Have you ever offered some excellent advice to a friend which helped them deal with a difficult situation?
Of course you have.
And, maybe, in a moment of self-reflection, you realized how good the advice was and felt a little rush of well-deserved pride. I hope so.
Good for you!
But, and this is the kicker, have you ever found yourself in a situation similar to the one you helped your friend navigate through and you didn’t use your own advice?
The answer for most of us, including me, is “yes”.
And, yes, when it happens to me (a qualified expert in these matters), I feel kind of silly, have to laugh at myself, forgive myself, and reevaluate the choices I have made.
When I taught a Personal Growth class at the University where I teach, I would often answer questions from the students noting that I was much better at helping them solve their issues that I was solving my own. The reason for this is that I was objective and unburdened by emotions when I responded to their issues so I could easily and quickly access my experiences and knowledge to formulate an answer to their question.
In my own case, however, I was often very subjective and emotional.
This subjectivity clouded my judgement and left me less effective as a problem solver.
I had the necessary knowledge but I was too close to the situation and the knowledge I had didn’t kick in.
From this perspective, here is my self-help secret…
When you are facing an issue that is problematic, troublesome, and emotional for you, follow these six steps:
- take a piece of paper and write out the issue as you understand it to be. Note: the “facts” of the situation are not critical here as it is your interpretation that is critical.
- imagine that a friend of yours has approached you with this exact issue and requested your help
- write out your suggestions to your friend’s request.
- put the suggestions you’ve written away for a day or two
- pull out the suggestions you wrote down
- commit to follow the advice that is written down in front of you.
While this “secret” may not work in every situation and you may have to seek some outside input, it will be effective in many situations because:
- you are a good “advice giver” when you are objective
- this process helps you be objective
- the 1-2 day cooling off period gives you some distance from the issue
- you’ve committed to following your own advice.
I hope this helps.