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Why Personal Advice from Friends and Family Is Often Biased

post by, VanCityLifeCoach.com

Advice

As a Relationship and Life Coach, guiding others is a job I find incredibly fulfilling and I’m always eager to support my clients. I coach passionately and as a result, what I do has sewn itself into my identity and has become a part of who I am. As this becomes more evident, I’ve noticed more people within my personal network are coming to me for advice, albeit their intention or not.

It’s difficult for me to ‘switch off’ from what I call “Coaching Mode”. I’m often like a child who has discovered something new about themselves and I’m eager to share it with everyone I run into. Therefore it can get difficult leaving “The Coach” behind, when connecting/reconnecting with people within my personal network.

Think about the number of times friends and family have come to you seeking your advice or opinion. Now, for instance, think about the number of times you’ve had to lie or bend the truth in order to protect their feelings.

Before stumbling onto this path, I never had an issue with saying and doing the appropriate thing in order to protect the people I care for from getting hurt. However, what I’ve learnt about myself and other people through my work and professional experiences, the appropriate thing to say and do, isn’t necessarily the right thing to say and do. It’s a fine line that I’ve become weary of in recent years, as I continue to connect with people in my personal network both past and present.

As a coach, I’m hired to give my honest and professional opinion. I’ve been hired for a specific reason and to achieve results, complete, and sometimes brutal honesty is required at all times. As a neutral party, my only concern is the well-being of my client and his/her actual responsibilities. However, in my personal network, whereby I’m emotionally tethered, maintaining neutrality is very difficult. In some circumstances where I’m asked for advice, support, guidance or even just an opinion, I find myself facing the following dilemmas:

Do I, a. Compromise my work and what I know and do well, just to keep those nearby happy and content? Or, b. Advise with complete integrity and run the risk of stirring up conflict within my personal network?

I’ve learnt that the answer to either question often depends on how I’m regarded among those close to me. For instance, to my parents, as their youngest child, I’m still very much the “baby” in their eyes. Fortunately my clients don’t see me that way, otherwise I’d make a terrible coach, however this entire adjustment has made me aware of two prominent biases that arise when advising friends and family. Biases we should all be aware of when seeking or giving advice.

Bias #1: Personal Gain.

Most of us probably won’t admit it, but we run the risk of advising friends and family based on personal gain. Or, to avoid the perception of personal gain and potential blame and conflict, we also run the risk of sharing biased advice.

It’s often difficult to offer an unbiased perspective when we’re personally involved. For example, think about the people in your life today and how convenient it would be for you, if they changed certain aspects of their lives? Changes although convenient for you, could result it disastrous consequences for them.

Personal gain is something to be very aware of with advice you offer or receive, as there are a number of ‘sub-biases’ that can lead to erroneous advice. Biases such as: personal insecurity, strength of relationship, trust and access to multiple connections within the same personal network, are to name a few.

Bias #2: Nondisclosure.

Full disclosure is important when seeking or offering advice. It’s important for the advisor to develop a complete awareness of the problem or dilemma and it’s the responsibility of those being advised, to make the advisor fully aware. Therefore, complete honesty and openness is required in order to understand and to be fully understood.

If you feel restricted or reluctant in any way, then already you’re adding layers of bias to advice. For example, think about asking your parents about relationship advice, but leaving out all the intimate details of your desires, because it feels too inappropriate or awkward to discuss. Again many of the ‘sub-biases’ that arise with personal gain are also relevant here too, especially when sharing advice among an established peer group.

In conclusion, to avoid, or at least limit bias when exchanging advice with friends and family, both parties must learn how to emotionally detach in order to establish mutual understanding. However, keep in mind that you also run the risk of jeopardising the personal connection too, because once something is shared, it cannot be taken back, and you have to rely on and preserve trust in order to maintain the relationship.

Therefore in summary, establish authentic trust before seeking or giving advice and be aware of these prominent biases.

Vancouver Relationship and Life Coach

Relationship Advice

Don’t lose sight of self.

Don’t lose sight of her/him.

If you get lost, work to navigate yourself back to the moment and realisation, to which you felt safe enough and secure enough, to be vulnerable and open with the person you gave your all to.

