Seek Counsel

Have you ever been in a situation where you’re in a professional, personal, moral or ethical decision making moment and need to make a choice? You’d wish there was someone you can use as a sounding board. In my own life, I’ve had numerous instances where I needed a guide, a mentor.

In every instance where I had to seek counsel, I was able to validate my thought process, make adjustments where needed and end-up with a well-informed decision.

I find individuals are somewhat hesitant to seek counsel in their daily life. The hesitation can come from an apprehension of “what will the other person think when I approach them with a question?”, another reason could be our self-esteem stretching itself too far into the boundaries of ego, and coming in the way of seeking counsel.

To seek counsel and have a counselor can be the biggest game changer in your life. You need counselors who can connect your subjective (emotional) and objective (rational) thought process.  Here are 4 reasons why counselling is needed in everyone’s life:

Get the Balcony view – We cherish in having an identity – our own individual worth and self. We have built this identity over the years – our values, thought process, environment we grew up in, and the people we interact have molded our identity. We reinforced our identity by peppering it with feelings and emotions.

In a decision making moment, this identity of ours clouds judgement. Our brains have separate compartments for rational decision making (left side) and the emotional decision making (the right side) but each side is responsible for controlling the other side. The interconnection is inseparable. In a decision making moment, unless you teach your brain, rationality takes a back step.

Seeking counsel helps get an outside-in view while protecting our inside-out feelings. You are with a good counselor when he or she does not solve the problem for you but asks leading questions. A good counselor, coach, mentor or guru will help you momentarily separate yourself from the situation. You look at the timeline of life from a balcony, giving you an end to end view. You gain insight into the events leading to the decision, the choices available and the downstream impact of each choice.

Just recently, an individual approached me and shared some of the woes he was facing at work. After listening to him attentively, I asked “If you were to formulate a question and ask me for help, what would that question be?” It took around 5 to 10 minutes for the person to formulate a question, finally he did come up with the question, but supplemented it by saying “I also got my answer.” Taking the time to process thoughts and tying it to an element of rationality drives clarity.

As we take the balcony view, we make our left side of the brain work more than the right, allowing the gas pedal of rationality to be pressed and outpace emotions. When this happens, our emotions are also handled effectively.

We don’t know it all  Confucius said “Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.” It is a fact that we are not experts at everything we do. Using Google as an ally, we can surely be more informed but we cannot compensate for real experience. Seeking counsel from individuals who have seen the variations through their own learning and experiences are better equipped to guide us and offer some words of wisdom.

The counselor does not necessarily have to be more proficient or successful than the person seeking counsel. Michael Phelps’ coach did not win even a single Olympic gold medal in swimming or participate in Olympics, while Phelps won 23 medals in the Olympics.

We need a reference marker in our life – In the daily rut of our lives, we are on the move all the time. The next moment of our life sometimes builds on the moment which just preceded. The upcoming moment may also undergo a whole new experience.

We do not know if the moment which passed was handled effectively or the moment to appear will be handled effectively. Seeking counsel and making it a habit provides us with a map, a reference point from which we can measure our decision making effectiveness.

Develop humility – It is nature’s way to bestow humility to students when they are with teachers, at least for a majority of students. Seeking counsel brings out the student in you. When that facet of your personality comes out, the characteristic of humility shines in your personality. Over time, humility gets ingrained in your personality type, making you a better person.

If you haven’t done it already, seek counsel for your next decision making moment and see the difference.

Do you have any comments or thoughts about this article? Please do share in the comments below.

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