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Why Personal Advice from Friends and Family Is Often Biased

post by, VanCityLifeCoach.com

Advice

As a Relationship and Life Coach, guiding others is a job I find incredibly fulfilling and I’m always eager to support my clients. I coach passionately and as a result, what I do has sewn itself into my identity and has become a part of who I am. As this becomes more evident, I’ve noticed more people within my personal network are coming to me for advice, albeit their intention or not.

It’s difficult for me to ‘switch off’ from what I call “Coaching Mode”. I’m often like a child who has discovered something new about themselves and I’m eager to share it with everyone I run into. Therefore it can get difficult leaving “The Coach” behind, when connecting/reconnecting with people within my personal network.

Think about the number of times friends and family have come to you seeking your advice or opinion. Now, for instance, think about the number of times you’ve had to lie or bend the truth in order to protect their feelings.

Before stumbling onto this path, I never had an issue with saying and doing the appropriate thing in order to protect the people I care for from getting hurt. However, what I’ve learnt about myself and other people through my work and professional experiences, the appropriate thing to say and do, isn’t necessarily the right thing to say and do. It’s a fine line that I’ve become weary of in recent years, as I continue to connect with people in my personal network both past and present.

As a coach, I’m hired to give my honest and professional opinion. I’ve been hired for a specific reason and to achieve results, complete, and sometimes brutal honesty is required at all times. As a neutral party, my only concern is the well-being of my client and his/her actual responsibilities. However, in my personal network, whereby I’m emotionally tethered, maintaining neutrality is very difficult. In some circumstances where I’m asked for advice, support, guidance or even just an opinion, I find myself facing the following dilemmas:

Do I, a. Compromise my work and what I know and do well, just to keep those nearby happy and content? Or, b. Advise with complete integrity and run the risk of stirring up conflict within my personal network?

I’ve learnt that the answer to either question often depends on how I’m regarded among those close to me. For instance, to my parents, as their youngest child, I’m still very much the “baby” in their eyes. Fortunately my clients don’t see me that way, otherwise I’d make a terrible coach, however this entire adjustment has made me aware of two prominent biases that arise when advising friends and family. Biases we should all be aware of when seeking or giving advice.

Bias #1: Personal Gain.

Most of us probably won’t admit it, but we run the risk of advising friends and family based on personal gain. Or, to avoid the perception of personal gain and potential blame and conflict, we also run the risk of sharing biased advice.

It’s often difficult to offer an unbiased perspective when we’re personally involved. For example, think about the people in your life today and how convenient it would be for you, if they changed certain aspects of their lives? Changes although convenient for you, could result it disastrous consequences for them.

Personal gain is something to be very aware of with advice you offer or receive, as there are a number of ‘sub-biases’ that can lead to erroneous advice. Biases such as: personal insecurity, strength of relationship, trust and access to multiple connections within the same personal network, are to name a few.

Bias #2: Nondisclosure.

Full disclosure is important when seeking or offering advice. It’s important for the advisor to develop a complete awareness of the problem or dilemma and it’s the responsibility of those being advised, to make the advisor fully aware. Therefore, complete honesty and openness is required in order to understand and to be fully understood.

If you feel restricted or reluctant in any way, then already you’re adding layers of bias to advice. For example, think about asking your parents about relationship advice, but leaving out all the intimate details of your desires, because it feels too inappropriate or awkward to discuss. Again many of the ‘sub-biases’ that arise with personal gain are also relevant here too, especially when sharing advice among an established peer group.

In conclusion, to avoid, or at least limit bias when exchanging advice with friends and family, both parties must learn how to emotionally detach in order to establish mutual understanding. However, keep in mind that you also run the risk of jeopardising the personal connection too, because once something is shared, it cannot be taken back, and you have to rely on and preserve trust in order to maintain the relationship.

Therefore in summary, establish authentic trust before seeking or giving advice and be aware of these prominent biases.

Vancouver Relationship and Life Coach

How to Discover Your Passions: Build the Bridge between 2 Lessons

Bridge

As I’m paving my own path, living by my own identity and letting knowledge and understanding guide my thoughts. I can feel myself inching closer to the heart of my own virtue.

