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The Answer

Early to Rise The Details Each morning I try to spend fifteen minutes on our ETR Success Facebook page (www.successQnA.com) answering reader questions. Unfortunately, some questions are impossible to answer without me sitting down and talking to the reader for hours. There are so many details I need to know before I can make a recommendation. I'm sure you encounter the same dilemma on a daily basis. Any leader does. Today, Bob Burg gives an example from his life, and shows you how to handle the situation where you feel like you don't have "the answer".

Craig Ballantyne

"Be wise enough to know that you don't know. Be humble enough to admit it."

The Answer?

By Bob Burg I often receive requests from readers for advice on interpersonal problems they are having.

Though I've never attempted to present myself as the Dear Abby of the personal development genre, perhaps because I teach "people skills" they figure I might have the answer.

Actually, that makes sense. The biggest challenge, however, is incomplete information, both because I'm exposed to only one side of the issue and it's difficult in one email for them to provide me with the complete context.

None of which I am privy to. Then. I want to be at peace with people. Immediately below is her question and then my response. things like this don't happen in a vacuum.based on nothing more than her own personal belief systems . I'm so sorry you are going through an uncomfortable situation such as this. please form your own response before you read mine. let's look at the actual problem when dispensing advice without knowing enough facts. I don't know.came to a false conclusion. If you read the book.Earlier this year I received a question from a reader on my Facebook page who wanted advice regarding a hurtful situation. but I have forgiven her. Again. the fact is . "Should I stop giving?" that depends upon the reason why you gave in the first place. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz you'll see there are most likely a great number of assumptions at play within this one transaction. either in terms of cause or in terms of one's response.. for me to assume anything would be out of line on my part. Regarding your question. what do I do about a person who is angry with me because I sent her a card and gift for Christmas and who thinks that by doing that I'm trying to buy her friendship? That is absolutely untrue and I can't understand her attitude. While I understand that you'd like to know why. Typically. after you read mine. then the ." ---------- My reply: Thank you for writing. If your giving was without an agenda and she . history and personalities of the two of you. for that is very important. I have no basis upon which to form an intelligent opinion to know why she responded the way she did or the appropriateness or inappropriateness of her response. as I simply don't know you well enough to know. If I may suggest. This kind of thing has ruined our friendship for I have no desire to visit this person anymore. "Dear Bob. But since this happened I wonder if I should stop giving. Not knowing the context.. When I give a gift I do it to make that person happy.

has ruined our friendship for I have no desire to visit this person anymore. please know that. So. "no. so often. this . if you haven't "truly" forgiven her. it is not for me to assume either way. I really didn't give her an answer. I feel the need to ask if that is really so. that is nothing to feel guilty about. ". it's probably healthier for you to be aware that you are still working through the forgiveness process and have actually not yet forgiven her (or. It's called being human. don't stop giving in the way you are giving. Would there be anything in the past history of your friendship that would cause her to think. Might you perhaps be saying that you forgive her because you believe it is correct to forgive her (as you said. that you might have an agenda? Again I simply do not know. you wrote. "that is very important") and that you'd like to think you've forgiven her? If you were to re-read right before saying you've forgiven her. I hope this has provided some insight in terms of questions you can ask yourself and is of assistance both in this and in further dealings with others. However.. While you say you have forgiven her. for any reason. what is my point in writing this? Only that." With that said.answer would be. forgiven yourself for whatever part you might or might not unconsciously feel you have played in this). I sense that might not be totally the case. If we are coaching or mentoring someone. Based on what could simply be my own assumptions. when someone asks for advice or an opinion. ---------- As you just saw." Again. so any definitive answer that I provide would be based on an assumption on my part.. we base our response on how WE view the world (our own assumptions caused by/based on our own belief systems).

was based on the anger issues he had regarding his parents.based on extremely limited information . along with the arrogance of thinking he could possibly know enough about such a hugely important situation without any more information than he had.at worst . One additional thought: I can personally (and.before we can helpfully respond. there is no way to know for sure without further exploration. . too) come up with numerous reasons and scenarios for what happened between the two people in the initial example we used earlier.ruin their relationship and . My point is that it is easy to fall into the trap of answering questions when we simply don't have enough information to go on. I'll never forget the time I saw a well-known speaker leading a youth session at an event I was attending. one or more might be. I knew about certain things regarding the speaker's history that indicated to me that his advice . I'd imagine you can. we must first ask helpful questions. and not one of them might be correct. a young man asked a question regarding a situation he was having with his father and how he should handle it. his personal history and belief systems. Interesting is that this speaker was extremely successful in his field and in many regards had a lot of wisdom. But. During Q & A. these with the primary purpose of exposing all assumptions that will get in the way of truth.advice can then manifest itself as a reflection of ourselves rather than those involved in the challenge. My feeling is that . But.significantly slow down any progress that would be made. the above wasn't a coaching session.that between a parent and child. isn't that the point.at best . Of course. possibly deeply harmed one of the most sacred relationships on this earth . Or. the speaker provided some advice that would . With nothing more to go on than what the youngster told him.

. Especially our own. And.enough information to advise correctly. that we are willing to question premises.just as importantly . as leaders and influencers let's be sure that we have enough wisdom and .So.