Gini Dietrich

The Best Advice I've Ever Received

By: Gini Dietrich | June 25, 2009 | 

I was reading Fortune’s “Best Advice I Ever Got” story and it got me thinking. What’s the best advice I’ve gotten as I’ve journeyed through my career?

1. Never be afraid to get your hands dirty.

2. Lead by example.

3. If you write down your dreams, you’re more likely to accomplish them (those of you who have been in my office know I live this one).

4. It’s okay to fail, if you pick yourself up and try again.

5. Treat everyone the same; you never know when your intern will be your client. Or, as Bill Gates says, the geeks run one of the largest companies in the world.

6. Actions speak louder than words.

7. Do what you love…love what you do.

8. Employees may not do things the same way you did them, but if it’s good, who cares? This also works in marriage: Your spouse may not make the bed the way you do, but as long as it’s made, who cares?

9. OBEY your instincts (I keep writing this because someday I’ll actually start doing it).

10. People will say bad things about you and try to make you look bad. Ignore them and stay the course.

11. Hire a coach. Even Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods have coaches.

12. Manage the culture and protect the brand. After all, it represents the whole of you.

13. Read voraciously.

14. Review financials EVERY DAY.

15. Create a succession plan.

And my favorite because it’s something my mom has said to me my entire life: Remember who you are and what you stand for.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • Gaurav Bhargava

    Great post Gini, another one which comes from real life experience. I am amazed having a blackberry or a smart phone is not one of them. Just kidding. I would like to add another one is “be proactive it might save you a lot of money and hurt at the end”.

  • Don’t take things too personally. Most of what people do is a reflection of them and their issues and has little to do with you.

  • I like this a lot, Gini! One of my old standbys – don’t be afraid to surround yourself with smart people. It makes you smarter, challenges and humbles you all at once.

  • Gene Deel

    From my father: “You may end up rich, poor, or somewhere in between, but the one thing you will always have is your reputation, so manage it with extreme diligence and always ensure you act with integrity.”

  • Nice article. Best advice I have received was after I wasn’t able to sell a new ad campaign. My boss asked me what I could have done differently to help me get the result I wanted instead of blaming the client’s ability to understand why it was a great idea.

  • Along the same lines as your mom’s line: It’s better to be hated for who you are loved than loved for you’re not.

    I wish I could say that was sage advice handed down from my elders, but it’s actually from a country song. Meh…same thing.

  • Oh this is fun! More great advice! I like it.

  • Gini, Fun post, I’m afraid that Jeannie stole my first thought, but I have more…

    When I was getting started someone told me that, “Clients aren’t going to crawl through your computer screen, you have to get out and meet people face to face. 90% of sales success is just showing up.” I see a lot of people (more now with SM) who want to sit at their computer and make sales. But we buy from people, and you have to “show up”.

    My $.02

  • The best advice I ever received was from a broker: You might as well be an optimistic. If you’re not, you’ll miss a lot of good opportunities. And if everything falls apart, we’re all going down together, so we’ll take care of things if it happens.

  • Great List Gini! Another one is:

    Trust your skills and knowledge – you know more than you give yourself credit for.

  • So much wisdom in the post and the comments. I have heard, followed, or should have followed much of what has been mentioned. One of best nuggets of advice I received, and it relates to Gini’s #4, is that something is only a mistake or failure if you don’t learn or grow from it.

    Best personal advice: From my mom as I was leaving the house to pick up my date for my senior prom “Keep it in your pants!”

  • Don’t feel like you have to do everything yourself–trust your team and leverage all your resources.

  • Best Advice: Find something beautiful everyday and spend ten minutes just looking at it! Great post!

  • Teresa Peek


    These and the ones left in comments are very good. Some, quite powerful. I have learned the truths in your #6 & #7.

    Here’s mine:
    NEVER stop learning. A person stops learning when they die, not a moment before.

  • Another fantastic post Gini! Best advice came from my sister – it’s not a quote but rather two tidbits of business knowledge if you will:
    1. Negotiation and conflict resolution are critical skills for career advancement and must be mastered at all costs.
    2. Develop the competency to manage remote and multifunctional teams using technology as a tool for communication, to measure productivity and set transparent expectations.

  • This is cool – thanks for sharing yours, Gini – good lessons and good insights into you, which I like! (:
    1. Value your voice
    2. Set a standard and fight to not only get there, but protect it
    3. Follow the signs – be open, flexible and creative – let the details go
    4. Choose what you do based on one thing only: the intersection of your skills and your desires
    5. Persevere. Don’t let the bugs get you down (whether in human or doubt form)
    6. Love, love, love
    Thanks for the question, Gini

  • Best advice I ever received was “Shut up.”

  • “Whining about stress combines our two favorite American pastimes – bragging and complaining. So we invent work just to feel busy. Don’t do that.”

  • Alex Blankenship

    Great post Gini! The best advice I’ve had is to Be Yourself. There’s only one you.

  • Love the post, and the smart people it attracted. My contribution has been stuck to my bulletin board for years. It is not advice as much as a reminder, and it has helped me in copywriting and life.
    “Few things are really essential.”

  • Welah C. Looky

    Fantastic post Gini, thank you so much for sharing. My favorite among the ones you have listed is #8.
    Some of the best advice which stuck with me through the years are in French, but I will translate to the best of my abilities.

    1) Failure and pain are an integral part of life. It is not the amount of obstacles you encounter which matters, it is the way you approach them that will make your life bearable and make you happy.

    2) Dad never allowed me to skip school for a tummy ache, etc. He always says:
    Le travail, c’est la santé —> Work is health (if you start working, you’ll feel better.)

    3) Never, ever give up

  • David Mallick

    Great post, and sound advice from everyone. My favourites are from my Dad and work both professionally and personally:

    1) Don’t try to run in the wrong shoes.

    2) It doesn’t matter what they look like, how they dress, where they’re from, or what their accent is. Just talk to them. We’re all human.

  • Travis

    Wow, this is such a great list!

    I know this is more of a cliche, but an acting instructor told me once, “‘Less is more’ shouldn’t be A motto, it should be THE motto.”

    There is a sublime simplicity in that.

  • Breathe.

  • When struggling to choose my next career move some time ago I got this advice – choose what you will do next so you can choose what to do after that. Best career advice I ever got. It took the pressure off making the perfect choice and reminded me to enjoy the journey. And what a wonderful journey it continues to be.

  • Yours, today!
    Have a nice weekend,

  • Dave

    Never Apologize for Obstacles

  • Matt

    Persistence, persistence, persistence.

    Even though the hamster on the wheel looks like he’s getting nowhere, he’s still getting stronger.

    BTW, on #13, you read *voraciously*, you speak (or act) veraciously.