Some advice for the season of giving advice

Some advice for the season of giving advice

‘Tis the season.

The first rule of CrossFit is to tell everyone that you do CrossFit. I do CrossFit.

I have been suffering from a knee injury for almost a year now. Snowboarding followed by two soccer games is unwise after 30. Recently, at the gym, we were working on an Olympic weightlifting movement. A friend of mine, a certified weightlifting coach, yelled an instruction at me from across the room.

Honestly, the first thing to cross my mind was to tell him a creative place where he could put his advice. What was the problem? His guidance was correct and well intentioned. But the reality was that he wasn’t my coach, he just happened to be at the gym at the time. The coach I work with regularly checks in on my knee every day, asking how it is feeling and suggesting replacement exercises when I can’t do what is set out for the day. My coach also knows I’m experienced in these particular lifts, and asks if something is bothering me when my form isn’t correct. My coach knows me and there is trust built.

Although this is a somewhat silly example, it helped me reflect on my own the times where I am quick to offer advice in both professional and personal relationships. Have I taken the time to listen to the story of the person I am giving advice to? Have I built a relationship of trust? Is this person making a decision for reasons I do not know? Am I respecting that they are the expert in their own life, and are likely making a decision that is best for them even if it is not what I would have done?

This is the season where everyone likes to share advice on many things: another person’s relationships, employment and even how to lose weight. My advice to you this season is to listen to your friends and family. Hear their stories. And it’s very likely that you will no longer feel the need to offer advice but encouragement and compliments.

• Shannon Fisher is the executive director of Family Promise of Juneau. “Living & Growing” is a weekly column written by different authors and submitted by local clergy and spiritual leaders.

• Shannon Fisher is the executive director of Family Promise of Juneau. “Living & Growing” is a weekly column written by different authors and submitted by local clergy and spiritual leaders.

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