Hello SOTGC community,
Times of uncertainty often bring out feelings of urgency and desperation.
“Desperate times call for desperate measures.”
Unfortunately, some of us know this saying all too well. Desperate measures sometimes manifest as cries for counsel…directed towards anyone within earshot, or, perhaps more likely, within social media reach. What we get in response is a hodgepodge of opinions—two cents…quickly adding up to dollars (but none we can spend.) We are often left with a lot of words that do us little justice, or at least don’t seem to offer appropriate solutions for our problems. Why is it so hard to find support when you need it? Follow this guide and learn how to ask the right people the right questions—and give better advice as well.
Find Others With Similar Values: Approach people who share your principles and priorities. A vegetarian asking a meat lover to recommend a local restaurant would not likely find their suggestion palatable. We are most likely to find counsel appropriate and useful when the counselor shares our motives and beliefs.
Misery Loves Company: When we are feeling overwhelmed we sometimes look for someone to commiserate with us. We may benefit from a sympathetic shoulder and an empathic ear, but so many times our pleas are met with negativity. If you tend to gravitate towards others who are experiencing the same problem as you, reconsider approaching them with your issues. Ask yourself, “how have they handled the situation?” Are they effectively moving towards resolution? Will this interaction benefit you both or create an atmosphere of anger and confusion?
Let Your Needs Be Known: When asking for advice, be clear about your wants and needs. Communicate what you are willing and not willing to do. Place parameters around what you are comfortable with. Others can better guide you when they have a clear understanding of your hopes and expectations, as well as your limits.
Be Clear About Your Goals: When asking for directions, there are two important points of reference—where you are at and where you want to go. Be honest about your present position. Think about what you wish to accomplish, and then establish goals so that others can help point you towards the right path.
Stop, Listen, and Learn: Receive advice with an open mind. Consider all options brought to the table, however absurd they may seem. Sometimes it takes a brainstorm to generate the perfect answer to your question; compare the imperfect ideas to help identify the ideal solution.
Be Wary of Absolutes: There are few absolutes in this world. Some people see only black and white rather than shades of gray. Consult those who recognize the world is a diverse place and always changing. Use caution when considering advice laden with words such as “everyone,” “nobody,” “never,” and “always.” Instead, look for words that can grow with you and adapt to many circumstances and situations: “sometimes,” “usually,” “many,” and “generally.”
Think Twice Before Seeking Advice: Are you really looking for help? Perhaps you are seeking validation instead? Do everyone a favor and ask yourself what you hope to gain from an interaction. It’s okay to want someone to confirm you are on the right track, but rather than asking for advice, let them know you want a thumbs-up and a pat on the back.
Confide in Your Conscience: Sometimes, as I mentioned above, we seek out opinions although we already know the appropriate solution to the problem. Acknowledge your ability to navigate your path and make sound decisions. If you still want a second opinion, then believe in this innate discernment and give credence to your inner voice.
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