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Advice: Recognizing the Good Stuff

photo of sculpture.

“You can TOTALLY trust my advice. Totally.”
Miss Poppy Prowls the Welcome Center
When we stopped at the Vermont Welcome Center near Guilford, VT this cat statue by Suzanne Little-Stefanick greeted us. It was part of a project sponsored by the Bennington Area Chamber of Commerce Copyright by WyoJones. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Last week I wrote a bit about bad advice and where to put it. No, not there. Well, unless you really have to. But seriously, as I was milling around last week (when I wasn’t knee deep in Dead Spaces), I got to thinking about good advice.

Yes, there is such a thing.

My life has been both blessed and improved by good advice at the right moment.

Of course, I had hear AND act on it for it to help me.

Just hearing good advice and not acting on it is like not getting it at all. (I wouldn’t mention this, but I  have known people who really think that agreement is all you need to change the course of your life for the better. I would not kid about this. Though I would like to.)

  1. Does the person giving this advice practice what s/he preaches? Do they walk the walk and not just talk the talk? When you run into a “do what I say, not what I do” person, turn around and run the other way.
  2. Does the advice work for other people? Are there actual, visible-to-the-human-eye, POSITIVE results? In other words, also run from “well, this didn’t work for me, but I bet you can make it work” people. I’m not saying someone can’t turn a bad idea into a good one, but when there are ideas that are already good…
  3. If the advice arrives via an unsolicited email or phone call? Well, I don’t even read or answer those, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say, “No.”
  4. If the advice is prefaced by the words, “I heard this from a friend who heard it from [insert important name here], so I know it works.” It won’t.
  5. If it’s a Facebook meme, then it might make you feel good, it might even change your attitude (for a few seconds) but it probably won’t change your life.
canal street new orleans
  1. Learn who to listen to (people who have overcome and succeeded) and then…
  2. Actually listen. Hear the words they are saying. Think about them and see if they will work for you.
  3. Then ACT.
  4. While feel good quotes and memes can’t change our lives, we can be inspired to keep going by listening to/reading the words of wise people.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” Winston Churchill.

This is a quote that inspires me almost every day. It doesn’t matter how many times I start—and finish—a new book. There is a point in the writing where I become convinced that THIS will be the book where I fail SPECTACULARLY. Because, you know, the whole world is waiting…oh wait…at least three or four people are waiting for my words. Might even be five or six. So, you know, this book MATTERS and if I fail, I’ll never be able to show my face on social media ever again.

See how I did that? I showed you how fear can stall our progress and keep us from hearing and acting on good advice when we it’s offered by the people we can trust. So sometimes even I get it right.

My life—both the writing and the non-writing parts—has been blessed by so many people who took the time to talk to me, to answer questions, to mentor and read my words, to laugh with me and to cry with me. So let me add a…

  1. Surround yourself with people who make your life better and happier. And then give the same back to them.

Do you have people in your life that you trust, who help you and lift you when you’re down? If you can, give them a shout-out in the comments. You know I love comments so much that I pick a favorite to receive my monthly AnaBanana gift basket ($25 value). Recipient is announced the first blog post of the new month.

AnaBanana logo

Perilously yours,


P.S. This the very, very last week that you can grab NEBULA NIGHTS. Eleven books at the awesome price of .99!

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