Earn the right to give advice: #Blog4Biz Day 18

The Living BRAVE blog re-launches on Aug 1, 2013. To celebrate, I am giving away a $50 gift card to Target. I call it the "BRAVE-ly Back at it" Giveaway. It starts August 1 and runs through August 8, 2013. Click here for the official rules.
There are two types of advice. (Ok…so there may be more than two types but for the sake of this story…let’s go with two.) There is advice we need to hear and advice we want to hear.

The advice we want to hear may come from that good friend who agrees with us that we have been wronged and tells us all the fun ways we can and should retaliate. We want to hear that because it gives legs to the desire already in our heart. It validates us.

The advice we don’t want to hear may come from a mentor who won’t allow us to wallow in self-pity. It sternly tells us what we need to do. We don’t want to hear that kind of advice because even though deep down we know it to be true, we aren’t ready to receive it.

There is value in both of these types of advice. Yet, it's the right combination of both causes us to grow.

I get career/business advice from one of my best friends.  I call her my sister from another mister just because best friend doesn’t quite capture the depth of our relationship.  She and I met my sophomore year in college. She was busy preparing to become pre-med and I had just settled into my latest Communication class sure that it would eventually become my major.

Over the course of the next 3 years we forged our bond. We tested the nature of our friendship and reaped the rewards of extending mutual trust. Through these times she has earned the right to speak truth in my life. In fact, I want her need her to always be honest with me. It is an expectation of everyone I consider to be a friend. 

When it came to her career, she always seemed to have a clear path about what she was doing and where she wanted to go.  She is published, accomplished, and well connected. I couldn’t be more proud of her. She has had experiences that I haven’t. She has this uncanny ability to take any snatch me out of any self-pity and whining sessions. I don’t always agree with her method but the truth she speaks is still…well…the truth. 

You have to earn the right to speak into someone’s life.  

Earning that right implies two things. 

1. You have to work for it. 

It doesn't come free. You work for it with your words and your actions. If trust is a bank, the only valid deposits occur when your words and your actions are perfectly congruent. Saying one thing and doing another will never earn you the right to speak. We have to conduct ourselves in a way that causes the receiver to invite our words in their heart for a  good long visit.  

2. You aren't in charge of when you‘ve done enough. 

This is the part we don’t like. The speaker is not in the driver’s seat in this case. The receiver is. The receiver decides when you have made enough valid deposits in the bank. You can browbeat and try to convince them to listen. But ultimately, the decision to allow your words to come in for a cup of tea is up to them.  

Does this mean you have to tip toe around people sugar coating everything? Or do we have to say it pretty or perfect every time? No! But we must be consistent.

For over a decade, I watched as my friend interacted me and with others. I’ve tested her with small fragments of my heart to see what she would do with them. She acted consistently. She cared for others and for me. So when I ask her for advice, I know I am going to get a nugget of truth that will change my point of view. I also know I am getting support and encouragement. You need both to grow.

Do you have people in your life who will tell you the truth even when you don’t want to hear it? Tell me about them. How have they helped you grow?

Word Count 682

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