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429: Encouragement vs Advice

The Startup Chat with Steli and Hiten podcast.

July 30

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about encouragement vs advice and the importance of encouragement.


This episode comes after a recent tweet by Hiten about the power of encouragement and the impact it can have on the person who is being encouraged. 


In today’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about the definition of encouragement, why this tweet resonated strongly with Steli, the best thing we can do for other people when it comes to giving advice and much more. 


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:39 Why this topic was created.


01:13 What prompted Hiten to share this thought.


03:04 How we really can’t do much to get somebody else to do something.


03:42 What people tend to care about.


04:03 How Hiten hardly does anything with great advice he gets.


04:59 The best thing we can do for other people.


06:00 Why this tweet resonated with Steli.


06:30 The definition of encouragement.


06:41 How Steli typically sees encouragement.


3 Key Points:


We really can’t do much to get somebody else to do somethingYou don’t really care about my opinion and that’s ok.Some of the best advice I’ve gotten, I haven’t done anything with.


[0:00:01]


Steli Efti: Hey, everybody, this is Steli Efti.


[0:00:04]


Hiten Shah: And, this is Hiten Shah.


[0:00:05]


Steli Efti: Today on The Startup Chat we're going to talk about encouragement versus advice. And here's why we want to talk about this. It's because you'd recently tweeted about it, Hiten. You had a few really interesting things to say about the power of encouragement and how the advice you were giving to people, how potentially the impact of that advice was more the encouragement that you were giving people versus just the pure advice itself. I responded really strongly when I read that. Probably... Well, I'll get to that a bit later. There's probably a few biases or things going on on my end, why that really stood out. But I wanted to unpack that. I saw that a lot of people actually responded to this tweet. So first and foremost, what prompted you sharing this thought or having this thought and talking about the difference between encouragement and advice and the importance of encouragement?


[0:01:03]


Hiten Shah: So most writing, whether it's tweets or blog posts have been marinating in your head for a while, right? That's just usually what it is. I mean, they might feel impulsive at the time, especially if it's a tweet, but generally they marinate for a while. So one thing is, I mean, just like you, I've given a lot of advice in my life, or what I thought was advice, to the point of the tweet. And I was actually in LA, I was speaking to a bunch of product people in LA. And someone came up to me after and said... Well, she also emailed me after. So I'll share the line from the email that's relevant. She said, "As I told you in person, I had been feeling less motivated than usual. And since your discussion, I've been back to my jazzed/motivated itself. So thank you for that." And I don't know what I did. I was just speaking. So I gave a presentation. Actually, I was speaking for a while that day, but the two things I did she saw where, I gave a presentation and I moderated a panel back to back. And for whatever reason, that's what she said. And she also said, "It was an amazing meeting," and amazing all caps. So this was the latest event that happened. I didn't actually give her any advice except whatever she heard from the presentation and the panel. And I've asked people in the past about my advice, more recently, people that I've given a lot of advice to or I've known for a while and gotten their feedback on it. And I think we really can't do much to get somebody else to do something. We just can't. And that's a hard thing for some of us who give advice.

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download episode
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everybody. This is Stella Hefty. And this is heat and shot. And today on the Southern trip, we're gonna talk about encouragement versus advice you like talking about more than your sales and marketing. We just wanna bullshit and Chet about business in life. And hopefully, while we're doing that for my long value todo for people trying to get shit done way don't want to give you feedback. That's bullshit. You want you to do your best, is why we want to talk about this. It's because you recently tweeted about it eaten and a few really interesting things to say about the power of encouragement and how the advise you were giving to people how potentially the impact of that advice was more the encouragement that you were giving people versus just the pure, you know, advice itself. And I responded really strongly when I read that probably. Well, I'll get to that a bit later.

There's probably a few biases or things going on on my, um, by that really stood out, but But I wanted to unpack. It s so that a lot of people actually responded to to the streets. So first and foremost, what prompted you sharing this thought of having this thought. I'm talking about the difference between encouragement and advice and the importance of encouragement.

1:17
How can I force myself to write a blog post?

According to Steli Efti from Close.com, best writing, be that a tweet or a blog post, marinate in your head for a while, until one day you finally feel inspired to write it down.



