In these final three blogs of the series, Making Big Decisions, I am going to talk about the role of advice: when should you get it, from whom, what questions to ask (or avoid) and what to look for in the motivations of those from whom you get advice.
First, let me say that yes, I believe getting advice from a trusted friend, mentor or family member is fantastic. We all, from time to time, especially in the BIG decisions, may need to get perspective from those closest to us. Awesome.
Some potential problems that can arise in seeking advice include: feeling obligated to get advice, feeling obligated to take the advice someone offers and getting advice from the wrong kind of people.
For most of my adult life, especially within the #toxicchurch culture I was a part of, I was taught that seeking advice was absolutely necessary. In fact, there was such a high value placed on getting advice (and taking the advice), that if you didn’t get advice/take advice (preferably from someone in authority over your life) you were reprimanded and/or shamed for not doing so. Not getting or taking advice was a sign of pride, weak spiritual disposition and likely, if repeated, you would be pegged as “a problem”.
For those rule-following, approval-seeking folks like myself, I got advice on a regular basis, whether I needed it or not, despite often feeling like I “should be able” to make my own decisions.
Yet, it was often taught that “the heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure” (Jeremiah 17:9 would be used incorrectly). Furthermore, because of this “truth”, one could not, should not, must not trust themselves. This verse was often used as a means of control and manipulation by those in leadership positions, sadly myself included. For the sake of time and length of this blog, I will save the possible theological meaning of this verse in Jeremiah).
The point I am making here is that this specific teaching of Jeremiah can be used to manipulate and persuade you that you can not trust yourself nor the intuition that has been planted within you since your conception. I call that absolute garbage.
There is room to believe that you can get advice AND trust your gut.
I wrote about trusting your intuition in the earlier blog, “Making Big Decisions-Part 2, Mindset: Making It Work For You”. In this blog, I am going to share some of my thoughts on getting advice.
Before getting advice, here are some things to consider:
Take time to consider your options. Journal your feelings about your situation, your options and the potential outcomes. What are the fears? What are the hesitancies? What might the opposition be? Give yourself the time and space to be really honest with yourself. And…journal about it.
We often overlook this step because it’s not usually easy to dissect our feelings. We want answers and action plans. We don’t want to sit in our emotions for too long.
Allow your mind to go all the way through a scenario, given the different outcomes you can think of. Imagine the best case scenarios, as well as the worst case scenarios.
Envisioning the worst case scenarios sounds like a bad idea, but hear me out. By considering what the worst case scenario is AND imagining how you may solve that worst case scenario, you can determine if taking that direction is worth it or not.
Additionally, envisioning how you can overcome a “bad scenario” does wonders for your self-efficacy! #ICanDoHardThings
Brainstorming outcomes of a “bad scenario” is a little bit like a pro-con list, but with a littel bit more imagination. Not all reasons you list as a con are actually bad. They may simply be more of a challenge. Thinking about the cons in a different way, may give you a greater perspective, not to mention more creativity on how you can overcome a tricky situation, giving you a much-needed boost of #selfconfidence.
In the next post, I will offer some insight into when and from whom to get advice. Until next time…
What do you think? I’d love to hear from you . Do you have any questions? Let me know! You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment.