What’s the Best Advice You’ve Ever Received?

For this post, I was inspired by Sadie Robertson Huff and her Whoa That’s Good podcast.

Sadie starts each episode by asking her guests to share the best advice they’ve ever received. It gets me thinking every time… how would I answer that question? What great advice have I been given over the years?

I decided to make a list. And then I decided to write a blog post about my list because the best pieces of advice should be shared, right?

Before I share what’s on my list, I wanna point out that for many of these, I’m not quoting anyone verbatim. And I think that’s okay. The point is that I remembered the message of the advice—not every word perfectly.

Secondly, I know I’m forgetting so many powerful nuggets of advice that I’ve heard in my life. Advice that I applied at some point and ingrained it into who I am. Gosh, I wish I could remember every single time a person spoke something profound into my life and list it all here. But that’s not the case, so my list is incomplete—but still good, I assure you!

Lastly, some of this advice was spoken directly to me. Some I heard in a group setting. And some I read.

What I hope you learn from this list of advice

  • I hope some of this advice will speak to you like it has me. That should always be the goal of sharing!
  • I hope reading this does what Sadie’s podcast did for me—I hope it leads you to start your own list, and maybe share it, too.

The best advice I ever received

Find ways to make learning fun

I was probably in kindergarten or 1st grade when my mom first said this to me. (Correct me if I’m wrong, Mom!) From an early age, I already loved to learn, and my mom knew that. Telling me to make it fun was her way of encouraging me to always keep it that way—to make learning a game, get creative with how I learned something, and avoid discouragement in the process.

Growing up, I developed an appreciation for nature and hands-on learning. I geeked out on flashcards, story problems, trivia, puzzles, lots of books, listening to and playing music, and more activities that allowed me to learn with joy. To this day, I still love random trivia facts, completing word puzzles, challenging myself to do math without a calculator, researching random topics, learning more about the culture and history of places I visit—things like that. I can’t honestly say I’ve ALWAYS made learning fun, but Mom’s advice stuck with me and applies just as much today as it did back then.

Old 1980s photo of a woman holding up a small child wearing a bunny costume
Random photo of me and mom on Halloween (1984). It’s one of my favorites!

Don’t be afraid to make eye contact

This was another piece of Mom’s advice. I distinctly remember having a conversation with her in 7th grade about eye contact. Though I don’t recall exactly how that topic came up, I remember the points she made. Logical points that caused me to listen and apply her advice.

She said that avoiding eye contact comes across as a lack of confidence. One example she used was in school. Did I make eye contact with my teachers when answering questions in class? Nope. Shy kid that I was, I certainly did not.

Did I know the answers? More often than not, YES. (As a 2nd grader, I decided I would be valedictorian—and studied hard to make it happen.)

Mom helped me see that NOT making eye contact made me seem less confident—not just in school, but in any situation. She helped me understand that I had no reason NOT to be confident and look someone in the eye while talking to them.

Since 7th grade, I’ve done a pretty darn good job of making and maintaining eye contact. Even while still being shy. And you know what I observed? Making eye contact makes OTHER PEOPLE uncomfortable. I can’t tell you how many times others have looked away from me. I don’t say that as a gotcha moment for those people or to call anyone out. I say it because it’s so easy to feel like everyone else is more confident or more comfortable in a situation, and that’s simply not true.

Be confident. Make eye contact. Thanks, Mom!

Be more aggressive

This one comes from my dad. Let’s go back to 7th grade Jayme again. I played basketball. Badly. Definitely second string. When I did play, you can bet shy ol’ me was the opposite of aggressive. After every game, that was my dad’s advice: “Be more aggressive.” He even encouraged me to get a foul! Whatever it took for me to go after the ball with conviction and put some power behind it.

While I can’t say I ever reached that level of aggressiveness in basketball, I can say my dad’s advice and his example helped me in other areas of life.

I’m still not what most people would ever call aggressive. If you know me, I’m sure you’re nodding in agreement right now.

But. I’ve come to see aggressiveness by an alternate definition: “pursuing one’s aims and interests forcefully.” And by “forcefully,” I mean with boldness and conviction. More of an internal aggressiveness vs. aggression toward other people.

Throughout my life, I’ve seen my dad pursue opportunities that many people would’ve avoided due to risk, fear of failure, or lack of confidence. But not Dad.

For me, being aggressive is not living reactively. It’s seizing opportunities. Taking leaps. Going after the ball without worrying about a foul—to use that basketball metaphor. Dad taught me that.

Adult female and adult male in Hawaii at Pearl Harbor
Me and dad at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii (2018)

If you say YES to everything, your YES loses its power.

A leader at my church shared this nugget of wisdom when I mentioned I’m a people pleaser by nature. If you can relate, this is for you. (Click here to read more about my struggle with it and how it relates to anxiety.)

Her words struck me instantly. Saying YES to everything makes my YES less powerful. Whoa.

