5 Lousy Excuses for Walking Away from an Advocacy Practice – and 1 Very Good One

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The blame game has been on my mind recently after several emails or phone conversations, plus the results of an exit survey offered when APHA memberships expire. In all cases, people gave reasons (as in, excuses) for why they felt like it was time to give up their practices or let their memberships expire.

In almost every case where someone actually started a practice, then decided to step away, they blame some part of their practice that didn’t work out. They wanted to be independent advocates. They certainly expected to succeed when they got started. Their passion and drive were clearly there!  But – they failed. And there is always a reason, or more like a lousy excuse.

It makes me sad, because they have given up dreams, because there will be people who don’t get the help they need, and because if they had been more diligent, those negatives didn’t need to happen.

Thus today’s post. Because the rest of us can learn so much from lousy excuses!  Here are five of them (in no particular order), along with the reasons why they don’t hold water.  Plus one great reason to walk away – one we can all admire.

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Advocates Are Afraid to Do This – Until They Love to Do It

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Earlier this year we hosted one of our APHA Workshop weekends*, with about 30 individuals who are somewhere in the process of growing an advocacy practice.

The APHA Workshops were originally designed to support the BUSINESS of advocacy only. The idea was that most advocates have abundant skills and abilities to advocate – they’ve advocated for themselves and loved ones, and sometimes non-family patients for years. What they didn’t know was how to successfully start and run a sustainable business / practice to allow them to do their advocacy work.  For five years, we hosted those original workshops all over the country, and student-advocates provided feedback indicating they were worthwhile.

Until… about a year ago it became clear that there was one major piece in the teaching of the budding profession of advocacy that was missing, a piece that no one had really named yet. Those of us who are leaders in the profession could describe it, but we had trouble honing in on a concise description, or definition, or better yet, a single word that would allow us to communicate about it.

This became even clearer at this year’s first workshop, mentioned above, where we added a component to address that missing piece. Some attendees, those new to advocacy, struggled to solve the real life patient / caregiver problems we posed. Observing some of the struggle helped me figure it out….

So today I’m going to name it, describe it, and then ask YOU to provide examples.

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