knowing when to listen to counsel

A couple of days back, I watched the fifth episode of Game of Thrones, Season 5 (I know I’m lagging!), and there’s something that I learned that I wanted to share with you. 

In the episode, Daenerys expresses her angst and dilemma about what decision she should take next as two of her counselors have provided her with polar opposite suggestions. She then asks Missandei about what she thinks. Missandei, after a bit of hesitation, says, “I can only tell you what I’ve seen, Your Grace. I have seen you listen to your counselors. I have seen you lean on their experience when your own was lacking and weigh the choices they put before you. And I have seen you ignore your counselors because there was a better choice. One that only you could see.”

It’s wise to surround ourselves with exceptional advisors and mentors. Even though we know we’re getting the best advice from them, we need to understand two important truths. The first one is that all humans have flaws. Even the most knowledgeable, wise and outstanding counselors have shortcomings and at times they can have a lack of foresight and be completely wrong. And the second truth is that no one understands your mission and your vision better than you. A crucial part of being an exceptional leader is to know when to listen to your advisors and when to go against them and follow your instincts. 

Sometimes, we have to lean on their experience and their insights in order to make better decisions, but sometimes we also have to take the risk of going into uncharted territories and doing what must be done in order to bring our vision into life. Listen to your counselors, but then do what resonates best with you and your sacred pursuit.