Information is being funneled to us in numerous way. We have the news stations, social media, family, friends, and whatever other means we can find that feed us what we know. When we have questions it is these sources we turn to for expertise, opinions, and insight. There is only so much we can figure out on our own, so it makes sense.

What doesn’t make sense is to go to human and virtual resources that don’t exude where you want to be in life. They don’t hold your same values. They are able to provide you with insight about the job you would like to do, but yet they hate doing that exact work. Should you be talking to, let alone listening to them?

Consider the source!

Over the years I have witnessed individuals confide in well intentioned individuals and receive not so great advice. I see the trajectory the inquirer is wanting to pursue. They have dreams, aspirations, and want to receive a push in the right direction. A word of knowledge they can grasp hold to as they weather the storms ahead. But the person they are confiding in has never experienced what the inquirer desires. They can’t speak to the type of life the inquirer is hoping to attain. This ‘source’ is not who the inquirer needs. The individual may be a great cheerleader for them, but not a reference for knowledge.

Here are some tips/questions to answer to help you determine who to speak to, regardless of the topic, when making serious decisions or if you just want some advice:

  • Are they living a life you desire to live?

  • Are they knowledgeable on the topic?

  • Are they pessimistic or optimistic?

  • Are they only going to tell me what I want to hear?

  • Do I trust the advice I am about to receive?

  • Does this person share some of my core values?

  • Will they be jealous of me after I tell them what I am thinking?

To be able to answer these questions to fidelity, you must know someone beyond the online or work persona placed in front of you. To answer the aforementioned questions in a way that would make you feel not only comfortable, but to have the feeling of “I can’t wait to hear what they have to say on this”, means you have spent time with the person. You have seen the way this person lives their life, and have possibly seen the ups and downs and how they have overcome. The individual chosen isn’t just a random.

Everyone is not deserving to speak on your life. Everyone is not deserving to sprinkle their ideas of what you should or should not do onto you. Consider the source and ensure this person has the ability to help you along your journey. None of us can do it alone, but we don’t need just anybody speaking into our lives.

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Dr. Chemika Burkhalter, LCSW, MCLC

Dr. B is a licensed clinical therapist and a master certified life coach with a client-centered emphasis and a love for helping people navigate their way to the “aha” moment.