all of your wonderful gifts! I always have dreams about teachers who are going to have a positive impact on my life prior to knowing that much about there work and you were in my dream a few weeks ago! I love your happy shiny inspiring outlook on life and money and I am looking forward to hearing you speak at I can do it in London next weekend! I am looking forward to reading your book too. I bought your mums book, beautiful girl and gave it to a lady and it really healed her and helped her know that she was beautiful! Anyway I just wanted to express my gratitude safe trip over here and angel blessings to you x x x

  • Hi Kate,

    it’s so true! Thank you for your refreshing insights!

    I’m reading your book right now.
    I love it and I’m looking forward to doing my homework each morning. :-)
    It is great fun and my relationship with money has already changed!

    Love your light and spirit!


    • Kate

      That’s awesome Wiebke! Keep me posted on what’s shifting for you!

      • Thank you, Kate! Feels so good to have your reply! :-)

        I enjoy starting to have a conscious relationship with money. Not avoiding to look at it is soooo relieving.

        I started my own business as a resonance trainer one year ago. It is an amazing work. Nevertheless I didn’t see the real connection between my value and the money I can make – up until now. For me the money part was more a random mystery and therefore somehow scary. So just by really seeing my value in relation to money I can trust that everything will work out well!!! Thank you!!!

        May I ask you a question about B-school?
        I listened to the replay of your webinar and I heard that marketing is marketing is marketing, no matter which kind of business I do… makes complete sense, but I am still not sure if B-school is the right thing for me. It appeals to me and if you delivered the videos I’d be in without any doubt… ;-)
        Here is the thing: my work requires my own and the client’s physical presence in the same room. I work with musicians and show them how to move organically in order to reach their optimum sound quality and to get rid of tension or pain, if needed. I can work with individual clients and run workshops. As I compare their real sound with their movement it is simply not possible to do this online.
        Of course I want to reach more people AND above all I want to bring Resonance Training out of Germany and to the world.
        Is B-school the right thing here? (I’ve read all the Q & A and there are some about offline businesses, but not too many.)
        Funnily enough the enrollment started on my birthday and ends on my love’s birthday… Just wondering what the universe is telling me.

        Thank you again, dear Kate, for all your easiness and fun around the things that matter in life!

        Love, Wiebke

        • Kate

          Hi Wiebke – so glad you’re trusting your value. That first step is HUGE!

          About B-School: do you want to use the internet in any way to build your platform, get clients, and possibly open up opportunities for speaking, workshops, writing, etc? If the answer is yes, B-School will help you do that.

          And I bet as you go through it you may get creative ideas for teaching some of what you teach in Resonance Training in some way online…either via video or in some other way. It’s amazing the ideas you have when you engage with the material.

          If you’re wanting to keep your practice 100% in person and not open up new opportunities for getting more clients, workshops, etc using the internet, though, I wouldn’t take B-School.

          Make sense? Thanks for writing in!

  • SUCH a good post and one that flagged up a painful memory, for me. In the past, I’ve been guilty of trying to dissuade others with cautionary tales – my poor Sister had an afternoon of why she shouldn’t open a bakery shop in her area (courtesy of me – someone who started her own business on £11, a borrowed computer and a bicycle…). Having been a professional chef, in a previous career, I may have had valid points (catering businesses are tough!), but reading this post is a reminder of how easy it is do project our own anxieties relating to loss of power/failure etc. on to others. People mean well – I love my sister, my heart was in the right place, but maybe it didn’t serve her. It sure as hell didn’t serve me. All I got to do was indulge in my own anxiety about how tough business can be, and feel like I was protecting her… (Although she still bakes for people, from home – and she’s very good at it, she didn’t open a shop and, you know, I didn’t exactly help with that.)

    Picking your audience is SO IMPORTANT. Remembering a response from a female boss, at the time (I was her children’s nanny), when I shared my aspirations of becoming an interior designer – “oh, that’s a bit grandiose, for you”, can also be the making of an individual. My interior design business in now in it’s 8th year and I sometimes think back to this woman, and I smile…

    • I want to add that, I still don’t think it would have been a good move for her to borrow money to open a shop, in an area that was not yet gentrified for a boutique cake shop – although, it’s slowly moving in that direction, but I could have spent the afternoon discussing HER ideas and looking for ways of how it may work. Yes, that would have been so much better. This is good reminder that other people’s business ideas are not about us.

    • Kate

      Such beautiful awareness Heather! Thank you for sharing this somewhat painful but poignant story about you and your sister. A great reminder indeed.

  • Great Post. It is so important for me to surround myself with people that support me and my dream. In fact, that was one of my new year’s resolutions. I need to stay focused on my dream. When I have taken advice from others that do not have want I want, their advise holds me back.

  • I started had a pretty good Avon business that I started when I was a junior in high till my Freshmen year of college. And 15 years latter I am kicking myself after reading your book about not sticking with it. I also didn’t have a good role model in my life who encourage me to keep up with Avon.

    Now I am back on the MLM band wagon again. And this time I am in it for the long haul. Lesson learned !

  • Claire

    Great post, Kate. This reminds me of some advice that I heard once that I’ve taken to heart: never ask a plastic surgeon to compliment you on your youthful appearance. In other words, don’t ask the wrong people for advice!

  • Thanks so much for posting this. I learned pretty quickly that not everyone was as excited about the business I’d always wanted to run as I was. After a few negative encounters, I chose more carefully who I shared my business ideas with. Now that I have the business ball officially rolling, as of 2 weeks, I keep looking to those who have what I want for my life and my business. They keep me moving forward each day even when the fear creeps in. Thanks for all you do Kate! It really helps to have people like you sending the words I need to hear!

  • Natasha Holder Country Trinidad And Tobago

    Hi Kate,

    So true. Because of our own doubts and insecurities we tend to follow that pact but once we get clear on what we want to do nothing can stop us. I personally think that get clear is the antidote to the negativity.

    I love your articles and really, really enjoy “The anatomy of making money ” I deliberately left out online because I am not online yet and I have been able to apply some of it in my business with success. Thank You

    Love Natasha

  • Gurrrrrl – I must have done this millions of times! Seeking help from people who really couldn’t relate to anything I was asking advice for! Last night I held back on posting something (about my work) to my personal social network because of 1 particular follower and what this person would think. As in, I was embarrassed this person would think I was a joke once they saw my work. I posted it anyway but still, this is very similar. The fear of exposing ourselves to people that don’t even matter to us our business anyway! Great piece, exactly what I needed.

  • Nice article. It is important that we take advice from the right kind of people. If you are thinking of starting a business, there is no point in asking advice from a person who has only worked in a 9-5 job all his life. I made a post on similar topic on my blog. Hope you will like it –

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