Advice on Advice

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I love advice.  Especially good advice, especially good advice from someone who has been there, experienced that and come out with positive results on the other side.

Because I am very receptive and interested in getting advice, I assume everyone else feels the same way.

Because … sometimes I love giving advice, ok mostly I love giving advice. I love being able to shine a light on solutions that other people sometimes overlook and being able to present many possible solutions, giving hope, inspiring action. I love that, it just gives me a high to be able to help people.  Are you like that too?

When the coach in me sees opportunity, it’s so hard not to bring it to the forefront. And if you like giving advice too then I’m wondering if you’ve had some of the same issues that I’ve had.

  1. Too many people ask for your help, it becomes taxing and overwhelming, you want to help everyone but it takes it’s toll.
  2. Not everyone is appreciative of your advice, what?? Imagine that – they think that you think you know it all and they don’t want to hear what you have to say
  3. People want and ask for you advice and then do absolutely nothing with it.

When I first started my coaching career, I was so gung-ho, I wore my coaching hat everywhere, all the time.

Bring on the problem, issue or challenge, I was ready to ride up in my white stallion and save the day.  Sometimes it worked but mostly it didn’t.

One problem was my friends didn’t want a coach – they wanted a friend, they wanted their friend back. The wanted someone the could talk to, vent with, get angry with, sit at the pity party with. They were not ready for solutions. And they certainly didn’t want to coaching from me. Oh.

That was a hard lesson to learn.  I can’t want a better life for someone more than they want it for themselves.

You can’t want a better life for someone more than they want it for themselves either. This goes for parents, friends, clients and most especially hard to accept is that it goes for your kids too.

Well I guess technically you can want a better life for them than they do, but it doesn’t work very well. The other person must be open, ready and willing to hear the advice, they must want it, need it, crave it, be begging for it even. Then and only then are the chances of them using the advice, taking action on the advice, appreciating you and the advice, actually possible.

The next problem comes when everyone wants your advice and as a helper you want to help everyone. People are coming out from behind bushes, cousins of friends of friends want to connect with you and random people off the internet pour out their hearts.

No matter how big our hearts, no matter how wonderful our intentions, we cannot help everyone, for if we do, we will loose ourselves in the process.

We cannot help everyone, if we do we will loose ourselves in the process.

We cannot help everyone, but we can help someone.

Everyone should help someone.

In these cases where people are asking for much more than you can deliver, honesty is not only the best policy, it’s the only answer. It’s the saving grace. How about saying something like …“I would love to help you but I am just not able to at this time.” or “I wish I could give your issue the time and attention it requires but since I cannot here is another resource and number for you.”

The last issue, where people claim to want your advice but do nothing with it is very unsatisfying indeed. I leave all pumped up about their potential change and then end up totally bummed that nothing happened.  I find myself overly invested in these people and their projects and the only solution that I have found that works is distancing myself from the situation and not allowing myself to invest wholeheartedly. ‘Give and go’ is my philosophy here, give the information and go, release myself from being attached to the outcome.

At the end of the day, we may want to give advice with no expectations of the outcomes, or no grandiose plans of saving the world and only give it if being requested by the person themselves and then let it go.

As as for taking advise from others, clarity is key. I know I get frustrated sometimes when I am just venting and other people want to jump in and solve my problems and tell me what to do. Perhaps I could preface my rant with something like, “I’m not looking for advice on this issue, I just want to share the details, is that ok?”   or… if I do want their input, I could say …“I’m really looking for specific advice in this regard and I know that you have been through similar situations.”

When receiving the advice, it’s really a bummer to hear the person say, “I’ve tried that.” Or… “But you don’t know my boss…”

When receiving the advice, your job is just to say thank you. And then shut up. Process the information. Take what you can use and file away the rest for another time and place. Just say a genuine thank you to them for caring enough to offer up a possible solution.

And that my friends is all all the advice I have on giving and taking advice – take it or leave it, it’s totally your call and I’m not attached to the outcome!

Anne Day, founder of Company of Women and author of  Day by Day and Cheron Lang-Landes, president of the Manitoba Chapter, joined me for this week’s radio show.You can listen to the entire Your Life, Unlimited broadcast here:  Your Life, Unlimited with Stephanie Staples, Anne Day and Cheron Long-Landes

Enjoy!  Steph  🙂

Stephanie Staples, CSP* is the author of When Enlightening Strikes – Creating a Mindset for Uncommon Success, an internationally acclaimed motivational speaker, and the recipient of the 2014 Manitoba Woman Entrepreneur Award for Contributions to Community. Stephanie empowers audiences & clients across North America to bring their ‘A’ game to work and to life. Stephanie has a special interest in working with and empowering nurses and healthcare providers. She happily calls Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada home. You can get loads of complimentary resources to help with issues such as work/life balance, wellness, stress management and happiness in general, as well as find out more information about her coaching and speaking services at http://www.YourLifeUnlimited.ca.

* Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), conferred by the National Speakers Association is the speaking profession’s international measure of professional platform proficiency. Less than 10 percent of speakers have earned this credential and are recognized as some of the best in their fields. Stephanie was one of only five professional speakers in Canada (and the only woman) to attain this designation in 2013.

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