“Courage is being scared to death…and saddling up anyway.”
I am the type of person who loves to get advice from wise people. I can remember a teaching from youth group several years ago that said “if you want to know the right thing to do, check three places: the Bible, prayer, and wise counsel.”
In general, getting counsel from others is a great rule of thumb. We are not as wise as we think we are on most issues, and we are sometimes blinded by our…well, blind spots. An outside perspective can reveal critical insights to our situation that make a huge difference in our lives. But sometimes an outside perspective isn’t what we need.
On more than one occasion, I have been in the middle of asking trusted friends for advice and gotten this pointedly painful piece of truth:
It sounds like you already know what to do, but are just afraid to do it.
But it’s true, isn’t it? In many cases, asking friends for advice is an effort to have them reinforce what we already know we have to do. We aren’t really looking for advice per se, we are looking for encouragement, someone to help us have the guts to make the bold move.
Knowing this tendency helps me in two ways:
1. As a listener: If a friend is asking for advice, I can ask myself if they really need suggestions or just encouragement to do the thing they already know they have to do. By asking, “What do you think you should do?” I can save some time I might spend trying to think of solutions for them if what they really need from me is support.
2. As an asker: Before I seek advice from others I can ask myself “Do I really not know what to do, or do I just need courage to do something hard?” Knowing the difference can help me ask the right people for the right kind of help and get on with what I need to do.
Encouragement is oxygen of relationships, especially for those of us in leadership. What can you today to pour “in – courage” to someone that matters to you?
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