5 Indications That You Have Tuned In to a Voice of Value


Many people are quite willing and ready to share their opinions with you. There are two problems with this. First, many people typically state their opinions as fact, and waste no time in letting you know that you ought to think and act the way they do. Second, it may be difficult to determine that the source of what you are being told, is either a “voice of value”, or a voice lacking value.

What exactly is a Voice of Value?

A Voice of Value is one that you can trust, and that shares valuable advice to help add to and refine your personal philosophy, beliefs and attitudes. In short, it is a voice of someone who will add value to you. You want to find these people so that you may continually add to and expand your capacity, capabilities, and skills and continually refine your personal philosophy so that you become more valuable. This is the process of growth and maturity.

Sifting through the Chaff to find the Wheat

But how can you tell whether the voice belongs to a trustworthy and serious person who would steer you in a good and right direction and not have you dashed against the rocks? Here are 5 things to consider that I have successfully used in determining whether the voice is of value or would distort your moral compass.

1 – You have known the source for some time, and they have previously shared valuable advice.

2 – You can verify what the person is telling you from another trusted source (this is verifying the “advice”).

3 – The source has been recommended to you by another trusted person (this is verifying the “source”).

4 – The advice appears ethically and morally sound and can be vetted from these points of view. Additionally, as you “quiet” yourself and think of what is being said and recommended, the still small voice inside you tells you that it is right and good.

5 – The advice is not inconsistent with your direction, your plan, and your ability and skills in getting it implemented, or if not part of your direction, would not be contrary to your current direction if you were to adopt it. It would in fact be, complementary.

Life can constantly present you with opportunities for growth and improvement. Most of the time, you must seek out these opportunities. Jim Rohn used to say that rarely does a good idea interrupt you. You have to go looking for it. So as you look, remember that the idea or advice can come from anywhere, from anyone, at anytime, like from a wizened old farmer at a corn stand (see my post Sage Advice From Not So Ordinary People). The key is to determine whether the idea, advice, or opportunity is a “right” one, or one that would divert you from your course or get you in real trouble.

Can you share examples of advice you have been given, and how you would have been able to use one of the 5 checkpoints above to separate the chaff from the wheat? Share your comments with us. I am keenly interested in what you have to say about Voices of Value.

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About Enrique Fiallo

I am a Life Coach, Author, Lecturer, Speaker and Blogger. My life experience includes roles as a Life Coach and Mentor, CEO, CIO, COO, Chief Technologist, Teacher, Program Manager, Product Manager and Scrum Master.
This entry was posted in Change, Empowerment, Leadership, Personal Development and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to 5 Indications That You Have Tuned In to a Voice of Value

  1. Rafael Pertierra says:

    Hi Henry. I enjoyed your article. I especially agree with the photo of a father and son you selected for the article. I was assisted in building my moral compass/small voice inside me with my father’s wisdom and love.

    • Hi Rafael, long time no talk to! Thanks for your comment. I know that for much of my younger life, I thought my parents had nothing of value to add to my experience. How wrong I was. I am glad you were able to use your Dad’s wisdom and love to help you. Best regards!

  2. I looked at this blog from a different point of view. Quite often, I am the person giving advice. If I want to be a ‘trusted advisor’ as someone called it, I hope that people listen to my advice or ideas because they make sense on some basic level. I try to hold my own moral compass to everything I say.
    Of course, there are many people out there I hold in great esteem and trust what they say, mostly because it feels like truth to me. Those are my voices of value. Thank you for the thoughts and making me think about this.

    • Excellent point Janet. Indeed another perspective is the one from the voice of value. I treat it as an honor and responsibility when someone thinks of me as a voice of value. Thanks so much for the input.

  3. I’m having a small problem. I’m unable to subscribe to your rss feed for some reason. I’m using google reader by the way.

  4. Jean LaCour says:

    Henry,
    I really appreciate the way you include all of our modalities- the mental/ deductive; the relational/ social; the corporate big picture context; and the “knowing” which for me speaks of our spiritual nature.
    Thank you for sharing your insights from such a refreshing perspective and reminding us that we can indeed become quiet and listen to the ‘still small voice.’

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  6. Terri K says:

    For me, Henry, I like to hear and validate almost everyone’s truth. It doesn’t have to be something that I agree with, but I am honored to hear that person’s truth. It opens the doors for me to think in a different way… and it builds trust with that person. Often times, I find that the person I don’t agree with the most is truly the person that I learn the most from — and that can lead to a better decision.

    • Terri, it makes so much sense to be open to truth, doesn’t it? The challenge for me has been to determine if a truth is an absolute truth, and not a relative truth. This is what I mean in determining if a Voice is one of Value so that I am not influenced by someone or something that could lead me down a path of potential destruction. Thanks so much for commenting!

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  8. Henry – Great advice!! Words from the master.

  9. Olga Berman says:

    Awsome Henry! This brings to mind an aadvice I receive many years ago from someone who truly practiced the same advice. “Always behave and act like some is watching the same way you would when they’re not” I think we can apply that to every area of our lives. Thanks for the great blog!

  10. Eddie T says:

    Dear Enrique,
    Thank you for the invite to comment.

    These are very good 5 considerations/screening steps in decision making.
    Looking deeper and @ the root, may I propose to seek the understanding/answer to this ONE Question before anything else. WHO AM I?. ie. Who is this person inside me? What are our likes and dislike? What makes us “tick” and “down” ? How well do we know ourselves?

    When we have full confidence in knowing the answers to these Questions, whatever and whenever the opportunities or challenges appear, the best decision/positioning have been made for YOU!.

    Warmest regards,
    Eddie T.
    “When you are sure of yourself, YOU wlll have a clearer perspective of YOUR world.”
    ……. Eddie T.

