Advice columns, self-help formulas and a list of ‘hacks’ for a happier life can sometimes feel, if not overwhelming, then, defeating. Sometimes too much information can trigger the opposite of inspiration and motivation. The offerings can seem to suggest that there is always something you can improve or that there is something wrong with you. I have to lump myself in with the advisors and self-help givers, because I serve this stuff up as well as study it. I apologize if I’ve ever made you feel ‘less-than.’ So, I present: Advice…erm ….Suggestions for:
How to Take Advice
1. Consider the Source’s Motivation
What does this ‘expert’ stand to gain? What is their motivation for offering you advice? If you feel any sort of ‘ick’ factor, you know that the advice is not coming from a place of having your genuine best interest at heart.
2. See Every Piece of Advice as an Option
Just because some ‘expert’ in a field presents a compelling case does NOT mean that you must take the advice. You always have the option.
3. Timing is Everything
Sometimes the advice is just not for you at this time. We are all in different places on our journey and it is completely ok to be exactly where you are right now. You are always growing, even if you can't see it. The advice that is showing up for you may be helpful at a later point in your journey.
4. Use Your Imagination
Before you invest energy or time in something, imagine yourself taking the advice or performing the self-improvement exercise. How does it feel? Does it feel exciting? Soothing? Pleasurable? Comforting? Relaxing? Open? Or does it make you feel tight? Compressed? Shut down? This is all important information. Our logic and reason are not always the best methods of deciding things.
5. Develop Your Own Inner Guru
Trust yourself; your knowing, your past experiences, your body signals. Just because something got Oprah, or your favorite yoga instructor all jazzed up, does not necessarily mean you should get jazzed up too. Be happy for them, bless them and go on your way.
Everyone is here to have their own unique experience and only you can decide what that is.
As a coach, I encourage my clients to try different advice or self-help exercises, in the hopes of sparking some inspiration or movement into new possibilities. ‘Should’ and ‘have to’ are not helpful when offering suggestions (See “Fighting the Evil Shoulds”). Homework is always optional.
Ultimately life is about growth and expansion and advice is a way to encounter someone elses' experience and consider it for yourself.
How does that feel?