“Here’s What You’re Doing Right”: How to Give Great Advice

In 2019, I was listening to Howard Stern interview Trevor Noah.

(PSA: Howard Stern’s interviews are excellent. The rest of it? I can take it or leave it—or leave it or leave it.)

At any rate:

Howard was giving Trevor Noah a hard time about knowing Oprah Winfrey. His challenge?

“OK, what’s the best advice Oprah ever gave you?”

Trevor Noah replied,

“She told me,

‘Sometimes advice isn’t telling people what to do. It’s telling them what they’re doing well that they might not be aware of.’”

I thought about this today as I wrote a note of thanks to our veterinarian, who spent a portion of his holiday weekend helping us say goodbye to another one of our dogs.

His words were invaluable, and it occurred to me that – in addition to offering gratitude— it was important let him know how helpful his words to us have been. **

So he can use them again to help others.

I share this today in the hope that, the next time you see someone do or say something you find particularly thoughtful/helpful/outstanding, you will be sure to let them know.

** For those of you interested in what the vet said to make the unbearable, bearable:

With my best big dog, Tiger: “If you wait, it’s possible that it will end in an emergency: with fear and upset for everyone. It’s hard now, but doing it today means it will happen in an environment of calm and quiet.”

With sweet Macho: “The longer you wait, the easier it will be for you but the harder it will be for him.”