Today morning I got engaged in a unproductive conversation – seeking free advice. I slipped the slippery slope – to start giving free advice; you know that feeling of ‘of use’ when you are ‘advising’ someone. By the time, I realized I have given my self-control to the person seeking free advice or rather I would cleanup his mind of the confusion he was going through. Since I did not maintain self-awareness; not kept the required ‘distance from his thing’ and got involved, I did not ask myself some of the key questions:
- What is he looking from me?
- What can I provide him?
- How much time should I be invested in this?
I got carried away to have a long phone conversation – not knowing what am I doing or what is he looking from me? It did not end with 1 hr phone conversation. Thereafter, I had promised the person that I will get back after thinking about the software solution – he is confused about. I spent 1-2 hr – jotting requirements, thinking about rough technical design, software components and areas to research. In short, sketching the software solution. I thereafter called him to get his email id – to send the advise as one page document. He did not come back with the email id!!
I got utterly frustrated realizing – How stupid I have been? I lost valuable half day of time getting caught up in the free advice syndrome!
Before investing time in a conversation or problem – there is so much need to think – why am I invested in the problem? There are many incidences I have gone through in past – when a friend will open up his problems & frustration in a casual – face or phone conversation and I have spent time in and after the conversation “trying to help” him.
Only today – did I realize – not always people are looking for a solution – they are simply looking up to you as a sounding board; Be self-aware; Be empathetic; but switch off from the conversation the moment it is through and switch on to your priority of the day!