Advice

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I have a million (okay maybe 3-5) blog posts brewing in my mind. Brewing actually suggests that they are developing, bubbling along with life and prospect. In reality weighing on my mind is a more appropriate analogy. I’m fond of analogies.

What I’m getting at is a constant lack of time and as a result, the pressure I put on myself. I envy my husband for drifting off to sleep literally moments after climbing into bed. Most nights I lie awake, berating myself for all the things I didn’t get done today. There is just never enough time… and this is from someone with a fairly empty schedule and no children. Five plus years on and I’m still struggling with work-life balance.

Anyway, I digress. This post is about advice and I’m writing it now as opposed to the other million 3-5* that I had intended (am still intending) to write because it seems important.  Now.

It started with a question that popped into my head. What qualifies someone to give advice? At what point does one go from being a “good listener” with occasional insightful thoughts to being a Life Coach or Therapist? At what point does one go from being a novice to a teacher?

This is particularly relevant in the Blogging world where all people do is give advice. Even when said bloggers don’t realise it, they are constantly advising people on how to set goals, how to bake bread, how to decorate your house, what gifts to buy (popular this time of year), how to knit a cowl neck scarf… You can tell what kind of blogs I read but you get the gist. Even by simply sharing a personal experience you are potentially influencing (another, perhaps subtler word for advising) others. Following your recipe for a blueberry-banana smoothie with a disclaimer saying ‘Note I am NOT a nutritionist’ doesn’t really negate this fact – you are (whether you like it or not) recommending something to people who may very well make your blueberry-banana smoothie. And drink it. Even though they are allergic to blueberries. And bananas.

It’s a lot of responsibility isn’t it?

Or maybe I’m making it a bigger deal than it needs to be. I am self-deprecating by nature and have a tendency to assume that I have nothing new or particularly intelligent to offer. I assume people already know what I know. Seriously, I sometimes force myself to say something out loud at work and expect to be met with a metaphorical eye-roll (yes, we know that already stop wasting your breath and our time…) But sometimes, a lot of the time actually, my little offerings are well received. Praised even.

I am coming to terms with this as a new manager. It does not come naturally to me to manage someone else – especially someone who is the same age as me, and male. I have to remind myself on a daily basis that of course I have learned something in the past five years, things he couldn’t possibly know yet, and that it’s ok to pass some of that on without fear of sounding patronising or arrogant. It’s actually been an encouraging experience to realise I have made progress. I am making progress. In my career day job and hopefully as a person.

So that’s what this blog is about, really. I don’t really know how to do the things I blog about or intend to blog about. I certainly don’t feel qualified to offer advice on them. But by documenting the process and sharing it, I guess that’s exactly what I am doing.

*In case you’re curious they are about moustache cupcakes, framed photo collages, home-made Christmas cards, and roasted sweet potatoes with a bacon, shallot and thyme glaze…  Coming soon!

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