What no one tells you about asking for advice

Asking for advice can be a double-edged sword, especially as an adult. Here's what no one tells you about asking for other's opinions & ways to counteract.

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When’s the last time you asked for advice? Sitting here writing to you, I can tell you that for me, it was probably earlier today( at least twice).

Asking for advice is a seemingly good thing. And it DEFINITELY has its benefits. But what no one tells you as you move into #adulting are all the not so great things about asking for guidance from others.

It’ can be a double-edged sword, especially for those of us who already have a hard time making decisions.

Hello, my name is Megan and I suffer from analysis paralysis. 🙁

The ins & outs of asking for advice

I’ve gone from one end of the spectrum to the other, in asking for advice. I’ve asked too much and from too many people to never asking for advice or help at all.

And I can tell you that neither is the best option. It lands somewhere in the middle. So, here are a few things to think about and do PRIOR to asking for advice:

Consider the source.

When you reach out to someone consider the source prior to asking for advice. Every single one of us, has our own perspectives, values and biases.

When you ask for opinions or guidance, most often, people are willing to give it… coming from their point of view, experiences and values. And most of the time, this is a great way to get perspective! Because it gets you thinking outside of the box and consider other viewpoints, that maybe you haven’t before.

But, in my experience as a people pleaser, I had/have a really hard time separating out the opinions shared and what actually makes sense for me, as an individual.

Throughout college and beyond, I went to my parents for opinions, for just about everything. But, as much as I love my parents and respect their views; we have completely different experiences and priorities.

Going to them for advice, for just about everything was counterintuitive to what my gut and intuition lead me towards.

I was so terrified about making the wrong decision, that I chose the path that was said to be the ‘right’ one. And this led me down a dark and twisty road of not trusting myself.

I was listening to this podcast the other day, where the hosts were talking about unwarranted or unsolicited business advice. And the guidelines to which advice they actually listened to, was genius:

Essentially, unless the advice giver’s life is one that you want to model your life after – don’t listen to them.

I think that this can apply to all aspects of life and should be a big consideration before asking for advice, or receiving unwanted advice.

So, I’ve learned/am learning to take a step back and look at the guidance I’m seeking and consider the source BEFORE I ask for the advice. And if I chose to ask for help, I’m working to pick those who will give me perspective, but are respectful of my boundaries.

Sometimes it causes MORE indecision, not less.

Asking one person for guidance is great, asking two people for advice can help you look at a problem with a fresh set of eyes.

But, asking more than two people? That’s where it gets little tricky. Opinions come to the forefront and conflicting advice can cause even more indecision.

After asking and receiving advice, people sometimes get angry if you choose to not take their advice, as if it’s a reflection on them. (Trust me on this, I’ve been that person 🙁 .)

AND the more conflicting the information, the harder a decision can be,to make. This includes going down a deep dark hole of internet research. Internet advice can be SUPER conflicting, that it’s almost better to not turn to the world wide web for direction.

Right now, I’m learning to limit my choices. To focus on making a decision, as quickly and effectively as I can, with the information that’s already in front of me.

You don’t trust yourself anymore.

Intuition is a beautiful and powerful thing… as long as you trust yourself.

Growing up, intuition was a natural thing that we had ingrained. But along the way to adulthood, we start to lose trust in ourselves. As if our intuition wasn’t enough anymore.

I struggle with this on a daily basis. Relearning to trust myself has been an extremely difficult and continuous journey throughout my twenties and it’s just getting started.

Journaling has been key to relearning myself and my instincts. A nice session of morning pages can help strip away all the other nonsense from outside sources and get to the core of our thoughts and feelings.

And honestly, I suck at being consistent with my journaling. But, whenever I’m setting time aside each day to journal – my days feel less rushed and more intentional. It allows me to hone in to what I’m feeling internally and help me to express it externally.

3 things to do BEFORE asking for advice

STEP ONE: Brain dump all the options and/or the consequences of the decision on a piece of paper. Get it all out of your brain.

STEP TWO: After looking over your option/issues/consequences from the brain dump, think about what advice you would give to your best friend, if they came to you for guidance. Sometimes the harshest critic of them all, is ourselves.

STEP THREE: and finally, TRUST YOUR GUT. Trust yourself enough to make a decision, even if it’s not the “best” or “perfect” decision.

Asking for advice is a tricky business. But don’t allow asking for advice overshadow your gut or intuition.

Do you ask for advice for every decision? Comment below what your process looks like in making decision! I want all the tips & tricks!

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