INSIGHT: It’s not the advice that’s useful, it’s what it does to you

When someone gives you advice, particularly startup advice, it’s not the advice itself that’s typically useful. You can’t just take someone else’s idea and run with it. You have to make it your own. You have to feel it.

Rather, what great advice does is show you a new way forward that you weren’t seeing because you’d consciously or unconsciously shut the door on it. Perhaps you’d just assumed you had to start with your home market or the US market, and your mentor suggests you start by taking Sweden. Perhaps you had an unconscious belief that “I’m not the kind of person to speak at conferences”, and your mentor suggests you speak at SoCap.

The valuable part is not Sweden or SoCap. It’s that the discord between the advice and your beliefs points you to a door you’ve closed, that you weren’t aware of having closed. With that new awareness comes the choice to reopen it. And when you do, lots of other options are suddenly open to you – including the one that you may eventually choose.

That’s the power of great advice: It makes your world larger.