It was an abnormally warm spring day when I took my mother to the park to tell her I was moving away.
We sat on a bench facing the rippling river; I was feeling both the weight and promise of a season about to change when my mom offered her go-to line, "Well don't you just want to pray about it a little whi-"
"No, Mom," I cut her off, lovingly. "I already prayed on it. This is what I have to do. I need to grow. I can't do that here."
She nodded in agreement, took a beat, and began laying out ideas to help me fulfill my vision quest.
In that moment, I discovered the power of firmly yet lovingly rejecting advice that does not align with personal convictions - no matter who is offering it.
Vet Your Loved Ones’ Advice Too
It seems painless to blindly follow the advice of those who love you, but as get older, life will show you that it is wisest to evaluate the who, what, where, when, why, and how of everyone's advice first. Yes, that includes Big Mama too.
Real life isn't set up for the age-old idea that we should only take advice from those who love us. In fact, it offers anecdotal proof that we should examine their counsel just as much, if not more than anyone else's.
I'm sure that if it isn't you, you know at least one person who forfeited some of their deepest ambitions under the counsel of those who loved them dearly:
They went through with law school to make their parents proud, knowing acting was their dream.
They married the girl who looked good on paper when they were in love with the girl from around the way.
They had children to make their spouse and family happy when they didn't want children at all.
Parents want their children to experience "better" lives than their own. And sometimes, even our friends don't understand our visions and will advise us based solely upon financial stability and safety. While there is nothing inherently wrong with the desires of our heart, they can pull us out of alignment with our destiny if we receive them blindly when presented at the wrong time, for the wrong reason, or from the wrong motivation.
Advice based on living a "safe" life is meant to be loving. But to live safely leaves so much to be desired in regards to passions and dreams. Safety usually translates to comfort - and comfort doesn't usually produce great things.
My mother's advice to pray about my move wasn't bad advice. It was simply: 1) poorly timed and 2) motivated by fear.
First, I already had the answer I'd prayed for. So, to pray again would be futile. Second, her reason for wanting me to pray was to delay my decision because she was afraid for me to live so far away.
Getting advice is a lot like solving a math test problem. The advice is the answer but in order for it to make sense, you need to show your work, and reasoning.
When receiving advice, ask the person for their reasoning and listen with your mind as well as your heart.
Seek Wisdom From The Courageously Wise
Great lives demand courageous counselors. There must be an element of courage that accompanies any advice. Most of the time we ask for advice when we've got a difficult choice to make, right?
When the fork in the road feels colossal and your answers to life's questions are vague at best, it's crucial to have people in your corner who have faith to believe the impossible and the good sense not to advise you off a cliff. For example, if you're gung-ho to put a down payment on a space for your new business, a courageously wise person might be just as excited about your new venture as you are but she would first pump the brakes and inquire about your business plans, investors, etc.
Courageously wise people take big, giant leaps of faith but they also understand that there are levels to the game of life. They'll be your #1 hype man but they will never let you play yourself by doing too much too soon or skipping key steps on your path.
Listen To Those Who’ve Been Here Before
"Never ask advice of someone with whom you wouldn't want to trade places." - Darren Hardy
If they've not mastered the path you're traveling, why do you need to know what they think?
Don't worry, I'll wait.
That's like asking someone with perpetually poor credit to walk you through the steps to financial freedom. It sounds crazy because it is crazy. Yet, we do it everyday -- allowing friends and family to toss their two terrible cents into the bank of our lives, adding very little value.
Instead, connect with those whose lives are a reflection of achievement in the places you're looking for answers. Just as a receipt is proof of a purchase, please keep in mind when seeking and considering advice that there must be proof of mastery.
What are some of the key takeaways you've learned in either receiving or giving advice? Share them below in the comments!