The Best Advice I Ever Got

The Best Advice I Ever Got

Over the course of my life I’ve been fortunate enough to be on the receiving end of some supremely valuable advice. Advice is meant to be shared! In this post I’ll talk about the best advice I ever got. I’ll also site who shared it, and explain how it helped shape my life.

The Best Advice I Ever Got


The Best Advice I Ever Got

Please note, the advice listed is not taken verbatim from the source. Rather, it’s my interpretation of the point each of them was trying to make. Three of the four pieces of advice are crafted into my own words, not necessarily a direct quote.

Without further ado, here is the best advice I ever got. Listed in order of impact from least to most…


“Understand your priorities.”

Source: Barb Wallander, SVP Transportation Systems and Chief Postal Officer at FedEx Ground

I had the pleasure of working with Barb during my days at FedEx. Before I moved to NC, Barb was selected to speak at at a luncheon hosted by the Waukesha County Business Alliance. During her talk she focused on things she’d learned to help her manage a successful career as a female executive.The biggest takeaway for me was her anecdote on understanding your priorities.

As many women (and men) know, being a successful professional and a good parent is tough. Many people face difficult decisions on a daily basis with the multitude of things competing for our time. During the talk Barb was very honest with the audience, saying at times it was difficult for her to find balance in life. She regularly faced tough decisions about with whom and how she should spend her time. Kids soccer game? Or finishing that project at the office?

What I especially loved was the way Barb explained her point. I’m certainly paraphrasing here, but she said this is something you have to remember –  when you’re facing a really tough time, when you’re down in the dumps and you’ve had an awful day, or when you really need some support, who is going to be there for you? Who do you most want by your side? It’s not your boss, and it’s not your company. It’s your family. Make sure you’re there for them, when they truly need you.

Sometimes the kid’s soccer game really is the most important thing.

Since I’ve heard Barb give this speech, I’ve relied on her advice about understanding priorities many times over. It’s helped me be confident in my decisions, even if  [insert whoever] doesn’t understand my choice.


“Be authentic – in all that you do. ALWAYS.”

Source: Stan Slap, Author

“Be authentic.” This kernel of advice is plentiful in the business, leadership and blogging world. What makes Stan’s take unique is his adamant focus on the need to be open and honest about your true self, even at work. Bury My Heart at Conference Room B is focused entirely on being your true self in the workplace, and sharing with your team the why behind who you are.

The “slap” in the face I received was understanding living by my values is critical to being happy, no matter where I am or who I’m with. Bury My Heart… will forever remain on my “life-changing bookshelf” and I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to be happier at work.

I understood what my core values meant and the fundamental role they needed to play in my whole life, not just a slice.

Stan’s insight help guide me to live according to my values, and I haven’t looked back! Since reading his words of wisdom and implementing his techniques, my life is in harmony. At work, at home, on the volleyball court, at the grocery store. Wherever I am and whoever I’m with, I’m the same me. No matter the situation I am authentic! I live by my core values. This is something I enjoy sharing with others.

Stan’s advice means so much to me. This is why of all the autographs I’ve ever received (professional athletes, the 2001 Notre Dame football team, Tony Danza, a few authors), Stan’s handwritten note is my most cherished.Stan-Slap-Autograph


“Don’t forget to breathe, in and out.”

Source: Sue Malo, my mom – courtesy of the one and only Grover Monster

The genesis of this line was in the movie Follow That Bird.  Big Bird was about to embark on a monumental adventure – leaving his home on Sesame Street to go live with a bird family. His SS pals were bidding him farewell and offering up tidbits of their best advice. Grover said “Don’t forget to breathe! In and out!”.

My mom, brother and I found the plain truth of this exchange to be humorous. Over time we came to repeatedly use that same expression. When one of us was facing a tough challenge, going off on a new adventure, or feeling a bit too overwhelmed or afraid someone would always offer up “Don’t forget to breathe! In and out!” The saying took on a new meaning. It provided a sense of calm both to the giver and the receiver.

Sometimes you need a little motto to help you feel at ease.

“Don’t forget to breathe, in and out!” will always serve as a reminder for me to relax, take a deep breath in and then slowly exhale, all the while knowing that everything will work out. No matter how dismal or difficult things seem now, it will be OK. My mom and I still use the saying to this day!


“Learn from every situation.”

Source: Jim Schwebke, my dad

My parents were my very first teachers, and also my most influential. My dad never missed an opportunity to look for a lesson or to understand what one could do differently to achieve a better outcome. He sought to learn from every situation, whether the result was good or bad.

Perhaps I didn’t always appreciate this advice as a young teenager. Sometimes I just wanted to enjoy a basketball win with my friends. Dad would rather have me critique my game to understand what I could have done better to make the win a little less hard-fought.

Enlightenment is an endless pursuit.

As an adult I came to understand the purpose behind my dad’s lessons. I guess you could say this part of him is instilled in me – his focus on continuous improvement is literally in my blood. Now I spend my time reflecting and analyzing every situation to try and make improvements or understand how a positive outcome was achieved. Learning will always be of utmost importance to me. I’ve made it my mission in life to help others become more enlightened by reflecting and learning from their experiences.


Call To Action

I challenge you, my friends and readers, to take the best advice I ever got, mix it with what you’ve heard elsewhere, and find a way to incorporate these insights into your own life.

Ideas to help remember great advice

  • Write yourself little reminders on post-its. Put them in a place you will see every day, like the bathroom mirror, the pantry door or above the key rack. Be Authentic Post-it Reminder
  • Note great advice in your planner. Write yourself tasks to re-read the advice; keep it top of mind!
  • Keep an advice journal. Whenever you’re feeling stuck or a bit deflated pick up your advice book and find some words of encouragement!
  • Share great advice with your friends and colleagues. Talk about what works for you and why a specific piece of advice struck a chord.
  • Tweet or share on other social media.


Share Your Own “The Best Advice I Ever Got”

What is the most impactful advice someone has given you? Please share by posting a comment below. More advice shared means more insights!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I only recommend products/books that I have personally used or read, and that I feel will benefit my readers.