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The Double Standard of Advice: Why We Often Prescribe, but Rarely Consume, Our Own Medicine

The Double Standard of Advice Banner
The Double Standard of Advice Banner

The Universal Paradox of Wisdom

Greetings, dedicated entrepreneurs and respected corporate leaders. I'd like to offer some thoughts on a curious paradox we're all susceptible to, despite our elevated positions and keen insights. But first, allow me to share a compelling story that underscores this phenomenon.

A Confidential Call: When Perception Overpowers Reality Several months ago, a past client reached out to me. He had been referred by a mutual acquaintance. I could hear the desperation in his voice, an unusual fragility that barely concealed itself behind professional courtesy. What intrigued me, even more, was his request—nay, his plea—that I keep our interaction secret. "Please," he said, "I don't want the person who referred me to think I'm weak."

The Silent Epidemic: The Fear of Appearing Weak This tale is symptomatic of a broader issue: the fear of vulnerability, even when we're on the brink of burnout or worse. What's most perplexing is that this client had referred several people to me in the past, openly discussing how beneficial it can be to take stock of one's well-being. Yet, when it came to his own life, he couldn't extend himself the same grace.

Dispensing Advice from an Ivory Tower: The Facade of Invincibility This client is not an anomaly. He embodies a widespread notion that many of us harbour: the belief that while others may benefit from advice, support, and introspection, we are somehow exempt—invincible, even. Whether helming a startup or steering a corporate giant, the self-deception remains the same.

The Burnout Assessment: Not Just for 'Others' In a previous discourse, we explored the merits of the Burnout Assessment—a tool designed to gauge one's proximity to professional exhaustion. But isn't it telling that we advocate for others to undergo self-assessment, while often bypassing the opportunity to administer it to ourselves?

Time for Reckoning: Embracing Our Own Medicine The incongruity is clear: the advice we so readily dish out sits idle when it comes to our personal application. Yet, if such counsel is good enough to be shared, should it not be good enough to be applied to ourselves?

In Conclusion: The Wisdom of Self-Application In advising others, we tacitly acknowledge the complexities and challenges of our careers. To offer such wisdom and not apply it to our own lives, is, in essence, to waste it. Thus, I extend an invitation: the next time you find yourself bestowing advice, pause for a moment and ponder how that guidance could apply to you. For in this self-application lies the true worth of wisdom.

Should this subject strike a chord, I remain, as always, open for a deeper conversation on the matter. I wish you all well in your endeavors, balanced by the insight and introspection we so desperately need but often ignore.

If you feel a conversation with me might help get your thoughts in order, please click the link below to book for a free call.


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