Give Some Advice — To Yourself

Been reading How to Change: The Science of Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be by Katy Milkman and it’s really superb.

One nugget of gold stood out to me this weekend.

Basically she writes that giving advice to others, particularly unsolicited advice, can be defeating and deflating.

Too often, we assume that the obstacle to change in others is ignorance, and so we offer advice to mend that gap. But what if the problem isn’t ignorance but confidence—and our unsolicited wisdom isn’t making things better but worse?

Katy Milkman

I’d never thought about how that internally if I’m offering unsolicited advice, I might be assuming they don’t know — ignorance. But most of us DO know what we should be doing in most situations and likely want confidence, reassurance, affirmation.

In my conversations with entrepreneurs seeking support, I try to always do the latter — show them what is already within them … and most times I feel those calls are more about, just the above, affirmation.

If I went straight into advice when they present a solution, I can totally see how I could erode confidence in them. But that’s ultimately not what they want or I want.

And when I’m asked for specific advice, I try to default to experience share over advice. Sharing specific situations that I encountered the same challenge, issue, or obstacle they did and how I thought and acted. Just the truth of it, not my pointed advice.

Anyway, back to what I intended to write about here ….

One huge takeaway I got from this chapter and notion of advice was a hack for myself.

The author wrote that often times giving advice to others helped reassure ourselves, giving us a boost and clarifying the steps we should take.

… being asked to write just a few words of guidance to someone else might give people the confidence to achieve their own objectives.

.. prompting goal seekers to offer advice led them to feel more motivated than when they were given the very same caliber of advice.

So now when I’m stuck on something, or wrestling with an issue, I’m going to try to take a step back, and ask:

“If someone asked me to share advice for them about this issue, what would I tell them?”

Here’s a couple of challenges I’ve been working through:

  • How do I go about raising money for my startup?
  • How to launch and make a splash?
  • How do I 10X building an audience?

Just writing those challenges in the form of questions here gives me some clarity and my instant answers give me a BIG boost to my confidence for how to get started tackling them.

It’s a lesson to remember for ourselves and for others ….

When you are asked advice, it’s not always about the answer,
but helping build their confidence to tackle the challenge themselves.


This post is part of my 30 Days of Clicking Publish

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