Monday, August 20, 2012
Advocacy is a Magic Wand
Being an advocate for yourself, for a cause, or for someone else is a wonderful proof of the existence of magic. I'm sure that the wise magicians out there do advocate from time to time. It might be interesting to think about advocacy a bit, all of us together. This will strengthen our skills with this particular magic wand. To advocate to to get someone, who may formerly have been in opposition or on the sidelines, to to see the benefits in helping or working with you. This morning one of my mentees was able to advocate for himself with a family judge. We had done a bit of going over the issues at stake and done some rehearsal before he went to court. He just called me to report that the judge had taken the steps he wanted and he expects this to help his family in the long run. So clarification before hand is an important aspect in advocating for something. Another principle is being sure that you can present your case in a way that is not adversarial, and is easy to understand. When the other side can see benefits to them that is also a plus. I did some advocating for someone this morning with a career college. I found a person whose job it was to make sure the graduates get into the career they have trained for. So I knew she already had a stake in the success of the person I was advocating for. Then I presented my case, about the snag that had happened, and she gave me helpful information and told me to call her back is she could give further help. So another principle is to find someone who is in a helping role. That will predispose them to look for positive solutions. Also, mention how positive the experience of working with them, or their group, has already been. Another point in advocacy is to work to establish a workable plan, or doable steps. You are not looking for a sudden win of a huge lottery. You are looking for a real, yet magical ( because it will have some happy zing to it) step in a better direction. You are bringing some good to your life or to another person's life. Go forth and advocate. May the spark be with you.