There was something about 2012 that made me dispense a lot of advice.
I think a lot of it stemmed from this blog. I advised about a dozen people last year on how to start/write/sustain a blog. Add in another dozen for relationship or online dating advice, and maybe half a dozen for advice on writing a novel. Then came the Kickstarter success, and with it a slew of more advice.
Let me make it clear: I’m not complaining. I love giving advice. In fact, I think I might be a little addicted to giving advice.
In most of those examples above, people came to me asking for my advice, and I was happy to give it. But in recent months I’ve been acutely aware of the amount of unsolicited advice I give. That’s the type I’m worried about.
It’s a two-part worry: First, not everyone wants my advice, or any advice for that matter. I need to respect that. Second, if my default mode in any conversation is to take what the person is saying and advise them, then I’m not engaging that person in the most healthy, loving way I can. I’m making the conversation about me and my knowledge instead of them and their needs and wants. And that’s not fair, especially not to people I care about.
I have a bunch of quantitative goals every year that I track on a weekly basis. But every year I like to have a more subjective goal, a resolution to improve who I am as a person. As I enter my 32nd year today, my goal is to stop giving unsolicited advice. Period. If someone wants my advice…well, I think everyone knows at this point that I’m happy to give it. I really am. But from now on I’ll only give advice that people clearly want instead of when I think they want it.
That said, I’ll continue to give advice freely on this blog as long as it fits the goal of the blog: to generate conversation. I guess it’s technically unsolicited, but you have the choice to read the blog every day. I hope you’ll continue to make that choice, and as long as you keep showing up, I’ll keep writing my thoughts, ideas, stories, questions, excitements, and advisements here.
Do you make subjective goals to improve yourself? If so, feel free to share in the comments. I promise not to give you advice on them.