In Need Of An Advocate…


I’ve often wondered to myself, ”How do people do it?  How do they get that fine balance of aggression and confidence to go out there and advocate for themselves?”  I’m referring of course to everyone who, like me, is in a professional field where there is a lot of self-promotion or at the very least a lot of self-determination in how they will achieve their ultimate goal…

I’ve started to realize over the past few years however that everyone needs more than just themselves…everyone needs an advocate!  Some of us are fortunate enough to have many, while others only have one or two, but we all need them!  The problem as I see it is very few individuals are aware of how & why they need an advocate.

Think about this…  Consider your surroundings and reflect on that one ”superstar” who is in your office, or work site, or class, or wherever you find yourself daily.  Now think about all that it took for them to get to where they’re at.  Most of us would think about their talent, or ambition, or drive and motivation, maybe it’s even their experience and connections right?  I’m sure some or all of those things might be true, but they had much more than this…they had advocates working behind the scenes for their success!

I once read an interesting quote from Michelle Obama in an interview she did a couple years ago.  She was asked the question of what she would have become if she didn’t make the choice of marrying Barak (then the future president of the United States)?  Her answer was brilliant.  She said something to the effect of:  ”I wouldn’t know because if I wasn’t married to Barak he wouldn’t have become the president of the United States, and the man I married would have!”  Good for her!  Her answer was of course intended to be humourous, but it was also profoundly wise.  Why would we presume success could be achieved unless somebody had the very best advocates around them?  Or to put it into another example, why is it a common workplace story that hard working individuals get passed over for promotions or upward movement when somebody seemingly less qualified got the position?   The answer isn’t that hard if you think about it.  The people that moved forward simply had the advocates they needed.

Having the right advocates is critical with everything we do in life.  Whether you want to succeed in your job, your home life, your inner and spiritual development…etc.  We all need advocates.  The stronger and more determined our advocates, the better our chances of success.  Or to put it another way, the more people can advocate on behalf of our strengths and talents, the better our chances in achieving the results we want…

People sometimes ask me ”Matt why would I ever want to invest in something like organizational alignment and team analysis?  I hardly understand what it is, so why would I invest my money on it?”  My answer tends to be the same each time…

I go over the quick examples I listed above and further explain that everyone needs an advocate (be it in their personal life or within their organization).  To obtain the best results in our lives and/or organizations, we need advocates who have the ability to analyze our strengths and weaknesses.  We need people who advocate for the best usage of our strengths, while minimizing our weaknesses. When it sounds this simple and obvious you’d think every individual and organization has advocates like this working for them around the clock right?  Sadly no.  In fact my experience has shown only a few individuals and organizations take the time to intentionally invest themselves in a process like this.   Most people are comfortable continuing the myth that all the Barak Obama’s of the world got to where they’re at because they had enough individual power and drive to achieve it all on their own.  We furthermore believe that the million man march would’ve been just fine with only one determined individual marching down the streets of Washington.  And yes, we even believe our own lives and organizations will be just fine without anyone advocating on our behalf, we can do it all on our own thank you very much…

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