The Ability to Filter Input

Beware: All advice is not created equal. 

We all get advice, some of it welcomed and some of it unsolicited. 

Sometimes the advice we receive is exactly what we need, at the right time. 

Conversely, we sometimes get advice that is vague and often misleading—which makes it even harder to achieve the results we desire.

When life gets difficult, many people spend their days looking for answers. Often times, they’re told to get everyone’s input as they navigate their decision or challenge. 

Here is what they discover: Everybody has an opinion about something. 

Note to self: Opinions are just that—opinions. 

Opinions are often neither right nor wrong; they are just someone’s point of view.

An important leadership attribute is the ability to filter input you get from multiple different sources. 

  • Does the person you are seeking advice from have relevant experience? Have they successfully navigated a similar dynamic?
  • Is the advice you are getting actionable? Is it something you can act on or is it just food for thought?
  • Has the advice seeded a new perspective that leads you closer to the answers you seek?

One of the mistakes I see many leaders make is that they spend too much time getting everyone’s input. Sometimes, people get so much input that the sheer weight of everyone’s thoughts becomes paralyzing. 

You must become more discerning about the input and advice you receive. I believe in seeking guidance from those who already have (or know how to get) what you want. Seek out advice from trusted, reliable, and relevant sources of information while remaining open to new perspectives. 

Choose your sources carefully. 

Here is a quick filter I apply when receiving advice: 

  • Is it relevant input or tangential input?
  • Is it input I need to act on today or is it input I can act on tomorrow?
  • Is it input that doesn’t require any action? 
  • Is it opening my mind to new ideas and perspectives that I didn’t already consider?

It’s not the input you receive that matters, but instead the filter you apply to make effective decisions. 

Earlier in my career, I fell victim to getting too much input from too many people. This led to a lot of misleading advice. I discovered certain thought patterns that I was programmed to believe were true, which in fact turned out to be false—and limiting. I had some unlearning to do.

Would you like to know some of the misleading advice I was given? 

Tune into this week’s episode of the Getting Results podcast: Misleading Advice Others Share and Three NEW Habits That Will Change Your Life. In this episode, I discuss how this misleading advice turned out to be a blessing. It helped me develop the ability to filter the input I receive from so many sources. Imagine if the same could be true for you.