Monday’s Meditation: On Being The Best Adviser
I was with my sister and my cousin, catching up, as we hadn’t been together in a year or so.
“Your skin looks so good, Annie!” they kept saying.
I was elated at the news–who doesn’t like to receive complementary feedback on one’s skin?
“Really?!” My voice raised at least three octaves. “I think it must be this face mask I’ve started using twice a week, you should really start using it. I’ll give you some to try while we’re-”
My cousin, whom I love for many reasons, not the least of which is her tendency to speak without the slightest nod to a censor cut in.
“Do you ever notice how people always wanna tell you about their one miracle product? Like whatever they find that works they think is the only thing out there of its kind, and they force you into trying it?”
Right. She was so right. How many times had I been on the receiving end of such a scenario, myself? And how often, among those instances, had the recommendations people had given me felt overbearing and obligatory?
Sure, in this case it was just a face mask. A harmless skin product. But that didn’t matter. The mask could have easily been a development book or course, a business professional, a clothing company–anything that people experience firsthand, find success with, and subsequently, and with the best of intentions, wish to pass on to others.
The inclination to do so originates from a place of love, naturally. Out of a desire to see the people we care about prosper. And since we can’t very well sing the praises of a foreign entity, our suggestions are usually that people prosper by utilizing the exact methods we have. But if we really care, we must give thought to our role of adviser.
The best adviser is conscious of when people are expressly requesting personal recommendations, and when they aren’t. She bites her tongue, or, at the very least, asks for permission before doling out unsolicited recommendations.
The best advisor is motivated not by a desire to convert others to her personal success routes, but by the knowledge of how finding such routes have enhanced her life, and wishing for others to experience that same outcome, regardless of the path one takes towards it.
The best adviser makes recommendations without attachment to their outcome. She offers general, rather than specific suggestions, acknowledging that the specific course of action she chose may not be the optimal selection for another.
The best adviser recognizes that no pushy testimonial can surpass the power of being a living example.
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