If you own a business, I’m sure you go through some of the same things I do, like responding to unsolicited advice. If you haven’t encountered this yet, you almost certainly will at some point down the road. When this happens, you need to be prepared to defend the core values that you have defined for yourself and your company.

It happens to me all of the time. People will sometimes try to figure out just enough about my business to give me completely unsolicited advice. And frankly, advice that isn’t really relevant to me and my business.

So here are a few things I want to talk to you about when it comes to defending your core values:

First: Identify Your Initial Reaction. 

I’m all about advice. Learning from other people’s experiences is great. But sometimes the advice is not relevant or really wanted. And these types of encounters can make us feel inferior, especially if the person we are talking to has an impressive background. But I have this really amazing quote that I try to remind myself of from Eleanor Roosevelt. “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

No one should have your permission to make you feel inferior. So when you have your initial reaction, try to be aware of what your reaction is. Take a second before you respond. And when you do, respond positively.

Second: Realize the Difference in Situations. 

At one of my more recent encounters with unsolicited advice, the person I was speaking to was unpacking the history of this company they had worked for, and they kept saying how unhappy and overworked they were. And in my head I thought, this is it. This is the defining difference in the advice that they wanted to give.

I have different priorities and values for my business, as do you, which makes for different situations. Each situation is unique. So realize and take note of that. It will help you when you respond.

Third: Don’t Be Afraid to Defend Your Core Values. 

A few minutes into the conversation, I began to share with this person some of our company values. And really, our core company value, which is prioritizing and focusing on happiness. And as I shared this with them, I could see their expression start to change. This person was really unhappy with that job, and they began to realize that. So instead, they started to recommend books that were relevant to company culture and people over profit. And we began to have a good discussion about how we both can learn and grow.

When you get unsolicited advice from people, if it’s good advice, listen. But I hope this story can help you see that it’s okay to defend your values. Being open about who we are, how we feel, and what’s best for us, can sometimes help and inspire other people. So if you know what your values are and somebody is speaking against them, feel free to share that with them. And you know, you might actually help someone. 

I’m Anna-Vija, and if you have a story about defending your core values, I would love to hear it! So, leave a comment below!