We've all been told that one path to success is to get help from others, more specifically from a Mentor. However, if you want to achieve success that is in alignment with who you are, you may need to re-think advice that is given to you. Instead look for support, or even better, know the difference between the two.

More often than not when someone takes on the role of a Mentor, they are providing advice. Advice is usually words of wisdom that are a result of having had experience and then providing suggestions based on that experience. Meaning - the advice is generally a regurgitation of what has worked for them. Advice can be helpful if the person receiving it has a similar life situation as the person giving it and is in need of specific steps that are universal for the need. However, more often than not, when it comes to career questions, the right answers are as different and unique as the individual. Meaning, what you need is support rather than advice. Support is custom tailored suggestions based on who you are.

The key is knowing when to ditch the advice and ask for support, and ultimately when to ask for advice when you actually need it:

Ditch advice when:

  • It doesn't resonate with you
  • Doing it involves being someone you're not
  • It requires you to build a weakness rather than leverage a strength
  • It doesn't excite you

Ask for Support when:

  • You need help brainstorming ideas that are in alignment with who you are
  • When you have a bunch of ideas but are not sure which to pursue
  • When you need to vent or need a sounding board for your issue

Or know when to ask for advice:

  • When you have a very clear goal that someone else has achieved and there is a clear process that you must follow to get there
  • When someone is similar to you and you believe knowing their approach would help you see your own more clearly
  • When you admire someone and believe in their approach and want to learn and be inspired by their ideas
  • When you want to source information that you can then filter through your own experience

The bottom line is that there is no one path to success. Everyone's journey is unique and is a reflection of who they are. Don't get caught in the trap of following someone else's ideas because you don't believe in your own.