My dad was a very straight forward kind of person; yet not one to give his opinion unless asked. It was pretty well known that if you wanted to know what he thought you had to ask yet be prepared because he was going to tell you.
He was honest without being disrespectful. His thought was if you asked then he would tell you what he thought, not what you wanted to hear. That did not always work out for a teenage girl; yet as a grown woman I can certainly appreciate it now.
I try to live by his standards in being tactful; sometimes I miss the mark a bit. But the one thing I am in honest. When a client asks me a question or advice it is my responsibility to be honest with them; not just tell them but explain in order that they understand and can use the information for their greatest good.
Sometimes people don’t like it. Because I don’t tell them what they want to hear. That’s when you shouldn’t ask someone.
If you are not prepared to hear the complete opposite of what you have your mind set to than don’t ask. Because you really didn’t want to know in the first place, you just wanted validation. There is a big difference.
There is only one person I will ask anything of and that is my best friend. Because she is not about validation, she is about honesty. Sometimes I don’t like it but I appreciate it coming from her because I know it is meant with love, honestly and never in a negative manner.
There are times I will ask her something, hear her answer and tell her that I think it sucks. She just smiles and says, “I know.” It is what it is.
When I want validation – I ask my dogs. They always agree with me. I always get complete validation and it is awesome. Not always helpful, but awesome. They don’t give the greatest career or love life advice, but they do always agree with my line of thinking even if it is complete stupidity.
Often times I will overhear conversations or read articles about career or job advice. I literally have to bite my tongue not to interject because I remind myself I am overhearing or reading something and no one asked my opinion.
But all I can think of is, “yeah, my dog would give the same advice.” Because my dog has the same level of understanding, empathy or expertise as the person spewing the advice.
You know you are getting dog advice when it agrees 100% completely with what you are thinking but even in the back of your own mind that little voice is telling you, “This isn’t really right.” You are just looking for validation. Stop it.
Have the courage to ask the one person that will be upfront and straight with you – even if they don’t agree with you. You deserve to have a different perspective to change something, even something little, to make a positive difference.
I will admit there are crappy days that my main counsel of advice givers is the dogs. The day sucks, I want to feel better and I want someone to tell me I am right even if I am not. I’m mature that way. The day will end, I will grow up at the end and the next day I will actually face the issue and my own actions. So I get it.
But the point is you cannot have those days day after day when job searching, business building or going after a goal. If you want it go after it. If you are struggling then identify who that person is that will tell you the people advice and listen. You may be too close to the forest for the trees, or however that saying goes.
Let’s be honest, at the end of the day my dogs want three things: food, treats and a comfy place to sleep all day. They aren’t truly vested in my career or love life – unless those two things have a negative impact on the big three.
I don’t like hearing I am wrong and that is when my best friend said something very powerful: “You aren’t wrong, just off track a little. As long as you are moving forward it isn’t wrong, maybe a little misguided….”
Don’t take the advice as a negative. You may just need to adjust your sails a bit, but you can’t do that unless you get a true perspective of what is going on and that is when you need more than validation.
Be brave and ask, then be braver and listen.
Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW
Certified Professional Resume Writer
Career Polish, Inc.