Photos by J. Alan Paul Photography and Paul Flessland
Good advice gets a lot of attention, and rightly so. It can change our perspective, make us re-think previously held assumptions and inspire us to action. But what about bad advice? Can’t it do the same, if in a more roundabout way?
We asked three people featured in this month’s Fargo INC! about the single worst piece of advice they ever received, and their answers didn’t disappoint.
Mark J. Lindquist
Founder, Mark J. Lindquist Motivational Speaking
“As I began building my business, I was told that the only ship that doesn’t sail is a partnership. SO many people told me that partnerships never work, and to be honest, this was the worst advice I’ve ever received as a small business owner.
“I will tell you that the reason why I have built one of the largest and fastest-growing motivational speaking firms in America is because of my partnership with my business manager. He compliments my weaknesses, and I utilize my strengths.
“Left to my own thoughts and ideas, I would make decisions that are a five or six on a scale of 1-10. When he and I make decisions together, we take that six and improve it to an eight or nine because we see the problem from a different angle, respect each other’s opinions and input, and we always come up with a solution that was better than either of us could have developed on our own. “As a small-business owner, you can’t afford to make too many decisions that are twos, threes, and fours, or you’ll be out of business in no time. We consistently make decisions that are eights and higher, and we believe that we grow because of it.
Founder & Executive Director, Inspire Innovation Lab
“The worst piece of advice I ever got was that my idea was ‘too big’ and that I needed to choose one thing to focus on.
“I had viewed my ‘one thing’ as an umbrella for many, where someone else thought I needed to ditch the umbrella and choose one thing under it.
“I’m glad I didn’t take the advice. Don’t do it. Follow your dream.”
“Downtown Dave” Anderson
Public Affairs Director, Sanford Health
“Even bad advice is good if you have the sense to recognize what’s going to help or hinder, but here goes:
“‘Don’t go to Fargo!’ they said.
“‘You’ll freeze to death,’ they said.
“They don’t have summer there!’ they said.
“Summers here are terrific, and, lordy, what a great place to live, work and play!
“‘Choose a career with a good company, and work your way up over time,’ they said.
“I didn’t. What a boring existence that would be!
“‘Fly United,’ they said.
“I didn’t and have never been dragged off a plane.”