The Winds Of Advice

Published February 03, 2020 by Sheila Anne Murray

Support systems are the best! … But they can also get in the way of living your most authentic life. After all, people love to dole out advice like:

  • “I think you’d be great at doing x, why don’t you try it out?”
  • “Oh yeah, I’ve had that problem before, you should do x,y,z.”
  • “I wouldn’t do that if I were you! Have you considered x?”
  • “If you’re trying to be healthy you really should try x/should stop y.”

Sound familiar? All of these things sound like they could be totally helpful and, hey, maybe following advice like that could really change your life! At the same time, if we don’t take a solid moment to question the input we receive, we may find ourselves further away from our truth. Sometimes I’ve done things/tried to be a certain way because a loved one suggested it would serve me better. Other times, I’ve been subconsciously swayed by the advice that thought loved one/professional/societal norms would have for me, and that was just as damaging.

I’ve adopted a name from a friend for this concept: “the winds of advice,” and I want to help you navigate them. Think about yourself as a sail boat in the ocean. You’re sailing along, using your internal compass, unique strengths, and experience to navigate your path. As you go along, winds of advice come your way, from all different directions. Some of them seem like they’re coming from a good place and could lead somewhere good too, so you let one of them drive your ship for a little while. You ride that wind to see where it takes you; then another persuasive wind of advice comes your way and you ride that too.

Time after time you harness the wind of advice, and suddenly you’ve forgotten all about the internal compass you have. The winds of advice have your ship — you are going somewhere, but are you navigating toward your truth?

If this resonates, I invite you to ask this question (“am I going toward my truth?”) next time the winds of advice offer a persuasive direction. Think about yourself as that ship, and identify what you have already on board to guide you — such as your strengths, unique experiences, and internal compass — and make sure those powerful tools being utilized.

a sailboat being pushed in different directions by winds that represent advice from others

Ok, so where do we go from here?

Typically we label the winds as helpful and that’s why we let them guide us. So let’s re-frame what “helpfulness” looks like. While someone might be advising (or forcefully guiding) you from a place of love, their presence and opinion actually may not be helpful. You can still honor their perspective but continue forging your own way — it doesn’t mean you love them any less! Only you can tap into your internal compass, and only you are going to be the one living in the waters of the wind you follow. In the end, you know you best!

What does this look like in practice?

If we truly believe that our adviser is coming from a place of love, extend gratitude. Then we can tap in to what we truly do/do not desire and make our most aligned decision.

It can look something like this:

“I see the advice and perspective you have, and I’m so appreciative! I am going to do x instead. Thank you for your support!”

Make a commitment to practice this in the next few weeks and see how it feels. When you feel the winds of advice, pause and tap into your inner compass. Then, make a decision, perhaps share gratitude, and proceed on the beautiful waters you’ve set in front of yourself — confidently moving into the future you’ve hand-crafted.


Sheila Anne