Seeking Counsel, Not Advice
We’ve probably all heard how important it is to get advice from others, but also how careful we need to be about the source of that advice. Darren Hardy put it great by saying “Only take advice from someone you would immediately trade places with.” While that might be a bit extreme, I want to frame this thought in that perspective - You need to be really careful about the advice you receive, but for a different reason.
Let’s talk about what it means to seek counsel. It’s slightly different than getting advice, and that’s even evident in the root word being used. When someone offers counsel they’re taking more of a consultative approach to providing feedback. They’re lending their experience, expertise, and years of knowledge to provide perspective around the issue at hand. However, in a consultative relationship, the final decision maker is still you. This means that the intent of seeking counsel is to become more informed about what your options are before making a decision.
Advice, however, is usually someone telling you what they think you should do. There’s a bit more of an expectation there because the dynamic of the conversation is a little different. It’s only a small nuance, but the intent slightly shifts because their goal is to get you to think what they think, which may very well be in your best interest, but does not necessarily mean you’re thinking for yourself.
So what changes? Not much, except that the advice you receive has a new tint to it. Yes, get insight from others who have been there and done that, you have a lot to learn, but no two stories are the same and ultimately it’s up to you to integrate that information and think for yourself. Seek counsel, not advice.