Giving Advice I Don’t Always Follow

It’s always good to be aware of one’s strengths and weaknesses—without using them to beat yourself up or shortchange yourself.

One thing I realized about myself, long ago, is that I am very good at giving advice that I don’t follow myself. I have ideas and opinions about things (and who doesn’t), from business and marketing to life and relationships, that I’m happy to suggest to people I love, if they’re willing to hear it, of course. But I don’t apply the advice to my own situations, even though they usually apply. That’s because coming up with the idea for the action is a lot easier, quicker, and safer than actually following through on said action.

This blog is the latest example of this. I’ll explain how after some background.

My husband Alex and I have recently made some huge life changes, all centered on what we have been, and would rather be, doing for a living. In November 2011, we decided to move from our massive 4-bedroom, 1 ballroom (yes, ballroom) house in government-focused DC, to a small 2-bedroom apartment in Burbank, CA, so that we could try to find work in entertainment-focused Hollywood. We were finally able to sell our house in May and moved to Burbank in early July 2012.

We both had projects we wanted to work on, largely as a way of getting closer to our entertainment-related goals. Alex’s project is his new Lovecraft-ian web comic, Miskatonic U, and mine is this here blog. While we have been discussing and researching these projects since at least November, we had been too busy with the move to really focus on them. Now that we’re settled in our new apartment, we’ve had some time.

In late-July, after organizing, unpacking, and finally vacuuming (one of the last details involved in settling into a new place), we were ready to hone in on our projects. Alex wanted to do more research for his strip, but I suggested that he try doing a quick, one panel drawing of the main characters, just to see what it felt like and to introduce the comic. My thinking was that, rather than spinning wheels with more research, he would actually be jumping right into the project. He embraced it full on (as he does), creating the first strip of the series, and posting it on Facebook. He then continued the momentum, creating several more strips. His comic is now live and quickly gaining followers.

I was also planning to do the same thing with my blog: I was going to just write a blog post and post it, just so there would be something online, and I will have started something. And here it is… finally… a good 2 months after Alex posted his first comic and I first made the suggestion. (Sad trombone: Wah-Waaahhh!)

There’s a very thin line between being aware of your strengths and limitations, and beating yourself up over them. I am definitely trying to do the former with this post, because I do think my ideas are good; I just need to be better about actually executing them. I am also trying not to compare myself to other people; everyone works on their own time. But it is beneficial to be aware of these things, and late is definitely better than never.

So readers, is this a common trait? Have you found yourself giving advice to others that you should also be following yourself? What was it? What do you think stopped you from following through on it? Is there something you always wanted to do that you haven’t yet? What’s holding you back? Share in the comments. … Or not. 🙂

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