Consulting Others

Posted on March 26, 2012


Your personal trainer probably knows the best exercises for your triceps. Your financial advisor can most likely give you some solid guidance on how to increase the worth of your portfolio. The landscaping company you’ve hired trims the trees much better than you ever could. 

But does your sister really know your life’s purpose? Can your coworker advise you on the best decision to take for your career? Can your single friends be trusted to give you good advice on how to improve your marriage?

Successful Change Agents know that when they are making decisions about something important, it’s best to consult those who have the training, knowledge and expertise to adequately help them. They seek out constructive feedback from those they trust. They also are wise enough to disregard advice that doesn’t feel right, even if it comes from an “expert.” 

Too often, women are more than happy to accept negative feedback or advice from others without considering the source. Because we are conditioned to consistently gauge our self-worth by our relationships, if someone tells us something negative about ourselves, we oftentimes just accept it. So many times people will offer their two cents out of their own projected fears and insecurities. When you accept what these people say as truth, rather than seeing their advice for what it is, you are limiting yourself and your potential. 

One of my favorite career coaches, Lois Frankel, offers this advice to her clients (and it’s so good I wanted to share it with you): If someone offers you unsolicited feedback, make sure you analyze the person’s intentions before just accepting it as true. 

I’m not talking about the times when you sit down with someone and ask for some constructive feedback to help you improve-that’s definitely something Successful Change Agents do. I’m talking about the times when others come up to you and tell you what you should be doing or wearing or seeing or whatever. You should not automatically accept the opinions of others as truth.

I’m glad I found Frankel’s advice before I became a mother. Nothing inspires unsolicited feedback from others like having a baby. From the well-intentioned to the absurd, from experienced mothers to women without children, I’ve heard more than my fair share of child-rearing and parenting advice (and my son’s not even 5 months old!). 

Lucky for me, I’ve spent years practicing with my Body’s Compass. So much in fact, that as soon as someone tells me what I should or should not be doing, as soon as that unsolicited feedback comes rolling in, I automatically check in with myself to see how it resonates. It takes a bit of practice, but once you learn how to access your Body’s Compass, you won’t need others to tell you who you are. You’ll already know.