"Helping people who help people"

Advice ABOUT Advice

I love hearing about advice given by experts.  It isn’t so much to hear if it’s “right or wrong” but more that we all have our own perspective.  A few interesting things I’ve heard lately, and my reactions to them.

Blogging – you shouldn’t blog more than once a week.  ????????????  I almost laughed when I heard that, after hearing a Gen Y friend of mine very recently say if someone doesn’t update at least every 4 days she takes them off her main blog reading list.  Once a week is ancient in the web world.   I’m not sure where this person heard the one week rule.  If you have loyal readers, they LOVE hearing from you.  There shouldn’t be a limit on how FEW blog posts you should do!  (I do feel strongly about a long delay on blog entries, which is just going to kill anyone wanting to read your blog.  They don’t trust you really pay attention to it, so why should they.  The far limit is probably once a month.  But if someone sees your last blog entry was a month ago, they’ll probably waffle in their head about bookmarking you or not.

A therapist friend was advised to really focus on her Ph.D. in a world of coaches and self-made “relationship coaches.”   My immediate reaction was to ask who her ideal blog reader is?  If her “brand” is really about her life story, her personality, her “role” as wife, mother, therapist, educator, then the Ph.D. really doesn’t matter at all to her readers.  It’s not like having “just a Masters” is going to make any difference for those readers.  And I wonder what “focusing on the Ph.D.” really means and what the negative consequences could be?  Even though my own father has two masters and a Ph.D., I didn’t grow up with that as some focus,  raised to believe a Ph.D. made you any smarter than someone else.  In fact if you overemphasize it, I sort of roll my eyes.  I would rather see you “overemphasize” the speciality you have and how you wrote a dissertation (I bet at least 50% or more of Americans have no idea that a dissertation is about adding something new to the field) demonstrating some principle or idea that you use in your practice, classes, etc.  Put another way, saying you have a Ph.D. just makes me think how much school debt you had and how many years you were NOT WORKING in your field.  But focusing on the area you studied gives you a lot more credibility, to me.  A Ph.D. can also distance you from the “every person” or from someone who is “capable of giving really grounded, solid advice” because some people might stereotype a Ph.D. as living in an academic pretend-land.

I was just telling my husband about this blog entry and it lead to some fun discussions.  He repeats again to me that what I’m good at is not giving advice but PROCESSING things with people.  I don’t have a ‘one two three step approach’ things.  I’m all about the processes, discussion, and transmission of a way of thinking about the web world rather than “do this, then that, and you’ll get success.”  Straight up advice is a lot more dull and doesn’t really teach you much, as all the therapists reading this know.  It’s the transformative powers of therapy that help people, not the “do this, then that” advice.

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