There are two very significant lessons that connected me to my passions; to my very purpose of being…

…I was about 18 years old, tired of negative influence and feeling like I didn’t belong. I was broken by betrayal and my trust in others diminished. I remember filling out my university application and remember writing exactly what I was expected to write. Just so someone could grant me access into an academic institution of no real value to me or my life. My only frame of mind was escape, so long as I didn’t have to face the reality of my intentions, I played by the rules.

So there I was, naïve, free and finally without the burden of responsibility nor tradition. I met 3 very different individuals, ambitious, influenced and as fresh-faced as I.  Individuals who taught me that being me was all that was necessary. Teaching me the true value of my own life and that I shouldn’t give a f*** about anything else other than the present and being present.

Although, I still found it very difficult to be present towards graduation. It was at the end of this experience and returning home, when I realized the importance of the two lessons. Lessons that guided my successes, moved me around the world and gave me the confidence to dream and to pursue that dream.

Lesson #1 – Identity

  • To embrace and nurture all aspects of my identity.
  • Stay true to who I am and let truth guide my aspirations.
  • To let that truth shine, so that others could connect. So that I could connect.
  • An identity of my own so that my mind and my life remained in my own control.

 Lesson #2 – Awareness

  • To be present in the moment and to be very aware of it.
  • Experience what’s happening now so that I could navigate my future.
  • Being aware of others, aware of my actions and aware of my environment.
  • So that I could protect myself from negativity and any threat to my identity.
  • Aware of myself; my identity, so that I could work on my weaknesses and build upon my strengths.
  • To be present in the moment of opportunity.

These two lessons taught me more about myself and the world I live in, than any manuscript, guru or drug ever could.

However these two lessons do not work well unless they’re connected. You can’t truly be aware unless you understand and know yourself. On the other hand you cannot fully develop your identity unless you become more aware and present.

The bridge that connects them, is emotion.

Emotion is by far, the most significant tool you have, when it comes to building a life you’re fulfilled by. It sounds so simple, but because emotions are so complex and varied, many of us fail to notice how simple life can actually be, if we pay attention to what we’re feeling.

Ever notice how a child experiences life? Free, uninhibited and curious. They’re present in the moment and full of character. Notice how the very thing that motivates and stimulates a child's eagerness to learn and engage, is emotion. A child can love easily and has an abundance of love too, allowing them to connect to others and for others to easily connect.

When I returned home, I quickly noticed how much I ignored my emotions to pursue a life of false fulfillment. The more I allowed myself to feel, the more I became aware and the more my identity rose to the surface. It was emotion that allowed me to embrace the above lessons, that guided me to the success and fulfillment I have in my life today.

So learn to listen and experience your emotions. Build that bridge so you too can discover, and confidently live by your identity. To help you become more aware, so that you know what it is you need to do to find fulfillment.

As you begin to live life by these two lessons, build the bridge that connects them. You'll begin to discover your passions; discover your own virtue, thus enabling you to pave a path of your very own.

Vancouver Relationship and Life Coach

How to Succeed with Confidence - Share Your Personal Life with Your Personal Life.

The day life really changed for me was the day I decided to expose my soul to the people around me.

I finally let out those ideas that I had kept quiet, knowing that keeping them to myself only held back my dreams. When I shared my work publicly, I was able to pursue my ideas confidently and I was ready to take on the perceived judgment and ridicule that once held me back.

It was that day everyone understood who I was and what I stood for.

The day I uttered the words "F*** it" and just poured my heart into my passions, was the day my identity was freed and life became exciting again and I let those passions lead the direction of my life.

I finally decided to accomplish the things I really wanted for my life.

Mindset

I've dreamed big since I was a kid and the day I made my life a priority and shared my identity with those around me, was the day I began pulling that dream into the realm of reality.

Something insanely good happens when you decide to let those dreams out. All of a sudden I knew what I wanted, I was able to understand others much clearer, I became much more instinctive and learned to make quicker decisions for myself.

I was able grow and learn again. Just like it used to be when I was a kid, I was becoming naturally drawn to things that piqued my interest, learn something new and actually understand it.

My dating life even progressed from quantity over to quality, I became content being single and I learned to know what I expect from a relationship (Click here and you can read all about it).

