And They Called it Puppy L-o-o-ve

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firstlove< ….cue Paul Anka or Donny Osmond…. >

….  Remember when you were a teenager in puppy love?  Oh! You couldn’t stand to be away from the new person in your life!  You knew you would love each other forever – but the rest of the world that was getting in the way of that love. THEY thought you were too young, but you knew better! ….

And they called it puppy love
Oh I guess they’ll never know
How a young heart really feels
And why I love her so

It was the highest of highs, finding love for the first time!  Like no other, you couldn’t imagine feeling any better than you felt at that point in your life.

Hormone-driven passion… the dopamine, serotonin, estrogen and testosterone… Giddy with new-found love, you took chances and made stupid decisions….

And, as happens with any risk… sometimes you got caught in compromising positions – sneaking out, passing notes in class, or even the ultimate in getting caught when you thought no one else would be home….

At the extreme you might have even paid an “ultimate” type of price. Your reputation, a teen pregnancy, a total rethinking and reshaping of your future….

Of course, what we all know about puppy love is that it doesn’t last. The reality of puppy love is that you eventually have to deal with the real world (like parents and money!) no matter how distasteful that might seem and no matter how much it appears, at the time, to shatter your dreams. Few puppy love relationships last longer than a blip on the radar of a lifetime. Yet, we learn so much from the experience.

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Gallimaufry: Your Questions, Some Answers, Media and Just Stuff

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gallimaufryLast summer I came upon this great word – a word I had never heard before, but which can be used in so many aspects of conversation and life!  The word is “gallimaufry.”  It means a hodgepodge, a jumble, or confused medley of things – items, ideas, anything at all.

It’s a great word for an advocacy entrepreneur!  It describes the many ideas that come together to define challenges and create solutions, or the many activities it takes to achieve success, or even the creative approaches it takes to help our clients, or help each other.  I’ve even adopted the word for one section of my private blog.

And – it describes today’s post, which is a gallimaufry of information for you, inspired by a number of things:  current APHA activities, last week’s survey which asks you to help us determine topics and locations for our 2015 APHA advocacy business workshops, the time of year, current events – yes, a real hodgepodge, jumble or confused medley.  (Why not?)

So here you go – today’s gallimaufry:

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The Best 3 Minutes and 16 Seconds You’ll Spend Today, This Week, Month or Year

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mikiagrawalOne of our APHA members* forwarded this video link to me, interested in the idea posed about starting one’s practice before it is perfect.

So I watched it…  And watching it was perhaps the best 3 minutes and 16 seconds I have spent on business motivation in a very long time. So I ask you, too, to spend your next few minutes viewing it – then come back here for a few comments….

Standing Out in a Noisy World

<tap> <tap> <tap> <waiting for everyone to come back to this post….> <tap> <tap> <tap>

OK – so in those few minutes I heard a very young and clearly experienced and knowledgeable Miki Agrawal** sum up the mental approaches and attitudes it takes to be a successful entrepreneur.  (I am truly impressed!)

Her suggestions, and her approach, are spot on for those who think they want to start and grow a patient advocacy business! I’ll provide some highlights here because they are so valuable.

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Monetizing, Scaling – Making Smart Choices Affects Your Advocacy Practice and Income

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businessgrowth

An email this week comes from one of our APHA members, who I will call Bernice, who reminds me of how easy it is to lose sight of what is important to us when it comes to building our advocacy practices.

Bernice is in the process of entering a business plan competition which, if she wins, will provide her with a $10,000 grant to help her grow her practice.

Her concern is, that in order to win the money, she is going to have to write a business plan that’s about “going big.”  From her email to me:

“We have retired execs who are mentors, and they
just don’t see how I’m going to go “big” with this business.”

So she wanted to know if I have suggestions for how to build that in.

“So, as I push forward to make this a “winning” business plan entry, what do you see as the most viable way to monetize our businesses to take it up several notches?”

A few important points for all of us to consider:

Bernice is asking about two aspects of growing a business:  monetizing and scaling. Monetizing simply means finding more ways to maximize the income from the work she is doing. Scaling refers to the growth of a business – more products or services, more employees, more customers and of course, bigger income to support all of that (and hopefully more profitability too.)

To which I say… whoa!  Wait a minute!  Who says any of that is important?

Now, at first I expect you’re reading those words and laughing. Of course they are important! (you’re thinking.)  Who doesn’t want their business to make more money and to grow bigger?

To which I will respond…  Making more money? Of course.  But growing bigger?  Maybe you DO and maybe you DON’T.

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Cruel to Be Kind and Kind to be Cruel

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cruelI received an email from a woman named Irma. She wants to become a health advocate, to assist people in her community who have Alzheimers. (Bless her for that.)  But she was laid off from her job, and doesn’t have any money. She asked me if I would let her join Alliance of Professional Health Advocates for free so she could “learn how to do it.”

Irma’s request was not the first I’ve received over the years.  I am also asked to give people free copies of my books, and even loan or donate money to help them get started with their practices.

In the early years of building this patient advocacy profession, I used to struggle over the answers to these requests.  Should I support these folks to help them get started when they didn’t have the means to do it themselves?  If I said “yes” – would that really help them?  If I said “no” – would I be hurting them, and would I feel guilty?  How much did I owe to the profession to build a strong foundation?  How much did I owe compassionate people who want to help others?  How could I even determine which answer served the requester, the profession, the organization, or me the best? Would one answer serve them all?

It took a lot of soul searching…..

And ultimately I came to one conclusion, one point of view that helps me answer them all.

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