My Advice Is… (Episode 131)
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten? How exactly do you best give/receive advice? The answer may lie more in the story than anything.
Maybe it's not about telling the right advice, but about asking the right question.
The Advice Fence
There are two ways people tend to receive advice – through complacency or growth. Are you going to stay your course and shut down any other paths? You may be stuck in complacency, unwilling to see beyond your own perspective (and often a reason you may still be stuck).
OR, you can go on the side of growth. When you see advice from an area of growth, it’s not just forcing yourself to apply advice exactly as it is given; it’s looking for those little nuggets you can take and apply in your own life.
Below here are some advice tidbits we crowdsourced for this podcast episode and post.
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Where are we this week?
This week we made it to a new campground near Naples, Florida – it’s been great exploring a new Florida State Park and learning about the history of the area. The big news this week was with the wildlife- since being at this park, the girls have spotted a gray fox, manatees, and the grandest of all – a Florida Panther!!
This makes 2 that we’ve seen as a family – one that Jules and I spotted last year, and this one everyone saw – so incredible, and reinforces our desire to do early morning walks and go to remote areas to hike to see all the incredible wildlife!
Follow us on our journey on Insta as the FieldTripGypsies!
Don't just Look For Love
Recently in my 48 Days Eagles Community, I asked,
"What is the best piece of advice you received, and why?”
Hard to pick one.. but this is one of the best pieces of advice I've received.
"You can't be out there looking for love, it doesn't work like that"
This has really helped me in my season of singleness. It's hard to be patient waiting for the person I'm gonna spend the rest of my life. This piece of advice further confirmed to me that God will bring her into my life when I'm ready. And this point in my life where I'm single is for growth, and undivided devotion to the Lord. In order for me to attract the kind of person I desire to spend my life with I have to become that kind of person.
Accept your present – don’t long for the past or the future, but appreciate what will come. However, it’s important to visualize your desire – not so detailed, though. Don’t get so focused on the engineering of yourself that your lover passes you by, either. Or, don’t get so immersed in your growth that this becomes your lover instead of a relationship, either.
This is for mindset, however- this was important for where Cody was, and has helped to propel him forward – and that’s what we want to look for – get insights, and then look for how it applies to your specific life situation.
Some additional resources for you
- Learn more about the 48 Days Eagles Community Here
- Make Me Feel Important: The High D Style
- Dot Your i’s and cross your t’s – The High C Personality Style
- Never Confuse Kindness for Weakness: The High S Style
- Precocious People Person At Your Service: The High I Style
- Do You Really “See” Others? (Episode 1)
- The Collaboration of Life (Episode 2)
- The Seasons Of Life (Episode 3)
- The Seasons Of Life (Episode 3)
- Get the Facts Straight, Man! (Episode 5)
- There is Power In the Present Moment (Episode 6)
- Do You Really Know Their Story? (Episode 7)
- What We Have Here Is A Failure To Communicate! (Episode 8)
- When Adventures Go Awry (Episode 51)
- Adventure is a Mindset (Episode 52)
- Empowering the Littles (Episode 63)
- Quality Over Quantity (Episode 35)
- How To Be The Perfect Parent
- Are You Living Your Life In Color? No Excuses
- The Only Advice New Parents Need To Know (Episode 59)
- 5 Tips for Difficult Conversations You Want to Avoid (Episode 82)
- Unhurried Spaciousness: Five Steps for Your New Year (Episode 85)
There are no mistakes...
Sometimes, there is an overarching theme for your life – a mindset shift that may be shown in the form of a story or “advice”, and it’s ultimately about changing your perspective.
Years ago, at my job on the cattle ranch, I had invited a boy from town to come to the ranch for a day. When he arrived, foul language was abundant (kind of like he thought that was the way of the West). I was mortified. When he finally left, the old cowboy came up to me and said “Well?” I was terrified he was going to tell me to pack my bags because I was “hanging” out with people like him. Instead he said, “What are your thoughts about the day?” Stumbling through apologizing for the boy, he stopped me. He said “Yep, you made a mistake, and yes it was poor judgment. But, it’s only a true mistake if you didn’t learn from it. Take your mistakes and learn from them, over time you will be well educated, because we ALL make mistakes.”
