Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Best Advice I Ever Received

The best advice I ever received came to me well over 25 years ago. At the time I was in my early twenties and I was working at a group home with emotionally disturbed children. The advice came from a coworker and friend who was only slightly older than myself. Because of life experience, she had a great deal of common sense and lot of insight. 

The job at the group home was my first real job after college, and I struggled with it. Working with children--especially children with behavioral problems--meant there was a great need to be authoritative while still being kind. I just wasn't getting it, and it left me frustrated and angry. I asked for advice and took it. Nothing seemed to work for me. 

After six months on the job, I had my first ever job review. It didn't go well. I sat in the cottage at the group home in a bit of a daze, wondering what I was going to do to change things. That's when my friend, Laurie, showed up. She was a terrific residence counselor even though she had not been there quite as long as I had. Being one of thirteen children, she had absolutely no problem dealing with kids or kid problems. She had already helped raise a couple of her younger siblings and was used to chaotic groups.

Laurie could sense that something was wrong and asked about it. I told her about the review. I described how I had been asking for advice and taking it, but nothing seemed to be working for me. She looked at me and said, "Your biggest problem is that you are listening too much to other people's advice. What works for someone else may not necessarily work for you. What does your instinct tell you to do? I admitted I had not considered that before. Laurie told me that I needed to do what "felt" right.

I took the advice to heart. I began listening to my inner voice and doing what it said, and things at worked improved quickly. In fact, within one month, my supervisor who had given me the review said, "I can't believe how much you have improved in your job in such a short time! Keep it up!"

As I look back at that experience, I understand the importance of Laurie's advice. You can imitate the best. You can research and review and experiment with different approaches to life. Some things you try may work. At other times these same things may fall flat. It isn't the method you choose. It's a question of where you get your guidance from. Does it come from a book or another person, or does it come from some deep place of knowing in your heart? 

The answer to that question will determine just how successful you become in your own life. Know that you have all the answers within. Trust the guidance of your heart to make the difference.





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