One problem with life improvement advice is that it often paints with too broad of a brush. It has the unintended consequence of making people who are actually content and happy with their lives feel like they shouldn’t be.
When we’re consistently presented by method after method for how we can improve our bodies, our minds, our relationships, our jobs, we’re subliminally persuaded into believing that there must always be something there to improve.
I love the title of a book written by my friend Jess Weiner – “Life Doesn’t Begin 5 Pounds from Now” – for the simple reminder about how we shouldn’t get stuck in that “I’ll just fix one more thing and then I’ll be good to go” mindset.
This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t grow and change. By all means, change the things that are unhealthy or bother you. Satiate your curiosity. Learn things. Keep seeking and exploring. But always ask yourself why you’re doing it and who you’re doing it for.
I was recently asked to share the story of my professional growth and development – how I got started in my career and what advice I have for young women entering the workforce.
As I was being interviewed, I couldn’t help but start feeling a little bit self-conscious about the fact that I was giving advice. Who was I to give advice? I’m not famous or rich or a best-selling author or someone who’s changed the world.
As I thought about that feeling later, I realized that we’re all qualified to give advice, especially when that advice comes in the form of a story and not a mandate. We all help each other when we tell each other the stories of our experience. You story helps me see mine from a different perspective, and mine might help you solve a problem for which you hadn’t been able to find the answer.
Giving advice doesn’t require any expertise on anything other than your own life, and we are all capable of telling that story.
If you’ve been holding back sharing what you’ve experienced or learned for fear that people will discover that you’re not a real “expert”, then we’re all missing out.