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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Juana Williams

Thank you for the great article and advice. What happened to the “awesome” icon when we like an
article? Also, the text wraparound is a little weird.


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.”

Julie Dapp

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

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.”

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).


“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!)

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 !

Jake Aller

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.

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.”

Gerry La Londe-Berg

“You have to be willing to pick up a broom. ” (No matter what your position is you should be willing to look after the small details.)


“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.

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. 😉


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


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.


“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!