The best advice I ever received

Bob Borson —  March 15, 2011 — 32 Comments


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The best advice I ever received? That’s easy:

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“Do what you say you’re going to do, when you say you’re going to do it”

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This advice is pretty straight forward – although it’s not as easy to pull off as one might think. When I have had the opportunity to dole this little kernel out to others, I generally try and explain why I think it is so important. This has everything to do with you making someone elses life easier. You manage to do that on a consistent basis, people come to rely on you and know that you can be counted on. Eventually, you move beyond being the first choice and become the only choice. The caveat to this advice is if you can’t follow through, you need to let someone know the instant you realize it. Besides taking accountability for your actions (or inactions as it were), this has to do with allowing others to deal with the effects or ramifications of you not doing your part.

It has been my experience that people I work with realize that I have their best interests at heart, that in addition to the work I am responsible to creating, I am at the mercy of others following through on their promises as well. I explain that as soon as you realize that you can’t make good on delivering your promise, let the other party know so that they have time to deal with whatever problem you have just created for them.

Take a moment and let that sink in, it’s important. The problem that you just created for them.

If I can limit the damage of not making a schedule or a delivery, the other person has some time to react accordingly. Sure there is going to be some disappointment in the results but you can recover from that if this is not a pattern of behaviour – it’s their disappointment in you that is hard to recover from. If you are creating problems that other people have to deal with – what good are you as a service professional? Why would you expect someone to keep you around?

Doing what you said you were going to do, when you said you were going to do it will take you very far in this world. .

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I’m glad I went with this piece of advice over this, my second choice:

“Don’t get a stupid haircut when you are supposed to be a professional”

This is what I call a” career limiting” haircut. Unless you are in a punk rock band, no matter how hard your child begs you, do not let them have a mohawk hair-do with a little party going on in the back. I can’t even begin to focus on that t-shirt. That is a deadly combination junior is sporting – good looking out mom and dad. You haven’t lowered expectations for this kid at all.

Cheers

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  • Susie

    Good advice! One of my most valuable lessons learned is that punctuality is a form of respect. By being late you’re saying you don’t respect the other persons time. I also learned after working too many nights and weekends that it’s up to me to set boundaries at work. I can be flexible and hard working without feeling like I am being taken advantage of.

  • Derek

    truely a good advice.. as a student, I have let down the people I work with very often all because I took on too many tasks from different people, without letting them know I have other things to work on or just ended up doing things wrong.

    Could you give us some advice on ‘time management’ please? I seem to never judge the amount I need to do a task right.. always leads to creating trouble and disappointment for other people. >< Probably the only thing I hate and fear in this profession.

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      time management … what’s that?

      In all seriousness, it might take a while but I’ll see if I can’t put something together

  • http://twitter.com/brett_wolfe Brett Wolfe

    could you please provide a detail on how the mohawk successfully transitions into the mullet? I’m having trouble recreating it.

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      hilarious –

      they were separated by a landing patch of scalp.

  • http://twitter.com/CarlosGrc Juan Carlos Garcia

    About the haircut seems discriminatory and prejudiced.

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      probably …

      judging a book by its cover will not necessarily tell you the truth but that doesn’t mean people aren’t doing it. I have also talked about how perception is reality, another bumper-sticker-ism but who said life is fair.

  • Pingback: “Do what you say you’re going to do, when you say you’re going to do it” « Life's Best Advice()

  • http://www.dogwalkblog.com/ Rufus Dogg

    Your first choice was good, but I like your third choice the best. “Don’t get a tattoo on your face. Unless you’re a sad clown.” :-) I’m sure I read that somewhere…. pretty sure… almost sure.. ok, I’m making it all up.

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      I am pretty sure I almost might have not said something similar to that but different in an identical manner.

      Hope we cleared that up.

  • http://twitter.com/RigginsConst Riggins Construction

    Another version is “Let your yes be yes and your no be no.” Well written post. I like the PS about the haircut-classic.

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      I am going to use your quote in an upcoming post I think – it’s great!

