I have been thinking a lot these past couple weeks about advocacy. This has been primarily with the passing of 2 incredible advocates who practiced in the greater Pittsburgh area, although their reach was profoundly so much more wide spread. Both of these folks were advocates extrodinare, though their styles were markedly different. One, Chuck Peters, was flamboyant, brash, and loud; the other, Lucy Spruill, was softer, focused, and dogged. Both did amazing things for others.
An advocate is someone who pleads a case for themselves, or others. They must have a passion in their heart, understand basic human behavior, understand power and how to use it, and must be willing to go out of their comfort zone to make change happen. They understand that you need other people to join your cause and must know how to organize people for the maximum impact.
In my own advocacy development, I watched and learned from people like Lucy Spruill and Chuck Peters. I joined them on many occasions where we were both successful, and unsuccessful. Further I studied advocacy in graduate school, and recently wrote a book, The Macro Change Handbook (lapublishing.com, 2015) to share lessons learned from people like Lucy, Chuck, and so many more incredible advocates who have stood for something, and then worked to make it happen.
So what do you stand for? What do you feel needs to be changed? More importantly, what are you doing to make this world a better place for those who follow? The passing of Lucy and Chuck is a wake up call to all of us that life is short, and the time is now. At the end of your road, you want people to say that you made the world better than you found it; that you stood for something; that you were an Advocate!