Most importantly, It highlighted the people in my life who really supported me. I began getting the encouragement to pursue my passion, it was support I thought hadn't existed.

I became so dedicated to my writing that negative influence's faded away. I've noticed how people give me constructed advice now and think twice about sharing empty opinions, they know that I'm sticking by myself, thus prepared for anything thrown my way.

I promise you, you'll release yourself from living a life you're not fulfilled by, on the day you decide to share your personal life with your personal life, that day you'll become free to confidently pursue the life you crave and succeed at it.

Vancouver Relationship and Life Coach

3 Things You Need from the People Around You

Winning

Surrounding yourself with the right energy is not just about surrounding yourself with people that share the same ideas, interests and 'identity' as you do. After figuring out my passions, I proceeded to be around people that know life is worth living passionately with self-belief, rather than meeting someone else's expectation and suppressing ones dreams for a senseless need to fit in.

From music, sports, taste in girls and experiences in life, most things about me and my best mate are very different. Although our interests may differ, we meet on common ground when it comes to our attitude towards life. The energy from knowing exactly what we want transfers directly into nurturing our own goals.

Surround yourself with people that embrace their own ideas and aren't afraid to live by their own identity. Notice how these types of people encourage you to be at your best and in turn watch how the energy gets transferred into action:

1. Competition - as were both hungry for success, the subtleties of competition push one another to achieve more with our work. If I hear him typing, I have to type faster, if he knows I'm sending out another post, he works on securing another website to work on. Our sights are completely unrelated but the pursuit of achievement and success causes us to healthily compete. Pushing one another closer to achieving each goal.

2. Motivation - Procrastination is everyone's flaw, but having people around you that share the same thirst for life, even though what they desire from it is completely irrelevant to your cause, knowing another person is on their game makes you want to be on yours. So if I know he's at the local Library working on a project and I'm on my arse watching Netflix, I'm motivated to unplug the TV and plug into success.

3.  Evaluation - I work with my earphones on, so we're hardly communicating when working, but at the end of what seems as a marathon of work, we discuss what we have worked on. The sharing of new ideas and brainstorming unexplored avenues sets the course for innovation and fresh input towards our own work. It freshens the mind with new perspective.

The same happens when I speak to my sister, she's a successful business woman, our life goals are completely different but it's that energy that comes with ambition and knowing what we want from life is how we build each other up.

Today, I reiterate this message to you again: Surrounding yourself with the right energy is like having your goals and successes floating around you in reach, reminding you regularly of where you’re headed.

Vancouver Relationship and Life Coach

Avoid Becoming the Bad Apple - Break the Cycle That Breeds Irritated Souls

It still irritates me to see how many people are afraid to say or admit what it is they want or wanted out of life. They bury their dreams and continue on with life with the mentality that “it wasn’t meant to be” or that “it will never happen” and they will share this view with anyone else that has the balls to actually go for it.  The ones that adopt the same mentality will carry on this cycle and continue to fill the world with irritated souls with lost dreams. Adopting this attitude will only distance yourself from the life you’ve always dreamed of.

Despite what others have said, I had managed to push on and continued to pursue my goals and passions because I was never afraid to say what I would accomplish. Being able to say what it is I wanted got me to where I am today and to the distances I will go tomorrow. I remember my year 11 science teacher saying to me that I wouldn’t make it to sixth form let alone obtain a degree. I remember my friends laughing at me when they said I wouldn’t make it out of my hometown when I said I will be living abroad one day. I remember relatives saying my goals were too ambitious and that I needed to ground myself and live in the real world.

Now if I had listened to them I would have probably stopped believing in myself and end up as another irritated soul waiting for something to happen and trying to make ends meet in the ‘real world’. I may have just waited for someone to save me from an irritated life to just sit and wait until I venture onto the right path. Well that’s what I saw of the ‘real world’ and the people in it, what people said I shrugged off as hearsay, what right did they have to determine my life for me? I couldn’t understand their advice so I couldn’t adopt it. There’s this bizarre mistake that the majority of people make, they try to fit their lives into an idea of what success is and what success looks like because no one ever told them that we determine our own success. Not many people had the guts to say to me “that will definitely work” or “Terry, you will get what you want” for any support that I did receive there was always a slight hesitation with a concerned undertone and you’ve probably heard these words before, they go along the lines of “good luck” and “I wish you all the best”.

