When one sets out to do something of their own, they are often met with a plethora of parties offering them their “input” whether it was solicited or not.

Sometimes the advice is solid and comes with the best of intentions.

However – other times the advice is destructive, demeaning, demoralizing and deconstructing. It comes from those with hidden agendas or those who are threatened by competition. It spouts out from those who put their own self interests ahead of you and your goals. This is the type of advice which comes from the following types of people:

DEFENDERS: These are individuals who live their lives based upon the status quo. If what you are doing goes against the grain ever so slightly, is something a little new, a little different, a little out of the norm – they will react fast, coming out from all angles to corner you and try to get you back into line.
Common Bad Advice: I totally get and appreciate what you are trying to do. But I am not sure it is worth your investment if you go about it this way. Most people have gone about it this other way. Perhaps you should consider doing it this way as opposed to your way.

VICARIOUS-ERS: Vicarious-ers (yes I’m pretty sure that is not a real word) are people who have never been able to take chances in their own lives. They never put it all on the line. They’ve never risked anything and have little-to-nothing to show for their lack of action. That being said, they tout a know-it-all attitude about their industry and spend more time spouting out unsolicited advice than they spend working on building up their own business.
Common Bad Advice: You know; here is what you REALLY need to be doing… 

ZEUSES: I run into Zeuses quite often. I named them this because, like Zeus, there were (at one point) on top of the mountain. They put in the effort, the hard work and they got themselves at the peak of their professional career. However, they do not feel secure in their position. They see others coming up behind them on the mountain and feel threatened by it. So they try to institute rules and rigmarole that honestly may not have been around when they made their climb. Their hope is to keep the competition at bay by doing this.
Common Bad Advice: Your aim is a little too high right now. You should learn to crawl before you learn to walk. You need the following certifications or educational backgrounds to really do this.

BLACK SOX: These are people (some of which who even charge for their advice) who use their soap box as nothing more than an opportunity to put down and try to prevent their competition from getting work. I recently happened across a “consultant” for modeling talents. Their business model was to put down any photographer the talents hired. Oh, I forgot to mention that this “consultant” was also a photographer too. Conflict of interest? I call them black sox because they are willing to cheat out their own industry (Google the 1919 Chicago White Sox scandal).
Common Bad Advice: The people you’ve worked with up to this point are not the ones I would have recommended.

HALL MONITORS: They are people who simply just tell you what you cannot do. They are not there to offer any form of advice whatsoever. Their entire mission is simply to point out all the things you should not be doing.

Okay, that being said, not everyone who you connect with who offers input is a Defender, Vicarious-er, Zeus, Hall Monitor or a Black Sox. There are great consultants out there; knowledgeable professionals who offer fantastic support to others within their industry.

So how can you tell the difference between them all? Real simple. Is their advice positive or negative? Are the offering things of encouragement to assist you or are they pointing out the things you shouldn’t be doing? Do they seem to have your interests in mind or do they have an agenda they are trying to push?

And what is the best way to deal with the negative advice? Ignore it. Don’t spend time listening to it and certainly don’t spend time dwelling on it. Your time is better spent focusing on your goals and making them a reality.

 James Patrick