Today we are examining the Maya Angelou quote “Be wary when a naked person offers you his shirt.” This quote has 3 lessons for entrepreneurs that are worth pointing out. These lessons are:
- Pay attention to what is going on.
- Not all advice is good advice.
- Don’t let your good be evilly spoken of.
Pay attention to what is going on.
In order to succeed in business, entrepreneurs must pay attention to what is going on in their businesses. There are dozens upon dozens of things happening each day at most businesses. There are employees to manage. Projects must be completed. Sales need to be made. Continuing education should be happening. Smart entrepreneurs know that they cannot succeed in business if they keep their heads buried in computers or smartphones. They must get up, get out, and look around at what is going on with their businesses.
It is important to pay attention because it is easier to prevent fires than it is to put out fires. When you pay attention to what is going on in your business on a regular basis, you are able to see potential problems. When you can identify potential problems, you can stop them from becoming actual problems. When you pay attention to what going on in your business, you are able to be pro-active, rather than reactive. Paying attention to what is going on provides great benefits to entrepreneurs.
Not all advice is good advice.
It is important to realize that all advice is good advice. There are entrepreneurs who are successful because they work hard and work smart. There are other entrepreneurs who are successful because they have a good team around them and they themselves are not particularly smart or talented. Some advice if good for entrepreneurs in certain industries and others. Some advice is good only for certain people in certain circumstances.
As an entrepreneur, it is important that you not take every piece of advice that comes your way. You must pay attention to what is going on in your business so that you will be able to distinguish good advice from bad. When you get good advice, you can simply than the advice-giver and move on without accepting it. If at all possible, do not insult a person who gives you bad advice, simply don’t take it. Don’t forget that a person who gives you bad advice today, may give you great advice tomorrow. Pay attention to what is going on in your business and around you so that you can distinguish good and bad advice when presented.
Don’t let your good be evilly spoken of.
When you do good things, it is important that you do not appear to be doing something bad. Think about it for a moment. When a man with nothing but his shirt offers you that shirt, it seems strange. That action doesn’t seem to make sense. In fact, it seems downright strange. However, you may need that shirt more than he does. For example, if you have been injured and are bleeding, you need that shirt to stop the blood. He was going a good thing, by offering you his shirt, but it may, in fact, be a bad thing.
In your business pay attention to what you do and how you do it. When you do good things but do it in a bad manner, your good will be evilly spoken of. This means you must pay attention to your tone, your attitude, and even your facial expressions. When doing things for employees, partners, and customers be sure to pay attention to your words. Do not use words that make people think of negative stereotypes. All of these things matter. You must be careful so that your good is not evilly spoken of.
Don’t forget, Maya Angelou was correct when she said, “Be wary when a naked person offers you his shirt.” Also, remember the 3 lessons for entrepreneurs that come from this quote: pay attention to what is going on, not all advice is good advice, and don’t let your good be evilly spoken of. Take a moment now to reflect on these lessons. How can you put them into play in your business? Be sure to share your ideas in the comment section. You may help someone find a breakthrough.