    • Thanks Eddie. You are right that we should seek to answer the root question first, “Who Am I”, as that will then point us towards voices that are aligned with the areas that define us. Great point!

  11. Gayle says:

    Henry, great advise! I especially like the “moral compass” discussion! Keep it up!

  12. John V says:

    Henry, I like the approach you have taken here. In my mind the one thing about giving advice is that is usually has to be earned. That is unless you are paying for it. Becoming a “trusted advisor” may be over used but it’s where people seek you out for both personal and professional advice. They seek you out because they need your help. Becoming a trusted advisor is one of my ultimate goals as I work with folks in business, family or friends. Not easy to achieve especially in business. I like to provide advice that I have expertise in and can help others acheive their goal. I always try to provide advice in a way that is not criticizing but constructive, positive and helpful. Not come off as a “know it all” but sincere in wanting to help them. This has been my approach in helping others as a coach or metore. Don’t say what they are doing wrong. Stress what they are doing right and how they can become even better. This can be used in all areas of life. As an example I am a Ski Instructor on the weekends. One of the things I have learned is how positive reinforcement strengthens what they are doing right and motivates them to keep improving through coaching and exercises. Its easy to be critical but negative energy is a waste. Positive energy through positive reinforcement if very powerful and extremely valuable. Just my two cents here.

    • Thanks so much for reading and commenting John. Your point about “earning” is well taken. How many times have I said to someone, “if you want my advice…”, well, perhaps I ought to EARN the right to give it first, and even wait to be asked. Again, great point. Be well!

  13. Tom Sease says:

    I like & agree with all 5 of your points, although I think I liked the line AFTER point #5 best: “Life can constantly present you with opportunities and improvement.” No mattter how good you are (or think you are) at your job, there are always people who can teach you and help you improve. Early in my computer career, I had been working at DOT in Washington all night crawling under the floor running cables for a new installation with a bunch of my co-workers. When we were done some of the guys wanted to go out and get breakfast. I didn’t want to go because I was covered in dirt but a retired Army Sargeant on the team named Ernie Blake told me never to be ashamed of good honest, hard work. It was a very simple message but Ernie’s pride in doing any job well was always inspiring to me.

    • Ernie’s advice is the kind that stays with you, as evidenced by the fact that you remember it vividly even after all these years. What a treasure it is to work with and hang out with people like that. It’s like nuggets of gold continually drop out of their mouths. Thanks for sharing that with us Tom. Hope retirement is treating you well!

  14. GS says:

    Agreed, the intention of a person will often dictate the “advice” that he gives around him. What’s interesting is that somebody’s intention may not be the same towards everybody, and can change over time.

    “When the student is ready, the master appears”.

    • Thanks for the comments Gorka! Intent drives many things. It’s a good idea to check out or own intent periodically, even as we check other voices in evaluating the “Value in the Voice”.

  15. Tad DeOrio says:

    I have examples when the Source meets both 1 and 2 but the opinion they are voicing belies a hidden agenda. They are ‘spinning’ the facts in hopes of pushing me in one direction.

    A variation on this theme is when the Source becomes so involved in his or her message that they spin facts without consciously realizing it.

    • So then it seems to me that the Source has invalidated themselves as a Voice of Value through the hidden agenda or the self-involvement in the message. Great point, thanks for the comments Tad. And as we have learned from history and experience, “spinning” is best done in the Gym!

  16. From my own experience I can clearly identify my Voices of Value in my personal life but they are harder to identify in my professional life. Only years after I had left my first job after college did I realize that my manager had provided me with some valuable life-long lessons. I wish I had been wise enough to recognize that Voice of Value at the time and had cultivated the relationship over the years. How can we be better cultivators of the Voices we Value now?

    • Megan, you raise an excellent point. In the days of my youth, I failed to see some real voices of value offering me what was invaluable direction and advice. I didn’t see it, mostly because I thought I knew it all. I’d be interested in further exploring the question you raise. How can we be better cultivators (great word by the way) of voices of value? Where are they? How can we engage them? How can we get more from them? Any thoughts? Thanks for your comments!

  17. Felipe Escarra says:

    On the subject of moral compass, I once received this advise “What’s right is right, even if nobody is doing it. What’s wrong is wrong, even if everybody is doing it.” author unknown.

  18. Dennis M Klinger says:

    Not sure if this fits exactly but as it turns out I had someone give me guidance that put me on a path to a good and very successful career when prior to that I had no direction at all. As I read your 5 points I tried to think of how they applied or what I thought might have been the reason the guidance I mention was so impactful. Here is what came to mind: I could see for myself that the person practiced what he preached and had been successful, he communicated his advice to me in a way that I could easily relate to and understand and, it was clear to me that he cared.

    • Dennis, thanks for the comments. It absolutely fits. Great point, one that is not explicitly stated as part of the 5 I mentioned. You might recall some personal coaching you did with me many years ago. As I look back on that, the reason it was so effective was that I could see that you practiced what you preached, and that you were successful in doing so. Therefore, it was a prefect verification of you as a Voice of Value! Thanks again. Great point!

  19. Quite right Henry. In my personal experience, the most critical ingredient in applying your sage advice is the presence of one’s inner compass (the personal philosophy and beliefs). Everyone should take time early in their life and career to really figure out what is most important. Quite a few people skip this step and go with what’s popular or what’s a “money-maker”. Without this ingredient it is hard to evaluate the advice that comes one’s way.

    • Thanks Sohail. I wish that now, in my later years, I had been able to understand and follow this advice! Our inner compass will steer us in the right direction if only we would not interfere with it and listen to it.

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