For me, this was a mind-blowing piece of advice—a reason to cut back on saying YES that I’d never before considered. I’d been more worried about what my NO meant than my YES.

In that moment, I knew I wanted every YES to express what I value and prioritize. And every NO to be a statement of guarding my time and well-being.

That was two years ago. And guess what? I still struggle to apply this advice. While I do say NO more than I used to, it’s not easy for me. My default—too often—is YES.

But, I’m still working on it. I haven’t given up. Every intentional NO is a small victory. And speaking of intentional, I purposely included this advice on my list because I want to keep myself more accountable to apply it.

Let me know if you start applying it, too!

Stop living in guilt and shame from past mistakes. That’s like saying God’s grace isn’t big enough.

I heard this during a service at my old church, The 360 Church in Sarasota, FL. Though not a direct quote, I remember this being the underlying message—and it was exactly what I needed at that time in my life.

There I sat, an early 30-something, wrestling with a lot of guilt, shame, and uncertain feelings about my divorce.

Guilt for being the one to initiate the divorce. I never thought I’d get divorced. As a Christian, I knew it was wrong—yet, I did it anyway.

Shame for the way I ended my marriage. Shame for the rift it caused between me and my family. The whole thing was a story that seems more in line with a Lifetime movie. And not the happy, rom-com, Christmas variety.

I also felt confused. After leaving my ex-husband, I never once wanted him back. But if I were sorry, shouldn’t I want him back?? Shouldn’t I want my marriage restored?

This was my mindset when I heard those words. I’d already asked God for forgiveness. I felt remorse for my actions and I knew God forgave me. Yet, I wasn’t living like I knew. I was living like I wasn’t forgiven and couldn’t ever be fully happy again because of what I’d done years prior.

This advice—to believe God’s grace is always big enough—gave me freedom. Freedom to stop dwelling in my past sin and past mistakes and instead move forward to live the life God called me to, with the learnings from my past as a guide for the future and proof of God’s grace.

If you’re currently stuck in those past mistakes, this advice is your way to freedom, too!

Witness to others by simply sharing your story or testimony

Y’all, I grew up shy and scared to talk to most people about anything—let alone my faith. I was afraid of not having all the answers, afraid kids wouldn’t think I was cool, and afraid of coming across as judgmental. I did share that I went to church and Christian summer camp, and even invited friends to church and church events; but, that was the extent of it, unless someone asked me a specific spiritual question.

Basically, I was terrified to witness to anyone about Jesus.

In college and in my 20s, I can’t say it got much easier. That fear of not knowing what to say or thinking my words might be taken judgmentally held me back far too often.

It was another service at The 360 Church that gave me this life-changing advice—to share about Jesus by sharing my story and what God has done in my life. This way, the focus stays on the power and grace of God in a way that’s inspiring and personal, not judgmental.

So, I started sharing my story. Talking about my divorce, my bulimia recovery, how God never gave up on me, how His grace has blessed my life even AFTER I ran away from Him in my past. Read here how God spoke to me and how listening changed my life in ways I still can hardly comprehend!

Share your story, friends—especially as it relates to God if you’re a believer. There is power in showing how God works in our lives!

Allow yourself to feel your cravings and get comfortable being uncomfortable. Cravings won’t kill you.

This one ties back to my bulimia recovery. It’s advice from a book, The Bulimia Help Method, that was a major catalyst in my recovery experience. I’m not quoting this directly, since I only listened to the audio version, and that was back in 2016. This is simply what I processed from what I heard.

For me, this advice was HUGE. Though not at all easy, it helped me change my reaction to binge cravings. Instead of giving in immediately because the cravings felt so intense, I learned to allow myself to feel that extreme discomfort. To just live through it, one moment at a time. I go into more detail here.

If you or someone you know struggle(s) with cravings or addiction, this advice could help!

To get out of debt, pay off your smallest debt first. To stay out of debt, pay your credit card bills in full every month.

Thank you, Dave Ramsey! About a decade ago, this wisdom changed my financial life.

I’ve been car payment free since fall 2013. Since then, I’ve also paid every credit card bill in full—even when I rented a condo alone, paid all my own bills, and took 7 solo international trips in the 3 years I lived there. My only current debt is the mortgage John and I have on our house.

I did not stay out of debt because I made a lot of money. It took discipline and dedication to my goals and priorities. It still takes discipline and dedication. There are no quick fixes here. No instant gratification to get what you want. In fact, you won’t get everything you want, but you will learn to prioritize your wants to focus on what will add value to your life vs. those small impulse buys that add up over time.

Dave’s advice works to get out—and stay out—of debt. If that’s a goal for you, consider checking out Dave’s site linked above.

“Stop focusing on what you don’t know or don’t have and start focusing on what you do know right now.”

