“You have great talent as a writer and a coach.” Jeff Sandefer, Acton Academy Austin
I just completed work for an educational movement that I wholeheartedly believe in and not a moment too soon. As an advocate and coach, I know my role and it is my greatest joy to be able to do this kind of work knowing when it is time to move out of coaching and back into my role as an advocate. The world of education is experiencing a revolution and not everyone is happy about it. Many people are afraid of change, just because of the uneasy feeling of not knowing what lies ahead.
It is particularly difficult when you become a parent. I had a higher tolerance for risk before the boys were born, but I have learned that fear holds you back and that is what we will teach our children. I want them to explore their world and how to use their gifts in it.
I always knew I wanted to be a writer, but I was afraid to do it. It was not practical. How do you make a living as a writer? This was before, during, and after music. Writing unlike music has always been there.
“Come on now, buckle down and find a real job” is something that would knock around in my head…and I did just that over and over again until I identified my ideal work.
I loved writing as a kid, and it was not until my first college creative writing class that I ever experienced the red pen of death. It was like a death for me. I lost confidence. I lost my voice. The one that was not afraid to say what needed to be said. I am brave when I write.
The world of work is changing and movement makers are building companies, brands, and tribes, but they need something. They need the champions of the brand. The advocates of their vision to show the maker the things she has hidden from herself. Seth Godin talks about having your customers be your brand advocates and I take this one step further. What if those advocates are also connectors and amplifiers?
As makers, they are often so deep into their world of making that there is a language they develope. A hidden world that is not always transparent to those wanting to peer in to get a closer look. Makers guard their vision. They have to in some way or their vision would never become anything. They can work to share their vision without intrusions into their world.
How does a maker use the skills of an advocate to share their message?
It is a delicate balance of two very different skill sets, that actually do not work together well in an organization. If an advocate is to do their best work, they have to be shielded from the day-to-day necessities that go into building a movement. Their excitement and passion for the cause will be affected if they are too in the actual making. They will know too much. Advocate types soak up emotions like rays of sunshine and for that reason the day-to-day running of a business is not a good fit for them. It deletes their energy. It affects their effectiveness.
So, how do advocate types create a living? First, they need to know that they are an advocate, and they have to use their skills in advocacy and sharing on themselves. They need to see how their talents and gifts are needed in the new economy. More importantly they have to understand the makers.
Understanding the makers and helping them understand your talents of bringing their vision to the world is a recipe for unbelievable success.
I am an advocate. I will champion causes that will change the world if I believe in them. Advocates feel compelled to do something that leaves a legacy.
Many of them know this, but are afraid to say it out loud. They accept jobs just to have income, instead of designing or seeking the perfect fit.
There is a perfect fit for the advocates. There is a place for a champion of a cause. That cause can be anything, from the writer who must share her struggles through stories that might help one child overcome their struggle in life. It might be a photographer who feels a need to document the lives of ordinary people in such a profound way that leaves their mark on history. It might be the mother who strives to create the most nurturing home school environment for their children. It might be the coach who wants to help others own their future.
It might be you.
I coach advocates, champions, and artists. It is my calling to bring their art into the world, and to keep reminding them that the world needs their art. The world needs to hear their song.
What is your calling? Are you brave enough to name it?