Wow, so true, Christine! After each flight as an aircraft navigator we’d have a debrief: what went wrong with the flight? What went right? What could have been done better? How was our (4-member) team coordination? Etc. It was especially true in an aircraft where life & death decisions are made, but applies to much of life. I think Michael Hyatt calls it an “after action review,” if memory serves. Like your old cowboy said, we all make mistakes, & our flight debriefs ALWAYS had items to discuss.
Maybe it’s only a true mistake if you continue to repeat it.
So in both of these, the story tells the life lesson the individual learned, but ultimately, it’s in the personal story – the personal experience where they applied it. And that will be different for each of us. Advice is not always a “one size fits all”.
Advice: Don't Give it
Author/activist Glennon Doyle has an interesting perspective on advice. Basically it’s this – don’t give it!
Even when people ask for advice, she says, what they really want is to be heard. Sometimes it’s not about what you give, but what they need. Approaching a situation and asking good questions, listening and giving love can be pretty powerful!
People want to be heard. And often, by listening to the stories, that’s where you glean your own advice tips from it. Think of all of the advice columns, the authors, bloggers, speakers, and podcasters. It’s not just about them telling you something you need to do. What sucks you in?
Oftentimes it’s the story. It’s when people open up about their lives, and, by doing so, they free us to see our own lives differently. They inspire us and we move from seeing them as the “other” to empathizing and applying an insight from our own perspective.
Don't Get mad; Get Better
"There have been many, but the one that comes to mind right now is "Don't get mad, get better!" Whenever I get frustrated, disappointed, discouraged or mad about something or an outcome it is time to get better, not mad."
Sometimes it’s not about the action in the story, but it’s a valuable lesson learned. Can this open the door for more empathy in your life? Can you experience what it’s like to walk in the shoes of the other? Can you relate? The concept of parables of course is so relatable with religion, where you hear parable after parable that may ultimately lead to the concept of “treat others the way you want to be treated” – but can be said in a thousand different story lines of personal experiences to incite empathy in another.
Are you talking WITH or TO them?
There are two ways of “conversation”, although one isn’t really true conversation at all. Powerful advice giving isn’t one-sided. It’s not just a lecture or sermon, but a relationship. It’s the give and take. Taking into account personality styles, body language, timing…there are so many dynamics to consider before you ever can determine whether advice will even be received, much less received and applied.
It's in the Story, not the advice
Here is a great example of where it’s a life lesson included in a story from Robert:
"This example is not directly advice, but has an important life lesson. My favorite teacher in my master’s degree program said that this master’s program won’t make you an expert on the topic (human resources mgmt)—but can make you an expert at FINDING THE INFORMATION on the topic. So much in life depends on where to find great information. Our 20-year old son Graham yesterday discovered through a very knowledgeable dentist that several of his physical problems were likely caused by his teeth misalignment—posture, back pain, tooth pain, to name a few. Wish we had known all that years ago, but our regular dentist was not helpful in directing us. As for business, which of course is highly multi-faceted, this Eagles community is a great resource in where to find great information."
Can you use and recognize the merit in learning how to find information – even if you aren’t getting a master’s degree or having teeth issues? Of course! This story is Robert’s. Yet the principles can go way beyond that.
Sharing insights about what has helped you personally is a great way to give a nudge about a new way of thinking. Just like Nathan shares in the podcast about his analogy for even easing the concerns of well-meaning baby boomers who challenge our educational style.
Ask Forgiveness over permission
This was interesting because it’s a piece that can be so specific based on your personality style – it’s not a “one piece of advice fits all” approach.
“'It’s easier to get forgiveness than permission'. Ha. My dad told me that when I was twelve with tongue in cheek, and I used it on him that night. He tried to reverse that for years.
I’ve since revised it to a new saying I learned from others - 'fire fast and ride the bullet.' Both remind me to take action and not overthink, as that is my tendency."
James added :
"I use this all the time. It's true. I can decrease implementation times on projects by 75%. Yes, some people get upset, but there's no time so it focuses the attention on how to accomplish the goal and less time to come up with excuses on why we can't do this."
Well, that’s great advice in some respects, and I’ve seen it played out even in things like a simple example at a trampoline bounce center last week. A dad was there with his toddler, and there were tons of rules about not having more than one kid in the foam pits at the same time, and it was a bit over the top. His little toddler simply wanted to jump in and experience it. So instead of waiting, asking permission, getting that perfect moment, the father simply let her “fall” into the foam pit near the edge, 20 feet from where my daughter was (the one kid in the arena). He let her squeal in joy a bit and then helped her back out, saying the assumptive “thank you” to the staff member there like it was a-ok that he did that.
