“Practice what you preach.” I heard those words come out of the mouth of a wife of a preacher…speaking to her husband. My wife put it to me a different way. She said, “You give good advice. You just need to take it.”
I am not sure why it is hard to take my own advice except we all have blind spots. It is a good thing to have someone in your life that will shine the light on the blind spots so we can see them. I am fortunate to have several people in my life that do that freely and frequently.
The older I have become the more open I am to hearing the truth. There was a time when my feelings would get hurt or I would become defensive. The thing is, when someone loves you, they owe it to you to speak the truth, so receive it!
Advice is easy to give and can be hard to take. Here are a few things to think about if you are on the giving or receiving end of advice:
- Don’t give advice on something you know nothing about. The truth always comes out in the end.
- When you give advice, always speak the truth…just remember to speak it in love.
- Be aware that many people don’t want your advice. Ask if it is OK if you are unsure of how they feel. They are more likely to listen if you ask permission.
- Don’t give advice if you are angry. It will come out as sarcasm.
- If someone gives you advice, listen. Just listen without argument and without becoming defensive. They just might have something worth considering.
- Don’t assume you know WHY someone is giving you advice. If you question their motive, ask them.
There are two things to be aware of:
- Some people who give advice are hypocrites. They do not believe what they are saying and will never take their own advice.
- Other people give advice from the school of hard knocks. They are trying to help you avoid the pitfalls they have taken. Listen to THEM. They are open to taking their own advice. They just need help getting there.
Your challenge is to discern between the two. If you get a serious gut-check when someone gives you advice, listen to it. It might keep you from doing the lemming leap off the cliff. You are better off listening to a lemming that leapt…and survived.