The world is full of many people who don’t understand you, who simply won’t get your identity and everything you’re about. Are you ready and willing to let go of that one person, a person among billions, who actually saw you and accepts you for who you are?

On the other hand. Relationships, don’t jump in so naively.

Just because the media, society and every other member of influence tells you you’re supposed to, remember:

Only Like If You Have Truly Been Seen,

Only Explore If You Are Madly Interested,

And Only Love When You Are Deeply Accepted.

Otherwise there just isn’t any reason to Do.

Cheesy-90’s-love-song reference aside, learn to be yourself and completely open and honest about who you are and let others learn what you’re about. Otherwise, you’re simply leading your relationships into misery. Give yourself the opportunity to find love blissfully, completely and honestly. Anything less or alike is a mere an imitation or illusion.

Love, genuine love for even merely a moment, is worth much more than a lifetime of hypotheticals and regret. Take it from someone who has lived and lost this infatuation and works with the people entangled by this phenomena for a living:

Vancouver Relationship and Life Coach

Relationships: The Importance of Unveiling Your Past

Separated Yin Yang

Your life up until this point; the identity you live with today, is a collection of your experiences, everything you have learned and traits that you may have inherited. Part of being in a relationship is sharing your life with another, therefore it’s important to share your past with your partner.

For one, knowing that you’ve truly bared all is extremely liberating. Knowing that you have nothing to hide makes for an uncomplicated relationship that’s not only built on trust, but built on honesty too.

These two values are crucial, if you desire the components that make up a powerful partnership that carries on throughout the rest of your life.

Furthermore, knowing that there’s nothing left to uncover, allows you to be easily understood.

When I coach couples, I ask very tough questions in order to expose an honesty that someone perhaps lives with, but has not yet shared. I ask difficult questions because it indicates how well a couple communicate and how well people actually understand each other.

When you share your past with your significant other, you’re sharing information that is essential towards keeping your relationship alive. First of all, your partner won’t be spending their lifetime trying to figure you out, that alone can cause complications and insecurities.

Your past reveals your motivations and it reveals your emotional triggers, so just think about how this information can elevate bliss and happiness within your relationship. Teach your partner about the person you are, educate them on your past so that together you can have a mindful future.

The beautiful thing about letting your past out, is that you let it go. If there is a part of you that you haven’t shared with your significant other, then already you’ve begun to diminish core values. And if there are problems at the very core, the effect is felt at the surface (i.e. you’ll find yourself disagreeing and placing significance over smaller, less important issues, more frequently).

Revealing your past also allows you to remain present.

People always argue that if you reveal too much you leave nothing left to uncover, that there’s an excitement to the mystery. I agree, and that’s great at the very beginning of a relationship…a lot of the excitement when starting something new, comes from discovering new things. However, as you begin to understand each other and connect, excitement generates from exploring life as you move your relationship forward. From the mystery of exploring each other’s potential and embarking on parallel journeys towards self-actualization.

You may fear judgment and loss as a result of the information you share, but the whole point of sharing your life with someone, is that you have someone that accepts your identity completely and vice versa.

Society put’s on a lot of pressure and expects you to live up to certain ideologies: to get married at a certain age, start a family, fill a home with memories and beautiful things that elevate their image of perfection and bliss. This motivation is corrosive to your identity and this pressure may force you down avenues you’re not ready for.

A relationship is about the elevation of spirit; to experience nirvana and to engage you in fulfilling your purpose. You won’t get that until you give yourself completely. All the other things that you progress into (i.e. the home, the family etc.) merely become extensions of a growing relationship, not the definition of one.

Lastly and most importantly, sharing your past allows you to communicate confidently. It lessens the impact of misinterpretation and allows you to remain honest and maintain trust.

Vancouver Relationship and Life Coach

Protecting the Pride: Understanding How Advice Works

Lion

Only when the Lion has evaluated and reflected, will the path he must take become highlighted. Although he may be uncertain, the lessons he carries with him will uphold his identity and keep him protected. Only once he has discovered all that lurks beyond this point, can he invite his pride along to join him.

