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When things happen in our life, we talk to friends and family. We seek advice, support or just want someone to lend an ear. But when we do, we are prone to taking that advice personal. The thing is, what they are saying is hardly ever about you, but always about them.
Suppose you are contemplating quitting your job to start your own business and you ask advice from your friends. Friend A might advise you to stay in your job because it’s steady, nice work, you know what you’ve got. On the other hand, friend B might just as well tell you to start your business because she thinks you would be amazing and the freedom is awesome. Who is right? The answer is: they are both right and neither is right. Because their answers tells them something about themselves, not so much about you. Friend A does not like insecurity and cannot handle the fact that you are willing to give it up. Friend B is probably more of a risktaker. Or she isn’t, but would love tob e and is therefor encouraging you. You see, the advice is nota bout you, it is about them.
I remember talking to a friend years and years ago about problems with the boyfriend I had back then. Our relatonship was quite serious, but there was trouble in paradise and I was not sure if I wanted to continue. My friend was quite upset when I told her. She went all quiet, then sighed a lot. All she could say was that relationships were never easy and I shouldn’t give up. She kept talking about perseverence in relationships, how staying together and working on it was so important. It made me doubt my decision. Was I giving up too easily? Should I give it (yet) another go? A week later I discovered her true concern. She was friends wit both of us and had always thought we would make a great couple. So when we became a couple, she was overjoyed. But now that we were breaking up, it made her feel like she was a failure. In retrospect, she never once asked me about what was going on in our relationship. Why I felt it wasn’t working. All she was thinking of, was how she felt about this. This was of course a tell tale sign. This taught me a valuable lesson: her advice was not about me, it was all about her.
When I started my business, lots of people had something to say about it. I love it when friends take an interest, ask me how I am doing and think along with me, but leave it al lto me to figure it out. They are just happy that I found my path. But there are friends who kept giving me advice that made me feel uneasy. About what I should or shouldn’t do. They gave their opinion on how I handled things. It made me doubt my decisions. Till I realised that valuable lesson: it is not about me, it is about them. When they express fear, it is their fear, not yours. When they express doubt, it is their doubt. Not yours. Even when they express joy, it is their joy, not yours.
Should you then never take advice from others. Of course you should. Or well, you should listen, assess and take advice that you think is solid and helpfull. Lots of my friends have great experience in business and life, so I would be crazy not to at least listen to what they have to say. They might have solid and good ideas. Ask for advice to the friends and familymembers who’s opinion you value. Because they have experience, a vision that you love or they really understand you. But always remember: whatever they say is about them and never about you. In the end, your vision and your inner compass is your true guidance and that will make you happy. And believe me, all your family and friends want to achieve with their advice, is for you to be happy.