Advice: To coin flip or not to coin flip

Do you, like me, get asked for advice a lot? And do you, like me, sometimes cringe when you give your advice and immediately you watch the asker(s) go off and do the exact opposite of what you advised them to do. For years, I’ve cringed when I have witnessed this behavior. And recently, I’ve learned to let my reaction ago. Why, you ask? Well, it’s because I want to be helpful when giving advice. And I have felt the opposite of helpful when I’ve given it and then watched the person spin a 180 and go off in a totally different direction.

However, I’ve realized that just the giving of the advice can be extremely helpful regardless of whether or not the person takes it. And I’ve had to get my own ego out of the way so I wasn’t so invested in the person taking my advice (tough one for me since I’ve worked as a life coach for many years and got accustomed to people taking my advice both to heart and to the letter).

Sometimes and even often, people ask for your advice/comments on something not because they will take that advice or those comments to heart, but more because they want to clarify for themselves exactly what they do or don’t want.

To me, it’s kind of like flipping a coin when you are trying to decide “yes” or “no” about something. Next time you want to do/buy/see/go to something and you need to decide whether or not to do it, take a coin, decide, heads=yes and tails=no and then flip. What do you feel immediately upon looking at the coin. Is it satisfaction and excitement? If so, then by all means, do what the coin flip suggested. Is it instead a sharp pang (no matter how small) of disappointment? Well, then go do the opposite of what the coin flip suggested.

We all already know what we want to do. Sometimes, we know it secretly, in our heart of hearts and we are too afraid to reach for it, to decide it, or to do it. So, we sort of have to remove ourselves from the equation and we instead leave it up to fate to decide for us. But you know what? The coin flip doesn’t decide a thing. All it does is clarify for us exactly what we want if we stop and gauge our own reaction to the result.

Once we know and acknowledge that instantaneous reaction, we can move forward with the knowledge that we are doing what we really want to do with clarity of vision, purpose, and heart.

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