I try to go for long runs on the weekend, longer than my time on weekday mornings before work allows. This past weekend morning, my husband, running on the treadmill next to me, and who worked briefly as a personal trainer after college, suggested I try running faster. I had just increased my pace and felt a wave of irritation at his suggestion. I was planning to increase my speed again, but I wasn’t ready yet. He didn’t know what my plan was.

Barely to the mid-point and not wanting to spend the rest of my run irritated, I took a moment to try to turn it around. He wasn’t telling me I wasn’t trying hard enough; he was telling me he believed I was capable of more. I decided to take his suggestion as a compliment and I increased my speed, running the last mile at what I would have likely run only a quarter of a mile if I had followed my original plan.

Regardless of where you fall in the food chain of your organization you will encounter suggestions and opinions about how you should approach your work and behave. Some will be sincere in their intent. Some of them will not – look closely and you will likely see an indication of the insecurities of who is delivering the advice. Regardless of the agenda, you can take from it what you want and quite possibly improve your performance.