Giving advice to someone is a tough ask. When someone reaches out to you for advice, you are put in a position of authority or power. It could be that the person seeking your advice thinks you are the right person, have the relevant experience, have information that others don’t or for any other reason. In essence, if someone asks for advice, he or she is looking for some sort of an answer from you. It’s a tall order to give accurate and meaningful “advice” to another person.
In his book, WILL, Will Smith says this about advice “The thing I’ve learned over the years about advice is that no one can accurately predict the future, but we all think we can. So advice at its best is one person’s limited perspective of the infinite possibilities before you. People’s advice is based on their fears, their experiences, their prejudices, and at the end of the day, their advice is just that: it’s theirs, not yours. When people give you advice, they’re basing it on what they would do, what they can perceive, on what they think you can do. But the bottom line is, while yes, it is true that we are all subject to a series of universal laws, patterns, tides, and currents – all of which are somewhat predictable – you are the first time you’ve ever happened. YOU and NOW are a unique occurence, of which you are the most reliable measure of all the possibilities.”
A powerful and practical way to approach this situation when someone reaches out to you for advice is to say “I am happy to share with you what has worked for me.” An example of this in real life is to watch this video of Dwayne Johnson “The Rock” speaking to the Los Angeles Lakers as part of their GeniusTalks series, reflecting on his career as an athlete and actor, and sharing lessons he learned along the way.