Our emotions guide the direction of our lives, but recently I have found myself at a crossroad feeling completely numb. When I feel my emotions slipping away I write, because it freely allows me to be completely honest, forcing me to confront any inner or outer conflict.

Although meditation, exercise and being surrounded by passionate and positive people helps, I feel more like me and more free when I write. If I can’t rely on emotion to guide me at this present time, then I need to process what I’m thinking and face my thoughts.

A few opportunities have risen in my life and I feel I’m being pulled in several different directions. I feel that I’ve come to a cross-junction of opportunities and I’m unsure which one will guide me closer to where I want to be in life. Unfortunately, the longer I linger here the less I feel and I fear this numbness will lead me astray, triggering complacency and forcing me to venture down the safest and most predictable route.

Living life having found a reason to actually live is a life worth living. There’s something I’m becoming more and more aware of: it’s that there’s no breaking away from passion. Once we’ve found that thing that fulfills our every particle, it consumes us and we get lost in development as we become more of the person we’re supposed to be. We become so sure of ourselves that in this self-assurance we forget that our journey always has a new beginning; that life and progress is never limited to just one route.

Before I used to just write The Lion’s Life, now I’m becoming it. I find myself wondering where an advisor goes for advice. I’m feeling stranded at this crossroad because I’m unguided, yet I am unafraid and completely aware. To guide myself I must be completely honest with myself and externalizing this honesty is giving me insight as to why I’m feeling this way.

As a coach, consultant, advisor or whatever title I’m given when guiding others, I feel nothing but passion. I’m assertive, expressive and in my element when engaging others. I don’t do it for any sort of self-assurance either, I continue on because it feels easy, because it feels natural.

In one way or another, every interaction and connection I make with people tends to lead to coaching, I find myself blissfully on duty. It’s the best addiction I’ve ever experienced and the fulfillment I receive knows no bounds. Every beam of hope or jolt of passion I see people experiencing; seeing their identities unfold and ignite makes my life worth living.

As I’m working on this post, it’s helping me realize that potential remains uncapped if we continue to experience these crossroads in life. The emotional numbness we experience is the result of feeling like we’ve exhausted our current abilities and life begins to lose its challenge. We’ve reached this point because it’s time to progress and we’re required to venture into new territory. This threatens to our affirmed identities which is why it is so easy to linger.

It’s these moments we must learn to become honest and seek guidance in order to grow and continue onward towards self-actualization. It’s about improvement and becoming better in every possible way.

I don’t want to be another advisor spitting out the same advice over and over again even though it’s easy to hold onto this peak. There’s coming a point where a lot of those I work with are becoming more affirmed, they’ll need a coach that grows with them, not someone who can only guide them so far.

I sometimes forget, all advisors need advice, all teachers need to be taught and all Gurus still need to experience.

Vancouver Relationship and Life Coach

Ingredients Required In the Recipe for Success

help

I get calls, texts, emails and tweets on a regular basis now; from people needing advice, seeking guidance or just a friend to talk to about their troubles. I love it – I get to impact people’s lives in a positive way and make my contribution to society – it’s what I’ve always wanted to do with my life and I’m most proud of this outcome over anything else I’ve accomplished so far.

My book should be completed soon and my goals are set on impacting lives positively on a bigger scale. I’m focused on achieving my goals and succeeding because I refuse to contribute to negative energy.

I’ve realized that with everything I do, I’ll do what it takes to remain on the positive side of life, because negativity just blurs the vision I have of it. That dream I want to build requires my full attention and negativity distracts me from that.

Negativity is an energy that is nurtured through negative actions/responses – rage, gossip, stress, corruption, sabotage, complaining, blaming, arguing, anger, hate… This list could go on for quite a while but you’ll begin to understand that the more negative elements you allow yourself to be consumed by, the more likely things in life will not go your way. Not because the universe works that way, but rather your mind is clouded by these negative intrusions and because you won’t feel like yourself.

How are you supposed to navigate your life in a positive and more fulfilled direction if you allow negativity to infiltrate your life and, if I’m brutally honest, insult your intelligence and disguise who you really are?

