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What if your friends were talking about you and your business as if you weren’t in the room… but you were? They were sharing their true thoughts and opinions of you and your work and critiquing it without holding back. What if you could be a fly on the wall when your friends shared their unfiltered ideas about you and your business but you couldn’t say a word?

This is the idea behind Unsolicited Advice.

Last month, Nathan Barry invited me to go on a business retreat with half a dozen other guys. It was a time to relax but also work on our businesses. The first couple days, we spent time doing individual sessions. This is where we shared what was going on in our business and each other person got to provide advice and feedback.

The Hot Seat

But on the final night, we had what Nathan called Unsolicited Advice. This is where everyone gathered in the living room and each person took turns being in the hot seat. If it was your turn, everyone else talked about you and your business. They shared their ideas uninhibited and talked about you as if you weren’t in the room at all. You were not allowed to say anything. All you could do is listen and take notes.

We tend to filter what we say to someone’s face. We might have thoughts or opinions, but we’re typically hold back if we think it’s something that could possibly offend them. The problem is sometimes we need to hear this advice. Sometimes this is the best advice we could ever receive. It takes humility to put yourself in this position, but it is very rewarding.

Often when conversing, we are not so much listening as we are waiting to talk.

We have our own ideas and responses to things and this can prevent us from truly internalizing what the other person has to say. When you turn off your waiting-to-talk tendency and truly listen, the kinds of insights you can get are invaluable.

Well Worth the Investment

I recorded a longer podcast episode about this experience and the very specific things I got out of it (Related: Unsolicited Advice – Recap of A Mastermind Retreat). All said and done, I spent about $1,500 going on this retreat but the value I received was worth tens of thousands to me. The clarity and focus it brought alone was worth it.

It helps to think of this time as an investment and not an expense. Finding these blind spots and getting clarity on what you should be focusing on is going to do wonders for your business and is something you should invest it.

A Few Days & a Few People

If you’re considering trying out Unsolicited Advice, I’d highly recommend it. I recommend that you dedicate several days to it. When you spend some time with the people you’re going to allow to critique you first, it builds trust and familiarity. This way you’re more receptive to what they have to say.

Spending several days also gives you time to get to know everyone better before providing feedback. It certainly helps to have some existing familiarity with someone’s work before going into this, but if you do give yourself several days, you can hold initial sessions to get to know each person’s work and current challenges.

We had 7 people at our retreat and 4 days was just enough time to cram in all of our sessions with a few activities and meals between. Any more than that and it would have been difficult to do for every person with less than a week.

Don’t Wait for Someone to Ask

If you think this sounds like a cool idea, don’t wait for someone to ask you to do it. Be the one to facilitate it! Get some people together and try it out. Let me know how it goes, I’d love to hear.