This is a direct quote from Jordan Lee Dooley’s book, Own Your Everyday. In this book, Jordan put a name to something I felt, but didn’t realize it was a widespread issue: imposter syndrome.

Imposter syndrome is feeling incompetent, despite how much you accomplish. That was me. That still IS me when I’m not intentionally focused on truth and let the lies creep in.

Imposter syndrome has certainly hindered my confidence to try new things when I thought I wasn’t ready or convinced myself I’d fail before I even started.

Jordan’s advice—to stop letting what you don’t know hold you back—helped me:

  1. Acknowledge my imposter syndrome.
  2. Find confidence in my strengths.
  3. Consider more opportunities.
  4. Realize I’ll never be “ready” if I wait.

This is only a small taste of Jordan’s book, which is subtitled: “Overcome the Pressure to Prove and Show Up for What You Were Made to Do.”

Does that hit home? If so, order Own Your Everyday ASAP!

Follow God

I could attribute this advice to a LOT of people in my life, but I saw it lived out so intentionally by my grandparents on my mom’s side.

Grandpa first cried out to God in a foxhole during WWII. During the most intense battle he faced, my grandpa prayed, “God, if you get me out alive, I’ll go to church when I’m back home.” Apparently, God accepted, and my grandpa made good on his end of the bargain.

My grandparents met at Moody Bible Institute. Neither was there for a seminary degree. They both just loved Jesus.

As a girl, I witnessed Grandpa studying the Bible like it was a treasure. He dug into the original Hebrew and Greek meanings for greater clarity. He refused to compromise his values. He prayed and lived with joy despite severe arthritis and other health issues that eventually kept him chair-ridden and on dialysis the latter days of his life. And my grandma was right by his side.

Grandma taught us Bible verses. She volunteered at church however she could. I felt her reverence for God every time she prayed before a family dinner. Throughout my childhood, she bought me Christian books, took me to the annual Ladies’ Day conference in the area we lived, and connected me with kids from her church so I could go to Camp Barakel with them every summer. To say it impacted me is a gross understatement.

Grandma also attended a weekly Bible study till her dementia put her in a nursing home. She and Grandpa followed Jesus as if it was the only way to live. Their example is the greatest advice of all!

Older male and female couple eating cake with with toddler grandchild
Me with my grandparents

Self advice

It’s impossible to top that advice to follow God, but I thought I’d end this with two pieces of self advice that I can’t really attribute to anyone in particular.

Don’t be jealous. Be inspired.

Pretty sure I made this up. Years ago on Instagram, I found myself feeling envious of people I saw traveling, or in a happy relationship, or doing things I wanted to do in my life.

Thankfully, I didn’t let myself spiral too deep into jealousy. Instead, I gave myself this advice. Over and over and over till it stuck.

Instead of being jealous of anyone or anything I saw on Instagram, I started letting it all inspire me to take action.

Those 5 words indeed led me to achieve so many things instead of wasting my life resenting or envying other people.

Do the things that scare you

I think we’ve all heard iterations of this one at some point. I started telling myself this when I was afraid to do something I knew I’d actually love, if I could just get past the fear of the proverbial leap.

Well, in some cases, it was a literal leap. Skydiving, bungee jumping, and canyon swinging, for example.

But other scary things? Changing jobs to grow in my career. Moving to a new state. Being more relational when my introverted self wanted to do the opposite.

All things that scared me, but things I don’t regret one bit. Sometimes, the anticipation is the hardest part!

Woman canyon swinging
Canyon swing in New Zealand

Okay. Now I must know. Which was your favorite piece of advice, or the one you connected with the most?

Let me know in the comments, and be sure to share the best advice you’ve ever received!

4 thoughts on “What’s the Best Advice You’ve Ever Received?

  1. Dale Boyer

    Very inspiring reading. I suppose I relate most to your “Stop Living in Shame from Past Mistakes” because I knew you back then and have watched your healing and restoration from a distance.
    The best advice shared with me was the last words to me from my grandpa – “Stay Put!” Those words have been my guide when I was tempted to run. Oh yes, I wanted to run! But chose to Stay Put!

    Another piece of great advice was from my mentor when I asked his help in choosing between two dilemmas. “I can’t tell you what to do – you must make the choice,” he said. I replied, “Then I want to be remembered as a man of my word. I will choose what I promised to do!”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Theresa Moll-White

    Love, love, love this post. My mom was the kindest person and would always say to give others grace because you don’t know what they are walking through. Equally as impactful was a schoolmate whose mom reminded him that he had the opportunity every day to make someone’s life better or worse, and to always choose better.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing these! Giving people grace… that’s SUCH a good one to add and one so easy to forget in the moment. But we all need grace, so it’s important to give it, too. Even when you think about your own life, people don’t always know when you’re having a bad day. Same goes for everyone else!

      And that’s so powerful to think that something we might think is small could affect someone’s day for the better or worse. Excellent advice! Thanks again for posting them here!!

      Like

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