If you want life to work out the way you want it to, then fill it up with positive actions/responses. Not because of the cosmic reward that we refer to as good Karma and not because the universe will pay you back. Just do it so your mind remains clear, focused and open – these are the ingredients required in the recipe for success because they allow your identity to shine through!

If you don’t believe me, I challenge you to only have a positive outlook on life for one week and counteract anything negative. Notice how much control you’ll gain over your life and how much clearer and focused your mind becomes. If you need tips feel free to email me at terry@thelionslifeblog.com alternatively get in touch via my “Need Advice?” page.

Let today be the day your life turns around for the better!

Vancouver Relationship and Life Coach

Moving from One Goal to the Next: Relinquishing Doubt

Goals

There’s a lot of material out there that talks about setting goals and aiming high, even my blog carries this re-occurring theme. This time, I wanted to write to those that are on the verge of hitting a goal, as I am on the verge of accomplishing one of mine.

Like many goal oriented people, we become solely focused on accomplishing the task at hand and just like the time that seems to escape us, our emotions do too.

I’m close to finishing my very first book. I’m becoming to get a little nervous now, because all my spare time was dedicated to writing; my focus was set on getting it finished, that very little thought went into what would happen when I did. Now I’m near the end, I find myself processing all those emotions and thoughts that got buried under my work.

I’m thinking about all those times I said no to going out with friends in order to complete another chapter and all those times I was up late writing and struggled to stroll into work the next day. The outcome of my efforts need to make those compromises worth it, it’s quite intimidating!

These feelings began to overwhelm me and I felt like I would regress to self-doubt.

The decisions I had made, the commitment and dedication I gave to this project were pulled back into debate. I turned down job opportunities, I literally had people waiting for me to submit resumes and I never did. All of these decisions are hitting me now because I chose stick by my aspirations over taking a safer route.

So I did what I always do when I get these feelings of anxiety, I looked back at all my previous accomplishments. Moments in my life when I was at my lowest and moments of greatness. As I reflected I realized these feelings had occurred before; when I quit my job to move abroad, my very first day at university, the time I explored new cities on my own and even the day I started this very blog. I’ve had a lifetime of experiences to remind me that these feelings are completely normal and I remember why.

I reiterate, fear is a reaction to the lack of control and nobody can control how life is going to work out, but everyone can control what they do with it. I don’t know where my book is going to take me, but I learned that every experience has always led me somewhere and I grew stronger from every experience. The value is: I learned more about myself, the things I am capable of and what I can accomplish if I stay focused and true to my aspirations.

Over the past six years I went from being lost with low self-esteem to self-actualized and confident and I did this by taking full control of every step I made. The day I decided to follow my own passions I was freed from the burden of any expectation and pressure to “settle.” The message is: I have this one life to live right now and I’m not going to waste it by not trying.

Furthermore, this is where surrounding yourself with the right people and always discussing openly about your aspirations pay off.

I tend to become a recluse when I write, but when I am socializing, who I am and what I’m working towards becomes evident right after the question “so what do you do?” Recently I connected with some people who I hadn’t spoken to since earlier this year and the majority of them asked me how my book was doing. It was in that moment, a flood of positive energy seized any doubt that I was feeling, because someone held up a mirror and showed me that I can put my mind to anything and accomplish it.

Whichever direction the book goes, I know for certain that I have the ability to write one. The things I’ve learned, the process and what I’ve been through probably mean more to me right now than the final outcome. I’ve learned that no matter what the outcome is, I have the ability to start something and follow it through to the end, teaching me that I can start absolutely anything I want and so can you!

Even though I started off not knowing how to do it, I got it done! So take it from me, be whoever you want to be, tell the world about it and embark on your journey, dedicate your life to your aspirations and free yourself. Doubt may creep up from time to time but on that day you’re forced to look back on your life, I promise you nothing will fill you up with more pride and fulfillment than your accomplished goals.

Whatever the outcome, I’ve already set the next goal to get my book published, so I will make it happen one way or another. This goal that I’m about to complete will highlight the things I need to do to achieve the next and with each goal accomplished, I’m that much closer to my dream.

Vancouver Relationship and Life Coach