The Advice Boomerang

Have you been hit by the Advice Boomerang? Are there things you say to others that are really meant for you, and how do you stop that boomerang from coming back?

HOW MANY times a day do you dish out advice? Have you ever considered the regularity in which you share your opinion? I’m sure you’ve already shared some of your insights today. Quite often we don’t even know that we’re doing it.

It may be a quick tip to your partner or kids as you’re running out the door or a comment to someone en route to the office. It may be that long conversation that so many females have, where you deconstruct the world you live in and assist someone else to rebuild theirs with your pearls of wisdom. Of course, advice extends into the office, to our colleagues and our clients every day. And let’s be clear; much of the advice that’s dished out hasn’t been requested, wanted or appreciated.

It can be dangerous giving advice, and not just in the way we think. Sure, if someone doesn’t like your advice, didn’t want it or even, heaven forbid, follows it and it doesn’t work out, well none of that is bubbling with positive results. The danger I am talking about has far greater repercussions; repercussions that are far closer to home and more personal. It’s the danger that I call the Advice Boomerang.

Now you’d be mistaken for thinking a boomerang is an indigenous toy. It is in fact a weapon used for hunting; it has the ability to travel at great velocity and hit a moving target. I’d go as far as to say that with the Advice Boomerang we are hunting a better version of ourselves through the advice we provide to others, and the Boomerang returns when we least expect it. It’s been my experience that it’s not until that advice comes hurtling back towards you at great speed that you realise some of the advice you give is actually meant for you.

Of course, you have to be open to the Advice Boomerang; and to do so is to be open to an experience that can have amazingly positive effects on your own life. The Advice Boomerang hits you at that moment in time when you actually hear your own advice, either in the moment or on replay. This happens to me regularly. I generally find the Advice Boomerang comes to me in business, sometimes on a weekly basis. Whilst it can arrive when I least expect it, it’s often when I need it the most. Perhaps you have already experienced it.

Every day I give advice, and in business it is an element of what I am contracted to do. Advice in general reflects opinions, values, recommendations and guidance. As those who know me will tell you, I put everything into my clients, and this leaves me, more often than not, in the Advice Boomerang danger zone.

I know the Boomerang is coming as I start to hear my own advice. I’m not just saying words; I am actually listening to myself speak as if my words of wisdom are being said back to me. It can feel like the conversation you’re having is happening in slow motion, or like an out of body experience where you are an observer of yourself. You may finish a conversation and reflect, knowing your advice is meant for you too.

Perhaps you’re reading this smiling as you recount the instances when you’ve been hit by the Boomerang. And if you delve a little deeper I’d suggest there are a couple of pieces of advice that just keep coming back to hit you. How do you get that Boomerang to stop coming back?

For most of us, we overshoot the mark in terms of our expectations on ourselves. We spend more time attempting to perfect our areas of weakness than playing to our strengths. We’ve taken other people’s goals and made them our own, or at the very least we’re not true to our own sense of self.

The next time you give advice and the Advice Boomerang hits you in the head, grab it and do something with it. Make a decision and put your advice into action, or decide that particular piece of advice wasn’t actually meant for you – getting hit with a boomerang hurts!

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Fiona Blayney

Fiona Blayney is the founder and director of Real+, an industry first Property Management learning platform. For more info visit realplusonline.com.au.