This week on Romance Writers Weekly, I set the topic!
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given? Could be in writing, in life, for your career. What’s the one thing that has stuck with you through the years?
I had a specific piece of advice in mind when I suggested this topic for our hop. It was something my father said to me, and I’ve found it particularly useful many times: “Give it a month.”
He said it to me the first time in Grade Five. I had been assigned to the classroom of a teacher known to put fear into the heart of the most hardened reprobate (which I was not). This was a in the late 1970’s, when Catholic schools such as the one I attended still allowed the strap as punishment. He was known to mete it out for transgressions such as not doing your homework, and while I was always a good, consciousness student, I was terrified about being in his classroom. There were, however, two Grade Five classes in my school at the time, so my dad said, “Give it a month, and if after that you can’t bear it we’ll ask to move you.”
After four weeks, I can’t say I had a complete reversal of opinion, but I had learned he was certainly strict, but he was fair. I settled in, and while I can't say he became my favourite teacher, he wasn’t the worst I had, either. Giving it a month had taught me I could deal with it.
My dad offered the same advice when I went away to the BC Institute of Technology to study radio broadcasting after graduation. I was SO homesick the first few days. “Give it a month,” he said. Luckily, it didn’t even take that long, as after about two weeks something clicked and I suddenly felt at ease.
I’ve used the same advice at work, whether it was new duties or a new boss or a new corporate policy. “Giving it a month” is long enough to avoid the kneejerk reaction we often have to new situations, and yet isn't so long that you can't bear it even if a change does need to be made. I’ve offered it to my children, too. In most cases, something we think will be unbearable, after a few days becomes manageable, and at some point in time, possibly even enjoyable.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever had? I’d love to hear about it in the comments – I’ll be sure to reply. And then hop on over to Leslie Hachtel and see what she has to offer!