Why You Seldom Take Your Own Advice
“Solomon’s Paradox” and What to Do About It
Have you noticed that often when you have a decision to make, you seem to be too close to your own problem for your own good? A concept known as, Solomon’s Paradox, proposes that people are wiser when reflecting on other people’s problems compared with their own. What can you do to overcome the so-called paradoxical forces that are impacting whether you achieve focus to make a decision and ultimately accomplish your goals?
Am I too close to my own problems to untangle the knots?
When I deal with important decisions, why does it seem harder to decide?
When you suspect that you are over-analyzing your situation in order to make a decision — or worse, you feel stuck in a so called “analysis paralysis” — you can bet that Solomon’s Paradox is at work in your mind. It seems like we are designed to better at being objective for others and often too subjective for own purposes. The experience of “too much to consider to make a final decision” seems to be especially exaggerated when what you want from your decision is of utmost importance to you. Choices like: a new job, career opportunities, how to best launch or grow a startup business, staying in a romantic relationship or not, moving to another city or not, and other such big decisions in life and business.
When I deal with important decisions, why does it make sense to ask for help?
It would seem beneficial to ask for advice, or even get “mentorship,” from others. This seems to be at least the next most better option rather than stirring in your own emotions and consternations. This may be true, yet when you have big goals, ongoing plans, or even bigger dreams in life, you may want other than the advice of friends, an elder, or even a mentor. As a matter of fact, a study focused on Solomon’s Paradox demonstrated that age does not necessarily correlate with greater advice or wisdom where giving beneficial advice is concerned.
Are there alternatives to mentoring or advice?
As an alternative to “getting advice” or working with a “mentor,” an efficient and value-driven approach to alter the course of your actions for the better is to hire a Professional Performance Coach, or as sometimes said, to “get ‘Coaching.’” There are some similarities between coaching and mentoring, but there are also distinct advantages to collaborating with a coach over merely seeking the advice or validation of a mentor.
A mentor is generally someone whom you have identified as knowing more or having succeeded more than you yet know or have. Mentors agree to advise you with conclusions and stories based in their experience, ideally with confidence in their advice, often providing you with more-detailed options than you had considered before. Though you may discover that the advice of friends or even more experienced and more knowledgeable mentors does not really feel like a fit for you. In other words, the advice or mentoring of others, while eye-opening and providing more information and perhaps food-for-thought, is not as empowering as you discovering possibilities, options, and the best course of action suited to you.
How does a coach help me untangle my important decision knots?
What are the advantages of hiring a Coach for collaboration?
Consider the advantages of hiring a Professional Performance Coach who:
- is singularly dedicated to collaborating with and encouraging you to explore your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges within the context of your goals,
- listens expertly to the content, style, and emotional intelligence of your communication,
- mirrors your communication with clarity and without judgmentalism,
- inquires with precision into what matters most to you,
- grounded in pragmatism, fosters your confidence and self-esteem,
- and collaborates with you to discover otherwise masked-over and hidden insights into your assumptions, vulnerabilities, performance, and opportunities for your progress and improvement.
What is it like to work with a Life Coach or Professional Performance Coach? What will a Coach for me?
An analogy that works for many people wanting to distinguish “Coaching” as a service for you —
and also answers the questions,
- “What is this ‘Life Coach’ I’ve been hearing about?” or
- “What is a Professional Coach?” or
- “What will a Coach do for me?”
— is to imagine the scenario of going to a gym for physical fitness exercise: Do you suspect that you will be more efficient and effective accomplishing your fitness goals with the guidance and direction of a Fitness Trainer at the gym? You probably also realize that, with a Fitness Trainer, you will be more accountable to pay attention to your progress, actually show up, accomplish your exercises with the best possible form, and ultimately achieve your fitness and wellness goals.
To consider “Coaching” as a resource for you, imagine that the Fitness Trainer (who is experienced with the correct use of gym equipment, body mechanics, and physical fitness) is a Professional Performance Coach specializing in human behavior and reasoning, communication, and performance intervention and improvement. Now, imagine for yourself that “the gym” is “my career,” or “my business,” or “my finances,” or “my relationships,” or “my lifestyle.” Simply said, hiring a “Coach” to achieve your greatness is like hiring a Trainer to improve your fitness. To expand on this comparison a bit more, a Trainer may encourage you, instruct you, and even “spot” you while you exercise at the gym, while your Coach is more like a hiking companion lending you a hand as you explore, discover, and transcend the valleys and peaks of your perspectives, plans, performance, and achievement for your goals and fulfillment.
What is the best coaching program for me?
When it comes to hiring a Coach — or more specifically benefitting from the decision-making clarity that comes from Coaching as a service — there are a few standard formats available for getting yourself Coaching services:
- Some clients hire a Coach for highly-customized, one-to-one, private and confidential performance intervention and coaching.
- Sometimes a business will contract with a Coach to lead a team or group on an ongoing basis for sustained effectiveness, teamwork, and productivity.
- You can also become a member of a coach-led virtual achievement workgroup wherein you benefit from a coaching format that provides benefits of coaching for a more economical price than more customized private, one-to-one coaching.
A workgroup-style coaching program provides a cost-sharing program approach (think of an Uber ride share for coaching services), has the value-added aspect of coach-guided brainstorming and collaborating with others in the group, and offers the convenience of virtual participation with dial-in by phone or web-access video conferences to participate in routinely-scheduled workshops.
How will I be best supported for decision-making that is really the best fit for me?
Last, not least, what there is to consider is:
- Are you looking for clarity and focus in your decision-making for one big question to make just one big leap forward?
- Or do you want to create ongoing meaningful and rewarding changes that will be lasting over time?
A one-off coaching session with a Coach can be a great jump-start or breakthrough opportunity to accomplish something new and even unpredictable.
On the other hand, if you want…
- long-standing, unrecognizable shifts in you attitude, confidence, capacity, and competency,
- repeated leaps forward in effectiveness, creativity, and productivity,
- consistent clarity, focus, wisdom, and empowerment that can only come from being coached by a Professional Performance Coach, persistent accountability to accomplish your goals,
- and ongoing improved satisfaction and fulfillment with your endeavors and accomplishments
…then you will want to commit to a coaching program that is a plan for ongoing private sessions or routinely-scheduled workgroup workshops.