Whenever you dream and share that dream with others, voices of negativity will always tell you not to pursue it. Discourage you from believing and placing doubt on your passion. I had so much of that growing up; even to this day many people still cast this negative shadow, despite my successes. I have come to terms with what others do not understand and I have come to terms with why others have such opinions. However I will refuse to come to terms with closing the door to my ambition and turning my back on my dreams, to reiterate, they got me this far and they’ll carry me further and I urge you to follow your dreams and encourage others too. Break the cycle that breeds irritated souls and aim to live in a more fulfilled world.

Vancouver Relationship and Life Coach

Finding Motivation within Your Roots

Roots. My roots are important to me. It’s my foundation; they shaped the person I was, the person I am and the person I will be. That doesn't just mean my personality or character; it includes my motivations and aspirations too. What we will go on to achieve and what we already have achieved, stem from roots we have.

I speak to many people on a daily basis and when discussions progress to learning about peoples “journey” or “story” it’s amazing how often we overlook what was inherited. If you've read my other posts, you’ll notice a common theme around looking ahead and moving forward towards your goals - making notes on the importance of evaluation and reflection and most importantly; knowing your identity - roots play a big part in that, whether we’re embracing them or running away from them.

There are many factors that determine your roots; lessons are passed down from generation to generation which have often determined levels of success. Some traditions are upheld, some traditions get lost in translation and some traditions crumble as time progresses. Understanding the motivation behind traditions can help you understand why they exist. Not only can you discover things about yourself, your upbringing, or the lack of in some cases, delving into your past and understanding your history/cultural history can unlock answers in your past and present which may have streamed the course for your future. I for one have discovered this myself, learning about certain aspects of my roots allowed me to understand the passion for life I have today. One of the most imperative outcomes from looking into my roots was identifying the examples that were set. Whether good or bad, examples taught me about what I wanted for my life so I could avoid the things I don’t want and attain things I do.

I have very successful friends who have had very fortunate childhoods and have come up from picture perfect roots. I have very successful friends who have shared some very unfortunate stories about their past and where they came up from. Which is when I understood this concept more; there are powerful motivations that we can extract from knowing where we come from and what we inherit. We all grew up very privileged because we all have roots. Some were privileged to have wealth and fortune, some were privileged to have witnessed hard work and determination and some were privileged to have gone through a lot of pain and suffering which harnessed the motivation for them to become phenomenal people today. This is why I like roots, and learning about other peoples. We are all very different people yet can all achieve the same successes and share common goals - it takes a little understanding of where you've come from, to identify who you are and develop who you want to be.

Vancouver Relationship and Life Coach

How to Avoid Silencing Your Instinct

Funny things are friends; they can inspire you at the most random moments. I randomly called a friend of mine, as she was rushing home from work. She asks if I would hold for a couple of minutes. I could hear the anticipation in her voice of needing to get off the phone. She returns my call 5 minutes later and the first thing she says is “...amazing, I can take on the world after taking a piss!” after laughing hilariously at what she’d said, I was compelled by her statement. The point she was making was that she cannot start a conversation with me until she could really sit down and pay attention. If I asked for advice she wouldn’t want to steer me wrong as her mind was completely off focus. I could be wrong, but I see relevance to the following; have you ever been so inspired that you’re bursting with so much excitement that you feel the need to begin embarking on a challenge without weighing any outcome? Your emotions are running high all you want to do is just get involved and before you've realized, something’s taken a wrong turn because you made a haste decision? Sometimes we forget the importance of grounding ourselves and taking the time to really think. We sometimes silence our instinct as we get overrun by ambition. It’s a thin line but it’s always good to be aware of it.

I know when I feel the spark, I let the ideas ignite and then expect fireworks without giving it a second thought. Sometimes it doesn't hurt to just take a breather, get comfortable and think a little clearer...it can have invaluable impact and can save you a lot of headache in the long run. Happy New Year!

VanCity