Listening and giving advice

I’m pretty good at listening, at reflecting other people’s thoughts and perspectives, and at giving advice. It’s part of my personality, as well as my training as a social researcher, consultant, coach and conflict resolution professional. So when my younger sister asked me for advice on her new business venture I of course didn’t hesitate. This was a topic I was very familiar with, both from my own personal aspirations of starting on my own, as well as from working with other new and emerging companies. The advice I gave her was both professional and sound, yet the words I used felt hollow to me, without conviction. I pondered this for quite some time.

My sister is a talented and amazing person. In fact, this description would fit any one of my four siblings. Each of them has shown time and time again how they can persevere in times of hardship, rise again and shift direction, and excel both personally, professionally and academically. Yet observing how my sister has taken her ideas, how her ideas have grown and matured, and how she has been able to transform her dreams into action while also working to secure the future of the farm that has been the home of my family for generations…it’s impressive. And it’s inspiring. She is driven by a passion and a personal conviction that this is the right thing for her, her family, the legacy of past generations, and the community she is so much a part of. So she has launched her own business, and she is off to a great start!

Who am I to give advice on my sister’s new business? For several years I’ve had a business plan for a consulting venture. But for whatever reason I’ve never taken the leap. There has been many reasons of coursse – financial, family, work, time – but the truth is most likely that I never believed in it or wanted it enough. I’ve run out of excuses. The events over the last few years have made me understand that starting on my own is the right thing to do. And I have a wonderful wife who is encouraging me to do it. So, the only person holding me back is me.

It’s time for me to listen, and it’s time for me to take my own advice. I’m starting my own consulting business. Wish me luck!

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