  • Richard

    …I only wish I had that much hair to do that kind of cut with now….. :-(

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      It’s the young person’s version of the comb-over I think. Either way, I think we would all be okay without either versions

  • http://www.buildingmoxie.com jb @BuildingMoxie

    simply great advice. and this was just added bonus — “. . . mohawk hair-do with a *little party going on in the back*. Gold!

    thanks bob!

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Who knew what gold that picture was going to be – just another gem from my trip to SeaWorld this weekend!

  • http://twitter.com/SaxonHenry Saxon Henry

    Great post, Bob, and so true. The domino effect is never good but best when caught early in the smack-down. Just imagining how your avatar would change if you had that haircut!!! I don’t have the time to stop in often but I’m always inspired when I do…

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Thanks Saxon, that means a lot coming from you. If I can ever figure what I need to do to get you by here more often, I’d do it!!

      (most likely)

  • mm

    Great advice this morning! All the way around.

  • Brenda Lynn

    Bob, both points are great advice. The first one is something my daddy taught me a long time ago, along with “a job worth doing is worth doing right.” I try very hard to employ both everyday. I lived for too many years with a man who never followed that first piece of advice.

    The 2nd, that haircut is truly a scary sight! At that age, the parents should be able to control the haircut, unfortunately, we know there are parents out there caving into their kids stupid demands everyday. These people just want to be “friends” with their kids, not parents!

    My younger daughter (23) is a tattoo artist. One piece of advice she has followed, well she had the last time I saw her, was to not put a tatt where she couldn’t cover it up with business attire, because she may want to do something else later in life. I will let you know if she is still following that when I see here this weekend.

    Brenda Lynn

    PS sorry about my run-on sentences, I know better…hehehe..I am also a rebel!

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Brenda,

      I love run on sentences!! . I love what I do but I sure do hope I am not doing the same thing I’m doing now in 10 years!

      (and yes, let me know how your trip goes this weekend)

  • http://bluecollarradionetwork.com James Dibben

    Okay, so I’m going to talk about my dad on your blog, how’s that for a plan?

    This is my dad, all the way. He has ran a custom cabinet shop since the late 80’s. A few years ago, when talking with one of his customers, I asked what his favorite characteristic of my dad was. He told me, “If your dad says he is going to do something, he does it, every time”.

    In business, nothing stopped my dad from doing what he said he would do, ever.

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      What a great compliment for your Dad! I am sure you are proud of your Dad for many reasons but that has to be one of the top reasons.

      Thank for sharing James, I appreciate it.

  • izzy darlow

    That IS good advice.

    The real problem with that hair cut is that it’s two bad haircuts in one. The curly back belongs with a mullet, and the mohawk really could use some color like bright green :)

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      I think the Mohawk needs its own identity and green would definitely set it apart from that mess in the back. I honestly think if it had only been the Mohawk, I wouldn’t have even noticed it.

      Yeeesshhhh!

  • http://twitter.com/ecomod Becky Shankle

    What Nick said! LOL

  • http://twitter.com/ecomod Becky Shankle

    What Nick said! LOL

  • http://twitter.com/cupboards Nick @ Cupboards

    Both good points, but you could’ve added excessive piercings and offensive tattoos to that last part.

    Good day, Bob!

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Indeed – all are career limiting moves. I am humbled that you would stop down and leave a comment while on vacation.

      Thanks Nick!

  • http://www.originalgreen.org stevemouzon

    Hilarious hair cut shot… thanks so much for posting that, Bob! Great way to start the day! My #letsblogoff, unfortunately, is much more… umm… “earnest,” I guess: http://bit.ly/eNNS0h

  • Alistair

    Too true. Excellent advice, although as humans we hate to admit fallibility, although if we are to progress then it’s exactly what we need to do. I’ve found that communication is the key to success; on that note I must sign off as I need to email a client as I’m a little behind schedule – you can have it tonight or you can have right!

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Thanks Alistair,

      Your last bit made me think of the line:
      Better – Faster – Cheaper
      you can only have two out of this three

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, I appreciate it.