Ad·vo·cate: campaigner, spokesperson, fighter, crusader, champion; A person who actively promotes the goals of a cause; a person who pleads for or in behalf of another.
Have you ever been in a situation where you felt compelled to speak up for what you felt was right? Perhaps you know someone who tirelessly supports others.
If you have a child who has a disability, or you have gone through an unexpected change, it’s most likely that you have been an advocate at some point in time. Or, you have been blessed with knowing someone who has provided some form of encouragement and assistance to you and your family.
Standing up for what you believe in can be frightening and emotionally draining. Some people think intimidating others is advocacy. It’s not.
Advocacy is about having a conversation, learning about various perspectives and coming to a common understanding. It’s about being patient and continuing to teach others about your beliefs and continuing to work toward positive change.
Some people have a natural flair for advocacy and make it look easy. If you want to improve your advocacy skills, or you are looking for someone to support you, there are some personal characteristics that I have noticed about effective advocates that you may want to consider.
9 Traits of Effective Advocates:
- Self Worth – They value themselves and they have a high regard for the goals and dreams they have set out to accomplish. In extraordinary circumstances, unnecessary barriers or limitations will not stop them.
- Awareness – They are in tune with their emotions and are able to read the emotions of others, careful not to push too far, too soon.
- Live in the Present – They try not to let worry and doubt get in the way. They don’t look too far ahead and do not dwell in the past.
- Selfless – They are generous in their efforts and their actions are for global change, for the benefit of many.
- Continuous Renewal – They are open to learning and are energized by renewed beliefs and perspectives.
- Trusting – They trust in themselves and believe in the positive nature of others.
- Focusing on Common Purpose – They are very good at realizing a common goal and will utilize that to turn a once contentious relationship into a partnership.
- Self-Acceptance – They don’t judge themselves and therefore are not hypercritical of others.
- Welcome Change – They view change as an opportunity; change is what makes life interesting. They are confident in the present and look for the security of the past.