I always wondered what it would be like to give free advice in my favorite outdoor spot, Central Park, but my fear of looking bad paralyzed me from taking action. About a year ago, I was determined to live beyond my fear and turn this curiosity into a reality. What began as a one-day challenge, transformed into a weekly practice of using self-expression to connect with strangers.
This positive experience recently led to a new curiosity: What if free advice was offered in public spaces throughout the world, starting with NYC? What started as an individual project called Free Advice Girl is now expanding into The Free Advice Project, a community effort to increase positive connections amongst strangers.
The Free Advice Project creates an outlet for anyone who wants to participate and release troubling thoughts so they can carry on with their day a little lighter, with a fresh perspective and new insight. Imagine the difference this will make in how we approach our everyday lives and treat others on the street and in subways, with strangers and loved ones. There’d be so much more aliveness and connection.
While developing this community project, a wave of doubt and anxiety came over me. Every choice began to feel like it was a matter of life or death. This fear of failure blocked me from the ability to make any choices at all. What happened to that sense of freedom and fun that occurred when developing Free Advice Girl? So, I called my friend expecting some sympathy and compassion but instead I got a mouthful of truth.
“I won’t appeal to you as your fears. If I relate to you as worried, it will only increase that part of your identity. I will relate to you as the confident Lisa that I know.”
Instead of being sweet and nurturing, she shook me into reality. If I act from that place of fear, it will only inhibit my actions. But if I step into my power, I am limitless.
At first, I felt cranky about her approach. “Why won’t you feel sorry for me?” But it was the greatest gift to be spoken to in a way that related to my best self. It allowed me to gain control over my fears instead of having them dominate me. I got off the phone feeling in charge and was able to move forward and make powerful choices!
New Perspective of the Day: When giving or receiving advice, start to notice, am I appealing to their best self or am I giving into their fears?