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135. Five reasons I love giving entrepreneurial advice

I’ve just finished a coaching session. To be fair, it was more of a coaching lunch, but that doesn’t make it any worse. Quite the contrary. It inspired me (as these things always do), and I thought I’d share some thoughts on why.

I’ve kept it to five points so I didn’t go completely overboard. Enjoy! ;-)

  1. I can give advice I wished I’d gotten. To me, that’s cathartic. It doesn’t change my own past, but it gives meaning to my mistakes in a way that’s very gratifying. It feels a bit like having the opportunity to speak to my younger self, and I guess that’s something we all dream of.
  2. I can be much smarter than I am for myself. “Use your blog strategically.”, “Don’t get stuck with debts that will haunt you later.”, “Models matter, even if they seem silly.” Plenty of things I myself don’t do, because I’m too busy dealing with day-to-day issues to change drastically. But that doesn’t mean I can’t help others, or that my advice is wrong because I fail at following it.
  3. I become smarter by advising. Every time I talk to someone about entrepreneurship, I realise things about myself and my way of doing things. Though I’m not good at drastic change, I almost always end up doing something differently after one of those sessions. The belief that the best way to learn something is to teach it to someone else is one I subscribe to.
  4. I plant seeds, and that’s an amazing feeling. Who knows where this person will be in five years? What if what I say makes a difference in someone’s life? I know it can happen, and I’ll gladly admit that having people come to me and say “I followed your advice, and I’m now happier/smarter/richer/better/etc.” really means a lot. We all want to contribute, and I’m certainly no exception.
  5. I am good at it, and getting better all the time. The first couple of times I gave people advice on how to realise their business ideas, it felt strange. What did I know of that, just running a small company? Who was I to hand out advice, while struggling myself? It wasn’t Imposter Syndrome (see xx), but honest doubt if I had any valuable wisdom to impart. I’ve long since moved past that, and now I know that I DO know a thing or two that helps people. And the more I do it, the more sense I make.

And no, the picture isn’t from that lunch. It’s from a Western larp in Czechia. I just wish it looked like that. ;-)

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Written by

Director, The College of Extraordinary Experiences & Coach at McKinsey

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