Every once in a while, Life gets to a point where it just becomes totally overwhelming. It gets to a point where you just don't have the answers that everyone expects you to have; you just can't figure it out.
So what do you do?
Well, many of us will go inside ourselves. That's a good thing to do. It's important to sit with yourself, in the silence, and really listen to what your hear or soul is telling you. And sometimes that works. I've been readying lately that self-awareness needs to be foundational to our education (check out Education and the Significance of Life by Krishnamurti) and that "to understand life is to understand ourselves, and that is both the beginning and the end of education.
But sometimes it's not enough. Sometimes we need the advice and opinions of others. Sometimes we need to hear it from someone else to make it real.
But where do you find those people? Where do you find the people around you who can, with the best of intention, give you the advice that you need when you need it? What happens when we get too much advice? What happens when one person's opinion conflicts with another's?
That in itself becomes the challenge: to find the right people to provide you with advice but at the same time, know yourself well enough to know what advice and opinion will fit with who you are.
Here are a few things I've learned over the years of finding mentors and on taking advice:
1. There will come a point when you need to stop taking advice and just take action - This was something that I learned during my first year out of University and into my first job. I found myself in a place that I didn't want to be and was looking to everyone else around me to provide me with the answers. I got a lot of really good advice from the good people around me. But I took it all. Some of it conflicted and I found myself more confused than focused. I got to a point where I realized that I needed to stop asking advice and start taking action.
2. Find both male and female mentors - they offer unique perspective on all kinds of challenges you might be facing: careers, happiness, relationships, and personal development (just to name a few)
3. Don't just go to your friends and family for advice - Sure, there always going to be there for you. But, most of the time, they're going to tell you exactly what you want to hear and not always going to tell you what you need to hear. The best mentors I've been fortunate enough to have have cared about me but were also more than willing to hurt my feelings to get me to fully understand the truth of something. I'm grateful for that. Find mentors in your life who will hold you accountable to the things you say, challenge you, and tell you the hard truths.
4. Connect with your mentors in person or over video as much as possible (not just on the phone)- I'm sure there's science behind this. Having that face-to-face interaction creates a stronger connection and greater accountability. Not everything can be said with words.
5. Kick yourself in the butt when you stop asking other people for advice or help -It happens. There will come a time when you stop going to your mentors or asking for advice because you think you've finally got it all together. Maybe that's true. Right on. But chances are it will come unravelled again. Keep those relationships warm so that you're not just reaching out to your mentors when you need something but that you're also connecting with them when you having something to give.
Live the Questions,
Every once in a while you read something at the exact time that you need to read it. Today was one of those days. It was the exact thing I needed to read to remind myself that Life is a delicious and exhilarating adventure, even when things seem difficult - especially when things seem difficult.
Live the Questions,
Matt Tod is an international speaker, leadership facilitator, writer and lover of all things Zombie-related.