Be careful when you expect or demand someone else do it your way.
And be careful attempting to do it someone else’s exact way.
One size rarely fits all. And mileage always varies.
Especially in business but also in life.
I’ve actually found that it’s the quickest way to disillusion and then misery.
Your path might be the one true way for you, but not for me.
Your experience is likely not mine.
Your situation or setup is not mine.
Your beliefs, values, perspective are not always mine.
However, if I ask for yours, I’ll put it in the spreadsheet of my mind I use to make my own decisions, on my own path.
Yes, I may fail and make mistakes, but I’m determined to learn something from them.
I’ve often learned making my own mistakes is the key to unlocking what my happiness and joy is, for me.
When someone asks me my opinion or advice, I consciously try to default to what EO preaches in our forum groups … and simply share my experiences, and not advice.
Yes, sometimes I want your advice and you might want mine. Sometimes, I may ask you to tell me exactly what you think, or how you’d do it in my shoes.
With folly, I too often ask though, “If you were me, what would you do?”
But you’re not me. You’re you.
And if I do it exactly like you, I’m living your life, through the lense of your decisions, beliefs, philosophies and past … and not my own.
I will listen intently though and ask clarifying questions. I do that but it’s not to live your life, it’s to inform mine.
I weigh that input with what else I’ve learned to make the best decision for me.
And that’s helped me stay on the right path, my path.
I’ve been guilty of much of this though. When I blog (like this), tweet, take a call or do a talk, I say it all with deep conviction of belief … but it’s ALL based on my unique experiences. That’s my constant asterisk and disclaimer though as it should be.
And some of those experiences have, can and will change as I experience new things, ways, approaches and paths.
But many of us DO want to be told and directed what to do and I’ll admit, sometimes, I do too, especially with someone with more experience than me.
But knowing that I’m truly asking for experiences in deciding my own path, however they may come out helps in truly finding my own, is essential to sorting yours from mine. So now I know when I ask someone to share their opinion, advice, experiences or conviction, and they do so rather passionately or forcefully with me, it is merely their experiences baked in a crust of advice.
The best gold nuggets and informative, enriching experiences I’ve heard though is down in the deep core of it — the memories, experiences and stories, without me ever being a character in it. I’m simply hearing a good story.
When someone shares their experiences and emotions and reasons behind their path, without that deep-fried advice, it should sound more like, “I did X, because of Y, and Z is what happened.”
When it comes out like this, I can take my own truth from it and apply it appropriately.
This has given me immense freedom to be and do me. And to find the right path for me.
Only then, can I safely say:
I found and choose my own path …
… one that was mostly informed, sometimes guided, by all the experiences of others who graciously shared theirs with me.