This is part of my lessons learned series
Have you ever tried to wake someone up from a deep sleep? What has their reaction been? I know when I have tried to do it, they typically get really upset or they end up falling back asleep.
When it comes to giving advice I’ve learned a lot through mistakes, giving it to those who were not really seeking it. What I have learned is that people ultimately make their own decisions regardless of what you say. And it is really unfair for anyone to take credit for advice giving, unless they have actually made the decision themselves.
Having been an instructor and facilitator, I enjoy teaching very much and with teaching comes along telling stories to get the point across. What I have learned through teaching is that the only thing I can really do is share my story and let people take what they will. I can ask a person why they are making the decision they are making or why they continue to do what they do. I ask why of people because the only one with the answer are them. The five whys are often top of mind when I am looking to resolve an issue.
Students have asked me to coffee to ask me advice about how to pursue the field of user experience. I first tell them that I can only speak from my own experience and that they need to find their own path based on their unique talents. My ‘advice’ comes in the form of telling my story of how I was able to transition careers and how I was able to leverage my past experiences to get where I am today.
There is a line I like to use now before sharing my story when people ask me for advice and that is, ‘if any good comes from what I say, you did it and if any harm comes from what I say, you did it.’ I cannot take credit for that line, it came from Father Anthony De Mello.
Storytelling is my way of giving ‘advice’ these days. I am happy to share my opinion about things with people and at the end of the day, people will find their own way regardless of what advice they are given. It’s best to let people wake up on their own.