In a recent article by the Wall Street Journal, they asked five luminaries what the best advice is that they’ve ever received from a boss. This advice is applicable to most professionals. It’s not new, but they are good reminders that have held true over time.
Bear Grylls (Host of ‘Running Wild with Bear Grylls: The Challenge,’ on National Geographic)
“When I first joined the military, a sergeant major told me: ‘If you’re less than five minutes early, you’re late.’ I’ve never forgotten those words and have always tried to make it a mantra when filming or working. I really notice it too in others, on expeditions for example. It speaks to diligence and dedication.”
This is a great reminder to always be on-time – which means in your seat and ready…not walking in at that time. I have also found that allowing for extra time makes life much less stressful.
José Andrés (Chef, founder of World Central Kitchen and author of “The World Central Kitchen Cookbook: Feeding Humanity, Feeding Hope,” published by Clarkson Potter)
“As a teenager, I worked for the legendary Ferran Adrià at El Bulli—one of the most creative people ever. One day I was frying artichokes, and he had an idea to add gelatin to the hot oil. We thought he was crazy! And he was: It exploded everywhere. But from that idea, he created some incredible dishes. He wasn’t afraid to fail, which inspired me to always take risks.”
I like this one because it reminds me how important it is to try new ideas. It might fail, but you can learn from that failure.
Joa Studholme (Color curator at Farrow & Ball and co-author of ‘How to Redecorate,’ Mitchell Beazley, October 2023)
“When I was developing the color-consultancy service for Farrow & Ball in 1994, Tom Helme, who owned Farrow & Ball, asked what I was trying to do. And he said, ‘Right. What you need to do is pluck the color that the customer wants out of their heads and onto the wall.’ It means you have to put the customer first, and that’s sort of become the backbone of how I work. It’s not about me.”
This is similar to old adage, “The customer is always right.” We all know that the customer might not really always be “right,” but we must treat them as if they are.
Victor Glemaud (Founder and creative director of fashion brand Glemaud)
“The best advice came from Patrick Robinson, the creative director of his namesake brand and my first-ever boss. ‘When you know yourself, everyone will see you,’ he told me around 2000. And throughout the years we have remained close, and he is now my best friend. I don’t recall if he said this when I was his assistant or later on. Nevertheless, it remains and it reminds me to look for my light within, always.”
To me this means to always be true to yourself. When you are true to yourself, others will see the true you.
Adam Savage (Special effects designer and editor in chief of Tested.com)
“Back when I was a young model maker, my boss and I were bidding on a prop build for an indecisive client. After six rounds of communication, we still didn’t know enough to make our bid. My boss told me to tell the client we got another gig and couldn’t take the job. ‘When the client is difficult before you’ve even agreed to work with them, they’re going to be a nightmare,’ he said. I’ve found that holds true.”
Follow your gut! Too many times I have not followed my gut and gotten burned.
One of the best pieces of advice that comes to mind for me is the adage, “We were born with two ears and one mouth. There is a reason for it. Listen more, talk less.” What is the best advice you’ve ever received? Email me at [email protected].