We’ve all done it.

Someone gives us some great advice and we listen, consider, and shake it off, and go back to what we were doing before.

You’ve done it — right?

When I think about advice I’ve ignored, I like to justify it by building myself up: I didn’t listen because of the passion I felt for the work, the commitment.

The sad truth is, I ignore great advice every day, or I under-emphasize it. I do that because it is easier to continue on the path I’m on, harder to implement whatever wise suggestion someone is offering. I do it at my own peril.

And it’s only grace that brings me back, finally, to the great advice I could have heeded months or years before.

About four years ago, Steve Roesler told me I should work for multiple clients. At the time, I worked freelance for a university, exclusively. And I explained away my reluctance to serve other clients with my passion for the work, my commitment. (If I am honest, my decision had more to do with fear. I felt afraid to look for more clients, afraid that I would be disappointed if no one hired me.)

So I ignored his advice, and I did so to my own detriment, spending an entire morning in tears when things didn’t work out exactly as I’d hoped.

Then I moved from that opportunity to another exclusive one. Once again, something — fear, lack of confidence, and the desire for safety — compelled me to work exclusively for one client, then ultimately to become an employee of that client’s company. And I justified it, again, by my passion. My commitment. 

I ignored Steve’s great advice for nearly three years and then finally I listened. Last January, I started to pursue outside clients. That pursuit led me to starting a business, and my business serves many clients.

As a result, I am not crushed when someone says no, or when a project doesn’t turn out exactly as I’d hoped. I can operate from a place of confidence, instead of fear. And, though this may be a result of my own personal and professional growth, I think part of it is that working for more than one client is a really good practice for me. And Steve Roesler gave me some really great advice.

Advice that I ignored for a while, but never forgot.

Tell me something! What is the best business advice you ever ignored? Why did you ignore it? What keeps you from following great advice?

Steve Roesler has a great post about workplace advice on his blog today. Ironically, it begins with this quote: Be careful when you give advice–somebody might take it.” Anonymous. Hop over and read Steve’s post. Tell him I sent you.