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Getting Unsolicited Advice? Think SMILE: The Five Fingers of Sanity and Success

“Setting up a franchise is stupid,” Anna (not her real name) told me, “and forget about coaching. Coaches are a dime-a-dozen. You should enroll in our veterans’ program and figure out what you are able to do.”

Did you ever notice that unsolicited feedback is always about the sender and never about you?

Most feedback is about the sender. Look at your evaluations, and you’ll find that what your boss highlighted reflects their own priorities rather than an objective appraisal of you.

Unsolicited feedback is even more problematic because there is no accountability, and it’s often about control. The sender wants you to conform, be like them, and not rock the boat or challenge their beliefs.

Anna wanted to badger me into enrolling in a program that I did not need and discourage me from helping veterans build a meaningful, joyful, and profitable consulting business.

When someone gives you unsolicited advice, think SMILE: the five fingers of sanity and success.

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Your thumb, closest to your heart, represents the letter S: self-care. Exercise, diet, sleep, study, and well-being are vital to sustainable success.

Your pointer represents M: mentors, coaches, and advisors. They point out the shortest path to success and help you avoid getting high from your own fumes. I have two coaches, and their support has paid for itself many times over.

Your middle finger stands for I: Ignore the Annas.

Your ring finger: L is for loved ones. Dedicate time to those who matter most. No one’s ever had a deathbed with that they’d spent less time with their loved ones and more time at the office.

Your pinky signifies E: your employees, customers, partners, and allies. They are the people you serve.

SMILE, and you’ll keep things in perspective. Here’s the video that you can view and share.