When someone comes to us with a problem, how often do we jump to give advice?
Even if the person says they want us to tell them what to do, is that the best way for us to help them?
Are we giving advice so we feel smart, or helpful, or maybe to get the conversation over with so we can get to something else? Is our giving advice about how we want to feel about ourselves, or about our own agenda?
Are we giving advice because they asked us to and we want to be a good friend, boss, or sibling?
Do you notice how all of the motivations in the last two sentences are about ourselves, not about the other person?
What if instead of giving advice, we gave time and attention? What if we asked questions? What if we simply shared what we see, feel, and sense without trying to influence them? Just shining a light another perspective that they may not have realized?
Holding an agenda-less space with someone isn’t easy. It takes discipline and practice to quiet our own ego and not tell the other person what to do. But there is magic in creating the conditions for the other person to come to their own insights, and their own conclusion about the best next step.
Because when the person can own what they see and feel as coming from themselves and not from someone else, they can own their actions as well. And motivation to action that comes from inside ourselves is the most lasting and resilient motivation of all.31 July 2022