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Getting Advice: Whose counsel should you seek?

Inspirational Writer and EVP, Content & Business Development, First Media Tbk.

3 things to think about before soliciting advice.

We all want to excel in every area of our lives. We want to be successful in our careers, we want to have a beautiful relationship with our loved ones, live a very healthy life and afford all the luxuries money can buy. Every step we take during our journey and every advice we listen to either takes us one step closer to our goal or away from it.

When we need some guidance, we instinctively turn to our loved ones – family and friends, colleagues and sometimes mentors. Yet we never use our wisdom to ask ourselves, “Are they the best people to advice us on this matter? Do we aspire to be like them?

How do we know who to turn to when we need advice? Whose guidance and counsel should we seek?

Here are some thoughts to ponder on before you seek guidance from others.

Well Intended People doesn't equate to Well Qualified People.

Our families are the first people we turn to when we are at a crossroad. They know us well, they have our best interest at heart and they want to see us happy. Does that essentially mean that their advice is the right one?

When I first came back to Indonesia 12 years ago, after having studied and worked overseas for 20 years, I had to start my career from scratch. I didn't know many people in the professional field. In a country like Indonesia, where trust and personal relationships are of utmost importance, I knew I had to work hard to develop such relationships.

My qualifications and experience were highly regarded and sought after by most companies. However, being a native worked against me. I was offered a number of jobs but the package offered was less than 50% of what my expat counterparts were making (without even taking housing or other benefits into consideration). I turned to my family and the handful of friends I had at that time for advice. Most, if not all, told me to “accept” that this is how it is. They advised me to take the job and work my way up. Despite hearing the majority of them give me the same advice, I knew that just because things were a certain way didn't mean I had to accept it. If my starting point was way off base, then it would take me decades to work to the place where I should have first started.

Wisdom prevailed and even though it meant that I had to wait a while longer and turn down opportunities along the way, it was only a matter of time until the right opportunities came about.

There were a few companies that saw the value I offered and they didn't treat me any differently on the basis of my nationality.

Make Informed Decisions.

We live in a technologically advanced digital era, where all information known to mankind is readily available at our fingertips. Important decisions shouldn’t be rushed or made solely based on conversations with others. We need to take responsibility to make informed decisions.

It bewilders me to see how many successful, intelligent and well-educated people still make big decisions today based on impulse or social pressures. Decisions on topics such as, “Who I should marry?”, “Should I take the job overseas?”, “Is this the right investment” are made every day and most of these decisions are made based on “feeling”.

Take investments for example. When we hear of someone we know who made an investment and is “doing well”, some of us jump on to the bandwagon without understanding the nature and volatility of such investments. We don't take time to find out if that person has the requisite expertise and hence is doing well, whether there are others who made the same investment and lost money, what the nature of the investment is and whether the investment indeed has a potential gain. Instead, some of us make investment decisions based on impulse.

Why do we take important decisions lightly? What works for some people may not necessarily work for us.

We need to take responsibility to educate and empower ourselves. As the age-old saying goes, “Information is Power”. Aside from talking to the right people in the industry, seek out mentors, read books on that specific topic, take online courses and do your research.

In this day and age, with so much information readily available to us, ignorance can never be an excuse.

Use Your Wisdom.

If your best friend was in dire need of some advice, imagine him/her walking into a room (where you are present) and asking other friends for advice without asking you. This friend knows that you have the expertise in that field, has a very high regard for you but for some reason didn't feel the need to ask you. How would that make you feel? You definitely wouldn’t have done that to him/her! Right?

When we don't like being ignored by our best friend, why then do we undermine ourselves and our ability to make the right decision?

We are much more powerful than we allow ourselves to believe. Within us resides the wisdom, the intuition, the answers.

By all means seek counsel of the wise, talk to mentors, experts and loved ones, read and acquire all the knowledge and information you need, but also trust your own judgement and ability to make the right decision.

Over time I have learned that most of us know what the answer is and what decision to make, we just don't spend enough time to ask or listen to our innermost being.

What helps me at critical moments is to sit in peace and tranquillity and ask myself, “What do I want? What path should I take? What should I do?”

More often than not, I get the answer I am seeking.

Ask yourself and take time to listen to YOU.

If YOU don't take YOU seriously, why will anyone else?

Meena is also an inspirational writer and her quotes and writing can be found on facebook and Instagram (account name : “Strong and Shine”) - www.strongandshine.com

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