Thankfully, not many of us live in a bubble. Our world has become more interdependent than ever before. When faced with life’s crossroads, we ask for and receive input from many sources. Determining which advice to heed can be as challenging as the original dilemma. Take a moment to consider the source.
Family members – help you live up to their expectations. “You were interested in this when you were young; I’ve always thought you were good at…” They know and love you to pieces.
Although I now enjoy speaking to large groups, I can still hear my Mother reminding me how I threw-up from nerves before delivering my Woodpecker report in the second grade. Talents and passions change over time, but family history lives on.
Friends’ – well-meaning advice is colored by their perceptions and desire to protect you from hurt. Friends typically advise based on what has and has not worked for them, not you.
A well-meaning friend once convinced me to go camping in a hot and muggy climate for the weekend with a group of people I didn’t know. I have hated heat and humidity my entire life and this was a recipe for disaster. The advice to get out of my comfort zone and meet new people was solid, but the execution was not right for me.
Co-workers – have a professional filter on some level that puts the goals of the workplace in the mix. What would your success, advancement or departure mean for them?
A couple of years ago I accepted an assignment revamping a public relations office in in Singapore. My first move was to meet with other agency leaders in Singapore to ask advice on managing a talented Asia Pacific team. The most common advice was to “show them who is boss” to obtain respect. This is contrary to my management style, but I tried it in certain circumstances when all else failed. It was a disaster. I quickly learned that leading in an inauthentic way was not working on any level and actually increased the cultural divide. Instead, I found a way to organically change the office culture and earn respect in a more collaborative manner.
A Life Coach – requires you to set the agenda, provides space and support for you to explore all options, and holds you accountable for actions YOU determine are in your best interest.
As part of my training, I worked with an amazing Life Coach last winter. As I outlined my New Routes Coaching business plan, I categorized my time in the Utah Mountains as a negative for business networking compared to the time I spend in New York City. She challenged me to flip my perspective and I came up with the idea to host adventure ski and life coaching retreats for clients in the future. The simple question, “how could you turn that perceived negative into a positive?” changed my outlook and inspired me to create something exciting.
Having the support of family, friends and colleagues is a blessing in life, but not a substitute for your inner voice. As transitions arise, remember that you are uniquely qualified to find your own answers. The role of a Life Coach is to help you see around anything in your way and chart a new course.