Tuesday, June 09, 2015

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I hear what you're saying ... but I just can't relate ...

I know hear what you're saying, but I just can’t relate …
This is something I have experienced many times in my life. I have wanted to learn something, or have asked for advice on something from someone who had succeeded where I had not … and then something very uncomfortable would happen - they would ‘answer’ me. Very, very often, the advice they gave me - although undoubtedly good advice - was advice that I just couldn’t relate to. And the reason I couldn’t relate was because they were usually advising me from a place that was so far removed from my own experience that I just couldn’t relate.
Imagine this - a rock-climber telling you what to do from a place twenty or thirty ‘moves’ away from your current position. Difficult - frustratingly so! 

Really great instruction requires that the person offering it has the ability to climb back down the ladder to within one or two rungs of where their student is, and advise from there. It’s one thing to make small adjustments to improve our position/situation/performance - but another entirely, to relate to ‘giant leaps’ or paradigm shifts in behaviour or thinking - even if those things are eventually exactly what we need to do. So when asking for advice - ask for incremental improvements (1st steps) not paradigm shifts - when offering advice, offer incremental steps and not paradigm leaps. Of course, this in itself, is a advice - JBW

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