Often when we offer advice to other people, the solution seems to be so obvious to us; we cannot understand why they aren’t doing it in the first place. And then, after we tell them exactly what to do, they are still stressing about the situation. “Why did I even bother to give any advice?” we ask of ourselves then.
I want to answer that question with a question…..”Do you practice what you preach?” Why is it then that we often battle to solve our own problems?
Do You Practice What You Preach?
So I want to ask you the same question; “Do you practice what you preach?” To be honest, it brought me to the realization that it is easy to give advice to other people, but it is not always so easy to practice what you preach.
Just a few days ago, I was having a conversation with my daughter when I wanted to make a statement about some new habits I’m working on in time management. As I wanted to make the statement, the thought came into my mind; “is this really what I do, or am I trying to convince myself by saying it?”
We are often taught about the value of positive affirmations, but I have come to the conclusion that we first need to believe what we are going to say. We need to be convinced in our hearts that it is a fact.
So it all starts with a thought. Then we need to be convinced about it and believe it. Then we spontaneously start speaking words in line with what we believe, which give confirmation to what we believe, and this is when it becomes powerful. When I make these statements without the appropriate actions, it becomes empty words, and I even have to keep forcing myself to do them.
I’ve come to the same conclusion when giving advice to others. I know exactly what should be done, and how the situation should be handled. But when I am facing a similar situation personally, suddenly there is an element of doubt. What if it doesn’t work? Think about all the consequences…..everything that might go wrong. Yes, when it hits home, it suddenly isn’t all that easy.
Look at It from the Other Person’s Point Of View
This morning I have asked myself that same question once again. I have just told my wife “exactly what to do” regarding a very stressful situation she was dealing with at work. Yes, she listened to what I had to say, and she even admitted and agreed that I am right. “So why is she still so stressed about it?” I wanted to know. I told her exactly what to do, what to say, and what her attitude should be towards the whole situation. “Why can’t she just do it, stop stressing and carry on with life?”
In my mind, the problem was settled and I refused to be stressed about it. Yet, during the course of the morning, I started wondering how she is dealing with the situation. And that is when it hit me right between the eyes. My wife doesn’t deal with confrontation the same way I do. Even though I would have done exactly what I recommended to her in this situation, it will never be easy for her to do. My wife has a very helpful and friendly personality and she battles to handle confrontation. I should have been more supportive and understanding.
Just yesterday, I have read an excellent blog post written by Marcel Garraghan titled “Look at Things from the Other Person’s Point of View”. How could I have missed it?
You Can Miss the Point In More Ways Than One
I came to the conclusion that there are at least three possibilities where you can totally miss the point.
- You can be so preoccupied with your own activities, that you didn’t pay attention to what the other person was saying, and the advice you gave totally missed the point anyhow. This means that you were not paying attention and failed to see the problem from the other person’s point of view, which will actually make your advice just about useless.
- The advice you gave was good and you offered the right solution. But what you failed to do is once again to see it from the other person’s point of view. This is what happened in my situation. My lack of understanding why my wife was still stressed about the situation. I wasn’t personally involved. To me, the answer was simple. What I didn’t consider, was that my wife still had to physically face the situation, which in this case was an extremely difficult and unreasonable customer.
- It is easy to give advice and tell someone else what to do. But you fail to stay in touch with reality because you are not personally involved. When facing that same situation personally, feeling the emotions and threats that are going along with it, it suddenly becomes a totally different experience.
Start Leading By Example.
After thinking this over, I am left with this conclusion and it goes for anybody, including myself. I don’t care what you say or what you say you believe. I will look at your actions, and then I will tell you what you believe. Action speaks louder than words. If we can start leading by example, maybe people wouldn’t have to ask us for advice. They would know what we would do because of our actions. When we do give advice, it will carry so much more weight, because everybody will know that it is backed by our actions.
Do you practice what you preach? Let me know by leaving a comment below. I look forward to hear from you.