1) Istikhara is to ask Allah to choose for us a path for which we are very confused. It is performed by taking the name of Allah.
2) You should always rely on Allah, but He has given us reasoning and mind to think and apply. If we didn’t use our reasoning then every person will only sit a wait for a sign of what to do and no one would improve or learn. We must use our reasoning and knowledge and simultaneously ask Allah to guide us to the best course