Monday, November 01, 2010

Don't Ask Unless You Want the Truth

"People don't ask for advice - they're looking for validation..."
~ Michael Boyle

There are times in life, whether personal or professional, when people will seek your advice because you are seen (correctly or incorrectly), as an authority or expert. For those of you who haven't experienced this yet (at least, aren't aware of it anyway), a little insight for you: they don't want you to tell them anything unless you're simply confirming what they want to hear.

When this happens, you have two choices - be honest with them, and run the risk of losing, for example, a key sale, or say what you know they want you to and make that dollar.

Seems obvious, right? Path of least resistance which proves to be most profitable would seem to be the best choice?

Sure. In the short term.

But what happens when things don't work out - when they get home and realize that the pants don't fit, that they've lost money on a poor investment, or that they haven't lost any weight? Well, I can answer that right now - because the only thing society likes more than validation is a scapegoat, so that they don't have to be held accountable for anything. And if you've simply told people what they want to hear in order to avoid being "the bad guy" or to get that money in your pocket - then you're going to be the first one they look to when they're trying to find someone other than themselves to blame. So in the end, you're going to lose not only the sale, but your credibility goes out the window along with your principles.

Sometimes - you have to choose between doing what's easy, and doing what's right. And unfortunately, they're usually not the same thing...


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