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  • A Tough New Year’s Resolution: Take My Own Advice!

    Have you ever noticed that some professionals give great advice which they don’t seem to follow? There are brilliant physicians espousing healthful diets who are obese, esteemed Psychologists with multiple failed marriages, admired spiritual leaders who act selfishly and politicians who lead double lives. Most of us who seek mentors find these inconsistencies unsettling.

    Is there value in advice if the teacher doesn’t live by his lessons? In my opinion, the lesson is distinct from the teacher’s life. While there are some exceptional people who practice what they preach, it’s not surprising that this isn’t always the case. The value of a lesson is not dependent on whether or not the teacher lives by the lesson. Advice should stand on its own merit and not be tainted by the behavior of the advisor: no one is capable of upholding all truths.

    I suggest that one should always seek out the best teachers, doctors, spiritual leaders and mentors to strive for self-improvement by learning from them. Ideally, advice and wisdom should be evaluated on its own merit. In this way, one can avoid the mistake of holding someone out to be more than they truly are; the person who delivers the advice may be seen as a messenger without bearing any responsibility as a role model. But when an expert assumes the position of a role model, people will naturally expect more of that person; in this case the expert has more responsibility to model the behaviors he teaches and not be surprised when his behavior is scrutinized.

    As an exercise for this New Year, I’ve decided to take a closer look at my own advice to see how much of it I can say that I’ve honestly integrated. There are some virtues that I write about (and promote) because they are known to be traits of successful people. I consider these valuable virtues to be traits that I aspire to acquire. For instance, I recently wrote about the power of speaking positively as a key to success. I was inspired to write about this trait because I am currently working on speaking more positively myself; but like most of my readers, ALWAYS speaking positively is a high level of speech to achieve and with a lot of effort may become a life long pursuit.

    Speaking positively has become a meaningful challenge for me. Being grateful for challenges and seeing them as opportunities for growth, has helped me become a happier and more resilient person. My goal is to identify positive qualities and character traits that are known to help people achieve success and to model them as much as possible for my own clients, readers and family.

    This year I aim to provide fresh and useful advice to educate, inform and inspire readers and myself. The research and advice I share with readers are principles I’m striving to integrate in my own life. I hope that I’m able to be a role model in as much as I’m willing to learn from my mistakes, embrace criticism, and persist in striving to give more than I take. I wish all of you a healthy, successful new year filled with positive new behaviors, major breakthroughs and inspiring role models!

    Beth Kuhel, M.B.A., C.E.I.P., Executive Leadership and Career transition coach, writes about leadership strategies, career advancement and improving the workplace for Forbes, Huffington Post, Personal Branding blog and has been featured in Business Insider, Entrepreneur magazine, Tiny Pulse, U.S. News & World Report. Beth’s weekly career CJN career column was sponsored by Weatherhead School of Management.

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