So most writing, whether it's tweets or like black posts, have been marinating in your head for a while, right? Like that's like just usually what it is. I mean, they might feel impulsive at the time, especially tweet, but generally they marinate for a while. So one thing is like, I mean, just like you, like giving a lot of advice in my life or what I thought was advice to the point of the tweet. And I was actually in L. A. I was speaking to ah, bunch of product people in L.

A. And someone came up to me after and said, Well, she also e mailed me after, so I'll share the line from the email that's relevant, she said. As I told you in person, I had been feeling less motivated than usual, and since your discussion, I've been back to my jazz slash motivated self. So thank you for that, and I don't know what I did. I was just speaking eso I gave a presentation. Actually, it was speaking for a while that day, but I gave the two things I did,

Ah, where I gave a presentation, and I did, ah, moderated a panel. No, back to back. And for whatever reason, that's what she said. And she also said it was amazing meeting you an amazing all caps. So this was like the latest event that happened. I didn't actually give her any advice. Accept whatever she heard from the presentation in the panel. And I've asked people in the past, like about my advice more recently, like about people that I've given a lot of advice to Our I've known for a while and gotten their feedback on it.

And, you know, like I think, you know, we really can't do much to get somebody else to do something. Mmm. We just can't. And that's all our thing for some of us who give advice, it's probably even a hard thing for people who receive it. Nice, Right? Okay. I can't I can't do anything for you, Like, straight up, like I can't do anything for you.

I can't make you do something that's right for your wrong or whatever, because it's just gonna be in my opinion. You don't really care about my opinion, and that's okay. It's totally fine. You care about yourself. You care about what you're struggling with. You care about what you need to do, and that's it. And at best, if your, ah, somebody who I am really good friends with or is my best friend or whatever you want to use, I'm really close with. I might weigh your feedback European Union advice a little bit more, or maybe a lot more. But that doesn't mean I'm gonna do anything about it. Some of the best advice I've gotten Stelly I haven't done anything

4:3

with Uh oh, you're probably the only person like that and the rest of the world is act on the best advice. It's best that my seat,

4:12

obviously we're acting goaded him. You know, I've had an instance recently where someone was giving me advice for like, over a year, and I should have just listened. I just should have listened. They would have prevented so much if I just listen. But I did it. I should have listened. They told me this advice repeatedly, very compassionately. Every time I brought up my problem, I listen And so a lot of this comes from like, uh, we're not gonna listen to advice. We just This is not how we're wired, right?

And so the best we can do for other people, I would say, in the context of advice or contacts of being around them is just be encouraging. So the tweet was encouragement is more important than advice. And then I I got I went on to explain Explain this, but I didn't necessarily explain it in the way I just did to you. Because, you know, this is not cast. It's more intimate ID like you and I were talking about. And you brought it up because apparently a struck a nerve. So I'd love to hear kind of what nervous struck and what your thoughts are. But this is something that's been on my mind for a while

5:19

now. That's beautiful. I love I love that you shared this. Andi, This is one of the reasons why we have this podcast is because, you know, you and I think about similar topics, often very differently at first, but not really at all. Once you dig a bit deeper, that the reason why it stood out to me is because I do feel like I have. I feel bad about not feeling like I'm that encouraging lately and with lately I mean last couple of years. So when I read that I was a condom, I really would I say or describe myself as somebody that's encouraging this. Not really. But then when I thought then there's the other thing that I did that I learned from use, I looked at the dictionary definition of encouragement.

It was actually at first I missed it. But then when I read it again, it stood out to me because the definition here, at least the ghoul spits out, is the action of giving someone support, confidence or hope. And so my definition, I think when I when I heard what I hear the word encouragement, I always feel about somebody that's telling people nice pics by ah, positive fixed independently, right? Oh, you can do it. This is gonna work out. I believe in you. You are special,

like that kind of a thing that when I think about it in that framework, I'm like, it's not me at all, like I'm actually very discouraging. I'm not telling a lot of people that everything will be fine. You just think positive in the world is gonna like things are gonna be really nice. But when I read this the dictionary definition, just the act of giving somebody support confidence. I hope I'm like, yeah, all right. I under this definition, I am probably encouraging too many, at least from the feedback that I'm getting. And so there's some kind of internal I do feel like I have a bad have accumulated. Ah,

back conscious about not being more positive with people. But I do feel like I'm I can be very harsh. I think I can be, you know, just setting very high standards. It could be pushing people will be hard. But at the same time, I constantly get the feedback that people, you know, people do get a lot of support for me. So that's something that that definitely checks off in my list. Do I support a lot of people? Yes. Do I try to help a lot of people? Yes. And a lot of people tell me that they get confidence hope from consuming my content.

