During the second season of his show, Dr. Phil McGraw was having trouble deciding whether to cover a particular topic for an episode.
“That’s when my son Jay made a suggestion,” McGraw, most commonly known as Dr. Phil, tells Business Insider. “It turned out to be the best piece of career advice I ever received.”
McGraw continues: “Jay said to me, ‘You have to ask yourself this question: If someone is only ever going to see one Dr. Phil episode in their life, would you be ok with it being this one? If the answer is ‘no,’ don’t do it.'”
The television personality, author, psychologist, and the host of the Dr. Phil show, which is now in its fourteenth season, says he’s since “generalized that advice” and now asks himself this question before making any decision regarding his career.
“I try to approach everything with it in mind,” he says. “I think, if someone has never heard of me, and this is the only work of mine they will ever see or read — whether it’s a book I write, an answer I give in an interview, or an episode I do — would I be ok with them basing their opinion of me on this?”
He says he’ll only write the book, or answer the interview question, or do the episode if the answer is “yes.”
McGraw says anyone can use this advice and practice this exercise.
Before you turn in a presentation to your boss, or give a speech, or write an article, ask yourself if you’d be ok with this being the only thing someone used to form an opinion of you. If you say “no,” it’s probably something you’re not proud of — and it’s certainly not worth doing.