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To be an Advocate, Be an Advocate

10 Habits of Highly Successful Advocates

The title sounds like the opening to a self-help program.  In a way, this is about helping you, the advocate, become more successful or effective.  Webster’s defines “successful” as “resulting or terminating in success".  And, Webster’s defines “effective” as “producing a decided, decisive, or desired effect". 

The key point is “Did you achieve what you wanted?”  To help achieve what you want, the below list of 10 habits are offered.

1. Successful advocates pick their battles carefully!

  • act strategically
  • set priorities

Start with a plan of what you are going to do, and priorities, and stay focused on the plan and priorities.  Stay focused on the plan and don’t wander into non-priority, off-topic areas.

2. Successful advocates have lots of patience …

  • with themselves
  • and, the people they are trying to motivate

Success depends on relationships.  Relationships take time to nurture and develop.  Relationships depend on trust.  Take the time to learn about the issues and about your potential partners and your opposition.

3. Successful advocates have persistence …

  • don't give up easily

Being a successful advocate means creating solutions and finding new ways to solve problems.

4. Successful advocates are creative…

  • approach problems in new ways

Approaching problems with the same solution and expecting different results is said to be insanity.  Successful advocates find common ground and create solutions.

5. Successful advocates reach out…

  • be an ambassador for trails
  • seek cooperation and collaboration

Whenever possible, share your personal enjoyment of your trail experience and the importance to you and the time spent with friends and family.  Engage others to share their experiences and what it means to them. 

6.  Successful advocates are resourceful…

  • not afraid to be scroungers
  • take what you can get when you can get it

If you have a trail project planned and need supplies, ask for donations and accept what is offered.  There may be times you are offered something you don’t really need for the current project, but, your may need it or you may be able to trade it for something you do need.

7. Successful advocates think nationally, act locally...

  • National events can influence local activities

Be alert to events that are happening in other areas across the nation.  What you do locally often will influence what is happening nationally,

8. Successful advocates are prepared…

  • find the time to get ready for the next challenge
  • learn the administrative processes

Plan ahead for your next meeting.  Learn about the agency hosting the meeting.  Understand the laws and regulations that control their actions.  Understanding the meeting topic will help you provide comments to support your preferred action.

9. Successful advocates are committed…

  • hard work equals results
  • motivate others

Commitment means hard work, resources and assistance of others.  Set an example for other to follow with your commitment.

10.  Successful advocates take risks

  • It is easier to ask forgiveness than to ask permission.

If you have educated yourself about an issue, don’t be afraid to act.

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