Getting Advice: When and From Whom

Amy Vaughn

Writer & Blogger

You’ve got a big decision to make. You have reasoned and researched. You have gathered information, journaled, and written your extended pro’s and con’s list (read the last blog about this here). Your instincts are kicking into gear, but for some reason, you still hesitate. This might be the time to think about getting some input from a trusted advisor. 

In this part of my six-part series on Making Big Decisions, I’m going to share some thoughts about when it’s time to get advice, as well as offer up some things to consider regarding who to get advice from.  

When to get advice: 

  • Getting advice is a great way to gain another perspective from someone else you respect (and who respects you, I might add). 

  • After you have thoughtfully considered the options of your situation and a solid choice is still unclear, then consider seeking counsel. 

  • Here’s the thing though…You probably already know which direction is a better choice for you. Your intuition (coupled with your intellect) has your best interest in mind and usually does not steer you wrong. Keep that in mind as you seek input. 

How many times have you said, “I knew I should have done ‘x’” or “I knew I should have listened to my gut instead of so-and-so”. It’s so easy to second guess ourselves when we do not value or trust ourselves. This is not a criticism of you, but rather more of an observation of the environment that made you feel like you couldn’t or shouldn’t trust yourself. 

Who to get advice from: 

  • This seems like a no-brainer, but a lot of people get bad advice from the wrong people. 

  • First, it’s important to note that it is extremely hard for advice-givers to be objective. It’s just human nature. Any advice that someone offers is going to be sifted through their life, their biases, their mindset, their set of beliefs, their view of you, feelings for you and so on. Meaning, it’s a skewed view, so just be alert to that fact. 

  • If you decide you would like to get advice, then get it from those people in your life that you trust, those who have earned your trust. 

Be mindful of those people who told you told that you could or should trust a certain advisor, without any evidence that they have earned your trust. 

Many times, we feel like we should trust someone because they are a family member or an authority figure…or they are someone we perceive as having their life together. 

Often, we get a vibe about someone who seems trustworthy or untrustworthy. You can look at the evidence of someone’s life and determine if you want their counsel based on the evidence. Trust is earned by people who have had your back; those who have filled you up, rather than tear away at your self-worth. These people have repeatedly been there for you when others haven’t been. 

 

  • Get advice from someone who respects you for who you are, not someone who is constantly trying to make you into someone they want you to be or think you ought to be. Major red flag. 

If you get a twitch in your gut about their respect for you, that is your intuition guiding you to steer clear. That person can be in your life. They can be a friend, loved one, colleague, mentor, but it doesn’t mean you have to seek their advice (or take it if it’s unsolicited). 

  • Be aware of the motive of the person you are getting advice from.  Some people in your life don’t have your best interest in mind. I hate to say that, but…it’s true. I am not trying to villainize anyone, but it is important to understand other people’s motives for you. 

Are they wanting you to fill a role that makes their life easier or better, more than making your life easier or more fulfilling? Is this person wanting you to conform to a role that makes the relationship, business or organization work more efficiently at greater cost to you? These are some of the questions to consider when your Spidey-senses are tingling. 

  • If the person is not actively asking you questions and seeking to understand your motivations, desires, etc. then, it could be a red flag that they may not actually be interested in what is in your best interest. 

  • This is not to say that your mom, dad, grandmother, best friend, colleague etc. don’t love you or care for you; it’s just that they may not be the best people to get advice from. And IF you do seek to get their advice, take it for what it is. If it goes against your gut, think again.

There you have it…the When’s and the From Whom’s of getting advice. Know that you are always in control of when you get advice, from whom you get advice and more importantly, what you decide to do. 

Ultimately, the decision is yours. Remember that getting advice does not mean you have to take it. You still get to make the final decision.

What do you think? I’d love to hear from you! Do you have any questions? Let me know! You can reach me at amy@amykvaughn.com.

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