What’s the Best Piece of Professional Advice You’ve Ever Received?

Adrian S. Potter
2 min readMar 5

My answer actually surprised me.

Photo by frame harirak on Unsplash

Looking back, I have been lucky in my career.

Many folks I know have had nothing but piles of overbearing micromanagers and strict bosses littering the landscape of their work lives.

Sure, I have seen my share of pieces of professional garbage during my years, but I have also been blessed to learn from quite a few great leaders, skilled negotiators, and motivational influencers.

So recently, when a person that I mentor asked, “What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve ever received,” I had to genuinely pause and ponder.

My answer actually surprised me.

It may seem cliché, but the whole “under-promise and overdeliver” mantra has helped me immensely.

Sometimes it can be effective to slow-play your capabilities and give your supervisors and clients more than they hoped for at critical points of a project or task. If you can mold their expectations at those milestones, you can make yourself shine.

When you deliver more than what you suggested to a client and something above what they anticipated, the perceived value of your ability or product increases. However, you often lose credibility if you overpromise and fall short.

So whenever you have some control of the scenario, give yourself a little breathing room. It might make sense to under-promise and overdeliver to cover your butt and reduce the risk of failing a customer or boss.

What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve ever received? How did it impact your career or life? I would love to hear about it in the comment section. Let’s learn from each other.

Also, please spread positive vibes by clapping and sharing this article with somebody — especially if they are still “finding themselves” in their careers.

Adrian S. Potter — the antisocial extrovert — is an author, engineer, consultant, and public speaker. When he’s not busy silently judging your beer selection or record collection, he writes poetry, short fiction, and articles on various subjects, including creativity, leadership, optimism, and personal growth. Adrian is the winner of the 2022 Lumiere Review Prose Award and the author of Field Guide to the Human Condition (CW Books) and Everything Wrong Feels Right (Portage Press). His next book, And the Monster Swallows You Whole, is forthcoming in May through Stillhouse Press. Visit Adrian at http://adrianspotter.com/. Say hi. He won’t bite.

Adrian S. Potter

Antisocial Extrovert · Writer and Poet, Engineer, Consultant, Public Speaker · Writing about self-improvement, gratitude, and creativity · www.adrianspotter.com