I’m regularly dumbfounded by clients and friends who tell me a friend or family member of theirs told them they don’t think my suggestions are correct, that I’m coaching them to eat too much food or that I’m asking them to lift too heavy. My question is always: Does that person look like you want to look?

Everyone has an opinion. Just because someone has an opinion doesn’t mean there is knowledge or experience behind it. Sometimes they have made an opinion based on misinformation. Most of the time it is biased, based on their experience. While most advice is not life-changing, there are times when it could have a major impact on your choices or life direction. So when SHOULD you take advice and when SHOULDN’T you? Use these questions:

1. Is the person giving you advice where you want to be? If you wouldn’t want to trade places with them, why would their advice be appropriate? Is that friend giving you health advice living their own advice?

2. Are they an expert on that topic? Are their education and experience based around the advice you are seeking?

3. Do they have your best interest at heart? While most people want you to do well, they don’t want you to do better than they are as they may not be willing to put forth the effort. They may subconsciously try to sabotage your efforts.

4. Do they know your goals? They might have great ideas but they may not fit the direction you are looking to go.

5. Do you know them personally? Or are you taking advice from the Internet, where people can be completely anonymous and many times untruthful?

Whether the advice was asked for or unsolicited, be smart about taking it. Use your education, experience and throw in a dash of common sense. If you don’t feel like the person giving it is truly knowledgeable, don’t take it.

Feedback is important. It helps us to stay on the path we are on when traveling toward our goals. But we must be careful of whom we request our feedback from. Most of the time we know the answer to our quest for advice. Our gut instinct is rarely a bad choice. But when good advice is given, be ready to listen and adjust your thinking.