ISSUE 82 ISSN 1712-468

No man is wise enough by himself.

Titus Maccius Plautus
Roman Comic Dramatist 
254 BC–184 BC

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This Week´s Inspiration

Move Up By Seeking Wise Counsel  

Wisdom: Good sense or judgment; insight; knowledge; knowing

Counsel: Advice; deliberation; a plan of action

Do you know the quality of your life closely reflects the people you keep as friends and the counsel you seek?

Think about it. We don’t want our children or kids hanging around the wrong crowd because of the influence a bad element will have over them. 

Does that hold true for us in our adult lives? 

Yes, most certainly.

I recall a conversation with Mark Victor Hansen of Chicken Soup for The Soul fame. He can predict your network based on your five closest friends. It seems our circle of influence and the counsel we engage do determine our results in life.

This applies to wealth and all other areas. 

I find it laughable—actually pitiful—when an individual seeking advice goes to someone who has either failed or who does not have any experience in the area of the individual’s concerns.

Here are some examples.

  • You are thinking about leaving your partner so you get advice from other separated individuals.
  • You are having challenges with your children so you get feedback from other parents whose parenting skills are questionable.
  • You are thinking about investing and you ask others you have little or no experience in this area.
  • You want to take a risk and change jobs but you ask all the individuals around you who have never changed jobs.
  • You are wondering about starting you own business but get counsel from people who have never owned their own company.

And on it goes!

Thinking you can do it all on your own and that you don’t need anyone’s wise counsel is a prideful and ineffective position.

I have found that those who think they know it all actually know the least and those who feel they know very little actually know the most.

Recently, I have been considering some major business decisions that will have a long-term impact on my business and life. 

In the middle of the process, it became apparent I did not have the experience or the right counsel around me to add wisdom to the decision-making process. So I pro-actively engaged counsel from individuals who had way more experience; I asked them to give me their perspective. One had put together several multimillion dollar developments. Because these individuals did not have a vested interest in the outcome, it became a discussion about facts—with less focus on my emotions. 

True wisdom is insight based on experience. As you know, most people around you will have an opinion to offer but few will have wisdom. Although there are exceptions to this rule, rarely should you seek counsel from someone who has failed in the area where you want to succeed or who has never done it what you want to do. 

If someone failed in the area where you are seeking counsel, but he or she managed to turn the situation around and become successful, that person could add great insight on what it will take for you to move forward.

Be very careful when getting counsel.

Don’t ask . . .

  • Your accountant for investing advice unless he or she is an investor;
  • Your banker for financial strategies unless he or she is using them;
  • Your realtor about real estate investing unless he or she is a real estate investor in the specific area of your interest;
  • Your friends on how to start a business unless they own their own company;
  • A coach for success strategies if he or she is not successful.

I think you get the picture.

Wisdom is about knowing, which is independent from a person’s age or the length of time he or she has been working in a specific area of expertise. Be discerning when choosing the people with whom you will be working. Base your judgment on the results they have achieved, not just the time they have been in their field. I recall a teacher in high school who, after 20 years of teaching, was still incompetent. 

The process of affiliation is powerful. Engage counsel from those who have gone before you at the highest level you can—within reason.

This brings me to a very important point! (If you are paying an advisor, it does not apply.)

  • If you are seeking counsel from others, make sure you ask how you can help them, too, so the process is not just about you. Honor the relationship; buy coffee and lunch, send a gift certificate, etc. In other words, be a giver, not a taker.

Make seeking wise counsel an intentional and regular part of your life. 

  • Push the envelope to approach individuals at new and higher levels.
  • Pro-actively seek wisdom before you need it. 
  • Go beyond your current state of neediness and engage others you hold in high esteem—people who have perspectives beyond your current condition. 

Wisdom is about context. To have success in any area of life, learn how winning individuals think. If you want to achieve results similar to theirs, understand the way they think.

If your life reflects the company you keep and your life is not where you want it to be, look around to see where you go for counsel. For many of you, that will require letting go of the past and moving on. It’s not that you are better than they are, you have your own path to follow—not the one that some of your friends and advisors are on. 

Wise counsel can be gained in person and through information sources such as books, audio, video, etc. To help you on your journey, I recommend four CRG resources where you can engage the wisdom from others. My Source EXPERIENCE Journal, Personal Style Indicator, Values Preference Indicator, and the Stress and Health Indicator will point you toward your strengths and help you, as an individual, make wise choices.

In the end, you must choose your own path, but it’s easier and more effective to learn from the wise.

It is not white hair that engenders wisdom.  

Greek Comic Dramatist
342 BC–292 BC

This Week´s Action Steps

Move Up By Seeking Wise Counsel

  1. Is seeking wise counsel from others part of your life’s success strategies? Why? Why Not?
  2. Where are you getting your advice now? From individuals who have experience and wisdom or people with only an opinion?
  3. Is your life moving in the direction you want to go? Yes? No? Maybe?
  4. Seek counsel from those who have a track record in the area you require. Just say No to feedback from well-meaning, ignorant friends who have no success in your area of need.
  5. Don’t assume that your paid advisors are wise counsel for areas outside their expertise, such as accountants for investing or bankers for financing options.
  6. Your life, choices, and results will be highly influenced by the company you keep. Are certain individuals around you holding you back? If Yes, what are you willing to do about it?
  7. Make seeking wise counsel one of your intentional life-success strategies.
  8. Wisdom can come from information sources such as these four recommended CRG resources:My Source EXPERIENCE Journal, Personal Style Indicator, Values Preference Indicator, and the Stress and Health Indicator .
  9. Select at least four individuals whom you admire and who are accessible to you. To understand how they think, ask them out for lunch in the next 6 months. Ask questions, learn, and most of all shut up and listen!
  10. Honor your wise counselor. Ask what you can do for him or her. Be a giver.
  11. Wise counsel is a gift. Treat it like one.

Until next time, keep Living On Purpose!.

Ken Keis

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