Well, honestly, it was a-ok. It was no big deal, gave his toddler delight, and the whole thing was less than a minute interaction vs. the 5-10 minutes it would have taken to get permission on it.
AND, there are times this is not a good idea. There are some personality styles, like high I's and high D's, where asking permission more would be the best advice they can get. They need to slow down and be aware of their impact. But an S style who may wait too long passively, or a C style who may ask so much permission they create red tape where there wasn’t before – for these styles, this may be great advice.
So keep in mind your personality style, and if it really fits for you. And…
WE're All A Genius Today
Don’t become an “advice junkie” – just soaking up advice and not doing anything with it. For the most part, great advice givers are action-takers themselves. And you know they are, because their advice comes from them moving beyond something and then looking back to see the fruit and what that advice really was.
Remember with all advice, we are speaking about what we’ve learned now that may have propelled us forward…yet it doesn’t mean we have it all nailed down. There are many opportunities for growth for all of us that may expand our “genius” opinion of the moment and help us realize we really didn’t know better then like we do now.
Nathan likened advice giving to sharing underwear – it’s comfortable and the perfect fit…but it’s the perfect fit for you. And not only might it not fit another the same way, they don’t need/want your version – I’m pretty safe in saying people want their own underwear (and experience) and not someone else’s.
Take advice and recognize it as an imperfect thing, jaded by the perspective of the giver. Take pieces from it that will apply for your own situation.
Be Cautious With Your Expectation
If you expect someone to take action on your advice, you may be doing a disservice to your relationship.
USE ADVICE GIVING AS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR YOUR OWN GROWTH – REFLECTING BACK ON YOUR STORY – VS. YOUR AGENDA FOR ANOTHER.
This is an opportunity to share stories and personal insights about our own growth – which helps solidify for us…and takes the pressure off the other that they have to do the same. It’s an invitation for them to glean what they can for their own life application.
Be the Johnny Appleseed of advice – just drop the seedlings as you go, not holding on to the outcome. Some will grow and develop, others won’t.
Don’t forget to ask questions. Even when someone asks for advice, it’s often that they are seeking to be heard.
Earn the Right
Before you go giving anything out, earn the right to be heard. Invite them in by asking THEM questions –when they feel heard, this opens the door for their own willingness to listen. Ask questions that dig deeper. Be curious and interested in their lives and who they are. Ask questions like,
- What do you think about ______?
- What was an experience in your life where you struggled, and how did you get past it?
- How did you handle _________?
- What are you struggling with right now?
- What’s holding you back?
Questions open up conversation, which opens up stories, which opens up opportunities to share insights and perspective which ultimately leads to those tidbits of advice or information. Oftentimes, we label it as advice, when it was really an epiphany we gathered from our own life application of a story we heard from another.
Nathan shares his story on the podcast about the best piece of advice he got from a friend. It was in casual conversation over a walk, and he was lost in his frustration with some difficult people in our lives at that time. He was frustrated with their actions and behavior around us, and floundering with work, and really at a point of having much of his conversation focused on his criticism of others. John’s advice was simple: “Get busy.”
He earned the right to say that, and he didn’t elaborate – just suggested that Nathan get busy and start moving toward his own self-development and improvement vs. being stuck sitting in his frustration of others. And that little reminder to “get busy” became a powerful mantra in Nathan’s life to work on what he could control: himself.
Meet Her Where She's At
I was stuck in this viscous spiral of trying to “fix” my daughter any time she was upset. In conversation with a friend, there was an offhanded comment of “meet her where she’s at” – and that one little thing became my epiphany – a substantial shift by me as a parent to learn to sit with my child with where they were in their emotion and acknowledge it first before I moved forward with any action.
Nathan compared great advice like seasoning – it’s not the end-all-be-all – it just seasons everything else perfect. It’s those little nuggets that expand you into a better person and season all areas of your life.
Your Weekly Challenge:
Seek an opportunity for a meaningful conversation. It may be you have a desire to impart wisdom on another, or that you are seeking some of that wisdom. Either way, start with the same approach. Practice listening. Try asking questions to pull more out – get a story and a personal application vs. a “should” prescription.
Start a conversation, asking more questions than just one. Keep asking and take note of what nuggets they say and how it may apply in your own life. Engage with others this week. Ask questions. And cherish the insight that the uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us.