#4 – I don’t know the issues well enough.
When I began my career in public service, the lesson I learned (and hopefully you will too) very quickly was I couldn’t be an expert on everything. I had to prioritize the issues I would advocate on and so should you. If you’re new to advocacy, pick one issue to get started. Or if you’re ready, go for two!
At first this focus made me uncomfortable because I thought I was missing an opportunity to communicate with leaders on a broader platform. But when I realized there may be other very good advocates working on the same or similar issues important to my community, it was likely they were already hearing from them and I wasn’t the only one who needed to do it.
Another reality check about focusing on the issues, came from a dear friend and former member of the Florida House of Representatives, Bryan Nelson. He told me, “If everything was important, then nothing was important.” Sound advice from an experienced politician who met with hundreds of advocates every year.
Through these experiences I discovered that if I focused on only a few issues each year, I became a much better advocate for two very specific reasons.
- I was better educated when I concentrated on only two or three issues.
- Those I was trying to influence knew when I called them what I wanted to talk about one of them it was important.
Your Partner in Advocacy…Kathy