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The Best Advice We’ve Ever Received

Each and every Wednesday, the entire GovLoop team convenes for an hour-long staff meeting where we go over assignments, new projects, projections, and any other issues that we face as a company — much like any other organization does on a regular basis. But the GovLoop team has a bit of a different twist on our weekly staff meetings: we kick off each one with an icebreaker.

You may think that icebreakers are only for groups that don’t yet know each other well. The GovLoop team knows each other pretty darn well — we’re a rather rowdy, chatty group, and we spend a lot of time outside of work together — but we still find these icebreakers invaluable. They set the tone for the meeting, and oftentimes we learn new things about each other that we never would have thought to ask.

Last week, our icebreaker was a particularly inspiring one. Everybody was asked to share, in 10 words or less, the best advice they’ve ever received. Since it was so inspiring and valuable to us as a team, we thought we’d share it with you, too. See below for our words of wisdom — then, in the comments, tell us, in 10 words or less, the best advice you’ve ever received.

  • “Don’t take yourself too seriously.” — Tommy Bowen, junior designer

  • “Treat everyone exactly the same.” — Catherine Andrews, director of content

  • “If you’re leanin’, you’re cleanin’.” — Doug Mashkuri, vice president of business development (The meaning? If you’ve got time to be leaning around, learn something new in your role or company.)

  • “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” — Megan Dotson, senior client success consultant & event director

  • “Live in a way that conjures fear.” — Andrew Krzmarzick, director of learning and development

  • “If you hang around trash, you’ll attract flies.” — Christine Burke, digital marketing manager

  • “If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, take it.” — Julia Taylor, senior learning consultant

  • “If you don’t take the time, the time will take you.”  — Rachel Niebeling, Digital Marketing Fellow

  • “Work should make you cry on a quarterly basis.” — Amy DeWolf, senior client success consultant (The meaning? You should be invested enough and passionate about your work that it’s okay if it upsets you once in a while.)

  • “Fail fast.” — Erik Eitel, business development specialist

  • “Plans mean nothing; planning is everything.” — Pat Fiorezna, senior research analyst

  • “Be expectant but not expecting.” — Jeff Ribeira, senior interactive designer

  • “Go forth with confidence.” — Jake Brennan, design fellow

  • “Don’t make big decisions during life lows.” — Hannah Moss, research analyst

  • “Be kind, don’t be undermined.” — Emily Jarvis, online and events editor

  • “Never complain, never explain.” — Corinne Stubbs, brand ambassador fellow

  • “Be nice.” — Eric Pesachowitz, senior sales consultant

Leave your best advice for the GovLoop community in the comments below!

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84 Comments

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tracy

This is a great article. I like ‘getting to know’ the GovLoopers this way. Best advice I ever got:
“There’s nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be.”

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Julie Dapp

. I understand that Megan Dotson borrowed and used famous writer, Ralph Emerson’s quote, “Noting great even happening without enthusiasm.” I

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Susan Singer

“Get out and meet people. The more people you know, the more likely you are to know someone with the resources you need to get the job done.”

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Maria C

“If you don’t stop until you get there, you’ll get there every time.” — 13 words, but still damn good advice!

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Monika Wardle

“As one door closes, another door opens” (meaning never feel that you are trapped or there is no
way out of a bad situation/environment. Be optimistic for the future. The open door could be your
next big opportunity).

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Martin

“Never try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and it annoys the pig.” – Robert Heinlein
OK, maybe that’s more than 10 words, but it is sound advice. Perhaps “Pick your battles” is more appropriate (but not nearly as amusing!)

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jake aller

the best advice I ever heard came from the class coordinator of my A-100 (Foreign
Service Entry Class) who told us the number one rule of sucess in the Foreign
Service and life in general was “Don’t be a Jerk.”. Our class adopted that as our class motto !

Thanks
Jake Aller

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Farida El-Hennawy

You will never get everything, so set your priorities right (at least get the most important things first)

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Rosie Jordan

This is my 5 yrs old grand-daughter’s favorite, “You get what you get, and don’t throw a fit.”

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Pattie

2 come to mind – “Play the hand you’re dealt” and “Don’t try to control the weather”

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Denise

If you fail to plan – you plan to fail! (meaning if you don’t make a plan for how you will achieve a goal (s) – you will fail

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Mac

From my father when I graduated from High School. “Get your head pointed in the right direction and your a%# (butt) will follow”.

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Alex SP

The best (and most concise) advice I ever got was from my high school science teacher: “Mas vale la maña que la fuerza.” Basically, cleverness is better than muscle. And applicable to science, engineering and life.

Reply
Bob Roussel

If you have to choose between being right or being kind, choose being kind
and you’ll always be right…

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Profile Photo Heather Coleman

From Mother Teresa, “The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.” and from my father after a high school boyfriend broke up with me, “Everything is going to be OK.”

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Patricia

“Practice does not make perfect. Practice makes permanent.” I’ve translated this to the workplace as just because we’ve always done something a certain way doesn’t mean it can’t be done better.

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Marie Berry

I have two I use regularly.
“You can’t get a “Yes” unless you ask.” For me, this means that there are no mind readers in the world and we need to learn to speak up for what we want. We might not always get it, but if we don’t ask we can’t get it.
“Keep your focus on #1 or you’ll end up in #2.” Sometimes known as MYOB. 😉

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Lisa

“Orange trees grow oranges, apple trees grow apples”. The meaning being: things and people have their own nature – play to their nature.

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Shellie Savage

My hubby’s favorite advice to soldiers under him: “Use your head for more than a hat rack”

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Tavares

“Everything works out in the end, if it doesn’t it’s not the end”

*More than ten, sorry

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DCJustice

Play hard – everyday, all day.
Meaning – incorporate play into life in all ways: listen to music & dance & sing (even at your desk or with the vacuum), make menial tasks fun by turning them into games and competitions, do everything with a smile. As you become more playful in life, it is more rewarding and enjoyable no matter what bumps and obstacles get in the way.

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megan

“When in danger, when in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout!” – My mom used to tell me this when I was panicking about something silly. Probably not be good advice to follow literally, but it reminds me to keep my head on even when things get stressful, because if you keep your cool on the outside, no one will know that you are freaking out on the inside!

Reply
Visualizing Halloween Monsters • GovLoop

[…] I’ve spoken before about the fact that for our weekly GovLoop staff meetings, we usually do an ice breaker to kick things off. You’ve learned a little bit about us through some of those icebreaker results we’ve shared, like the best advice we’ve ever received. […]

Reply
Ada

“Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one”
― Bruce Lee

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