Does advocacy seem like a good way to make your contribution to the world? Does the first step of advocating seem too big to tackle? I get that. I really do. I mean how to get started? Advocacy seems like what other brave folks do. Advocacy appears to require knowledge and networking and information.
And then… Think Big.
Has advocacy been on your mind?
Does advocacy seem like a good way to make your contribution to the world?
Does the first step of advocating seem too big to tackle?
I get that. I really do.
I mean how to get started? Advocacy seems like what other brave folks do.
Advocacy appears to require knowledge and networking and information.
And that’s an accurate component of advocacy.
But here’s the wonderful thing.
You can make Your advocacy what You want it to be.
There are no rules, no requirements, no memberships. Often it costs very little in dollars.
In 2014 when I jumped feet-first into advocating, I started small and then worked into the next logical steps. I began on Twitter, so the cost to my wallet was zero dollars. Zero. It was a great first step.
So that’s why I suggest: Start Small, Then Think Big.
I say the word ‘big’ because we should not limit our vision based on our ability of today. Because guess what? Our abilities grow as we advocate through the weeks and months. If you have a big, bold vision of what you want to accomplish as an advocate, please trust that your abilities and network of allies, mentors and teachers will help you evolve and grow.
As we speak, I’m gobsmacked by the good fortune that has come my way since 2014. My efforts to learn and to reach out to mentors has provided me with unmeasurable satisfaction and success. I am simply overjoyed by the folks who have helped me grow in my skills, talents and capabilities.
Let’s pivot to my next point…
It’s common practice to write down your intentions and goals if you want to remain focused on them.
My personal notes to myself in 2014 reflect my desire to be an advocate. Then I expanded the notes as I learned more. Eventually, my “Think Big” step came into play four (4) years later in late December 2017.
That is when I made the decision to start this podcast. It was scary and wonderful and exhilarating.
But let’s talk about you for a moment.
If you wish to begin advocating, here are my suggestions:
- View the future as three stages. Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced
- If you are a Beginner, just know that knowledge and wisdom will come.
- If you are an Intermediate (with volunteer experience), what is your Big Goal? Big Vision?
- If you are an Advanced advocate, please share your tips and suggestions! And feel free to share my blog or podcast with others.
For Beginners: let’s talk baby steps. Yup. Ten small baby eventually lead to one moderate-sized step. My baby step was volunteering at the county animal shelter as a photographer on weekends. This opened my eyes and touched my heart. It gave me incentive to look at the bigger picture. It was invaluable, yet heart-breaking. It made me realize how much work needed to be done on behalf of animals.
Yet this short-term assignment taught me that I could take my time and try other volunteer gigs. I realized that each time I stepped up to volunteer, I would gain confidence and insights into myself.
As a beginner, just take it slow and take a look around. Perhaps social media is a good place to start.
You could Google someone who is already doing good work. What can you learn by watching them?
For Intermediate advocates: you have your feet wet – a bit of experience. Consider taking a personal inventory of your skills, talents, and knowledge. Anything hidden away from years ago? Do you have a long-lost talent or hobby that lights you up? How can you use this in the service of the cause or community that is near and dear to your heart? If you can’t think of any new angles, ask someone who knows you well. They might remind you of your love for music or event planning or painting. The world of advocacy needs all skills, all hobbies and all compassionate perspectives. What’s up your sleeve, eh?
For Advanced advocates: what knowledge and personal insights could you share with the community? Do you belong to a meetup group or a local association? Do you like to write? Tell stories? Or are you already part of a global effort? What is the next big effort on your radar? Question for you: how did you begin advocating? Take a trip down memory lane and it may bring inspiration on how you might guide a beginner advocate. After all, we’re all on the same team…Team Kindness.
If we are to create a kinder, more compassionate world, we need all hands-on-deck. We need every individual to participate and bring their unique gifts to causes and communities who need someone to speak on their behalf.
Just a side note on introverts. If you are like me and social gatherings and big events are a bit daunting, just focus your efforts in places where you are comfortable. Advocacy is really like a big chalkboard. We may draw ideas and then erase the parts that we don’t like. But drawing the idea and pictures and words on the chalkboard gives us a place to literally sign our names as a way of proving our intent.
Take a deep breath. Sit with a cup of tea outside on the porch. Daydream on how you might bring kindness to our world. Look up at the beautiful blue sky…because quite literally, when it comes to you advocating, the sky is the limit.
Wishing you a wonderful and long advocating adventure. It’s really quite a wild and marvelous ride.
So, thanks for tuning in and listening to my podcast, where Kindness is the Theme and Advocacy is the Action.
This is Dee, the Introverted Advocate.