Listen to me. You're talking to me, but they was this. I think there was this interpretation that I had. That encouragement was like maybe overly positive. And that didn't fit with me. And I was a calm maybe, I don't know. Maybe I need to be more positive. Maybe I need to be a bit nicer. So I responded strongly to your tweet because I felt like I'm not living up to it and there's maybe a missed opportunity.

8:23
Which advice is the right advice?

When you are helping other people, it is easy to get past the emotion of a decision and to give straight factual advice. However, more likely than not, that's a wrong way to go about it.

Next time someone comes to you for advice, instead of jumping to conclusions and giving them prescriptive advice on what to do, listen and have compassion, mimic their feelings and reflect back, provide encouragement.

It might be tempting to ignore their feelings, but you should acknowledge those feelings instead. Get people to open up.

Here is how to choose what type of advice to give, for each situation:

- Hope, for a really crappy situation when nothing else helps.
- Confidence, for a situation where the outcome is unknown.
- Support, for an emotionally tough place.



That's really what stood out to me At first. I think it's the way we think about it, right? Like I used to just pour on advice because, you know, I tend to be pretty intuitive about what somebody should do, right? Oh, or what I think they should do. It's not even what I think. It's what they should do, right, like what the most rational, pragmatic, logical thing is. I used to be able to get past my emotion or their emotion. This is much easier to do when you're helping other people,

and what I realized is I They come to me. They want advice. With the end of the day. They want the definition of encouragement. They want support, confidence and hope right, if they're in a really crappy situation and they just need to go through it, they need hope, right? If they're in a place where they don't know if what's gonna happen next, like bacon do or they can achieve, they need confidence, Right? And if they're going through something legit, like emotionally tough, they need support,

right? And it's like the best thing we can do to influence somebody. In my opinion, at this point, after, you know, struggling with this is encouraged them and that doesn't mean we don't give our advice. That doesn't mean we don't do any of that. That just literally means that, like when we speak to each other, we can provide more encouragement and less prescriptive advice like you should do this or you should do that. And encouragement comes in the form of like just listening and having compassion for whatever journey they're going on, because a lot of times advice, like is like, Oh, I know what they should do.

I know what they should do. But you lack compassion for what they're going through. Like you're not actually listening. You're not actually paying attention to their emotion. You're not like that. Sometimes what I'll do is I'll mimic and reflect back on. Like, are you feeling like this because it sounds like you're feeling like this, right? And that's really helpful, because then I'm not sitting there like, Oh, this is this is like, you know, I'm not ignoring their feelings. I know that sounds weird,

but like that's really powerful. And sometimes, like the words people use. Some folks don't like to, like, you know, speak of their feelings. So the words people use can give you a clue as to how they're feeling. And then when you ask them, Hey, are you feeling like this? Uh, they'll open up more and they'll actually talk to you in a more re away related to how they're feeling Surprise surprise on Dhe s. Oh, yeah, I think this is a big deal,

like there's now more advice than ever. A lot of the advice is in in block posts and tweets and things like that. There's encouragement in those places as well. Don't get me wrong. But when we're one on one with people, I think that there's we can get to another level and just, you know, focus on our compact being compassionate for their journey, their situation, whatever it may be. You know, whatever kind of problem they have, whether it's really tough personal problem or, you know, a really, you know,

simple, like business problem, whatever it may be, let's let's take it up a notch and and and and I would say be more, um encouraging, be more compassionate, spend more time listening to people and don't rush to give them answers because that's honestly not what they need or what they're usually looking for.

11:33

I love it Such a beautiful way to end this podcast. So that's a little bit of an action in a culture action, from heating for all of us and maybe just too, to double click on that in a different way before we wrap up. You know, one is how can you be more encouraging to others because it really can make a big difference. I could also ask yourself who's been really encouraging to you lately, who has been somebody that's really giving you hope, support and confidence. Maybe today, maybe right now is the time to let them know, like tell them thank you or finds more time to spend with them because people that are really encouraging should be a big part of your life or a bigger part of your life. You should give the more of your time there really, really making a difference. So, yeah, let's all try to be more encouraging to others. And let's try to create a positive reinforcing feedback loop. So we do receive real encouragement. We let those people know that's it from us for this episode chairs.

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