The Key to Finding Fulfillment as an AdvocateFeb 10, 2023
It’s exciting to know that we have more choices than ever before to utilize our knowledge, skills, and experience as we continue to contribute to our world both personally and professionally.
Many of us choose to become advocates and take on causes that are important to us. We might become advocates unexpectedly as we take on caregiving for people around us.
As we take stock of our lives and contemplate what’s next, we might intentionally decide to utilize our skills and experience for giving back to family or society, or for committing to social activism for special causes.
Whether we are intentional or “accidental advocates”, we soon learn that advocating for others can be taxing to our energy and yet so gratifying. What is the key to finding fulfillment as a advocate?
- What are some tips for dealing with stress and anxiety related to advocacy work?
- How can you make sure that your personal needs don't get pushed to the side when you're busy advocating for others?'
- What are some resources that can help you learn more about self-care and how to incorporate it into your life when advocacy is added to your list?'
As women entrepreneurs or executives, we often prioritize our business and professional goals ahead of our personal needs. We put in extra hours and make sure all projects are taken care of, sacrificing time spent on ourselves.
But taking care of your own wellbeing is just as important as scaling a business or advancing a career – it can have a positive impact on every area of life...
...especially, when we are also advocating for people we love or causes we are passionate about.
In this blog post, we explore strategies to help ensure that you don't push yourself too hard while still reaching your own goals and taking on the world. Learn how you can strike a healthy equilibrium in work, life, important causes, and self-care without compromising the most important elements of life; wellbeing, joy, and fulfillment.
The Game of Twister
Do you remember playing Twister? What does that have to do with dealing with stress and anxiety related to advocacy work? The objective of the game is to cover the spots (the changing demands) without falling down.
Have you ever found yourself feeling overwhelmed by the advocacy work you do? Whether it’s speaking up, standing your ground, or setting boundaries with others in the workplace – tackling a multitude of issues (spots) can be challenging. The stakes can be high and often causing stress and anxiety to rise.
Just like the game of Twister, you have one spot covered, only to be knocked off your equilibrium by the command to cover another spot. Remember, the key to the game is to avoid "falling".
As I work with experienced women entrepreneurs and executives, I witness the increasing stress and anxiety of hyper-achievers and the resulting "fall" or better known as "burnout".
The following are just a few key strategies for dealing with this stress and anxiety related to advocacy work that will help to make your experience easier and more fulfilling.
- Make Time for Self-Care
- When you're constantly advocating for others, it's important to make time for yourself as well. This can be difficult, but it's crucial in order to avoid burnout. Make sure to schedule in time for activities that make YOU happy and help YOU relax. This could be anything from reading, going for walks, or listening to music. Restorative yoga is my go-to-activity for this level of self-care.
- Find a Supportive Community
- Finding others who are going through similar experiences can be most helpful. People in a well-cultivated supportive community can provide support and understanding. They can offer helpful advice from an authentic place. There are many online communities dedicated to advocacy work. Reach out to local organizations to see if they have any support groups - online or in-person.
- Take Breaks When Needed
- Advocacy work can be emotionally draining. Hence, it is important to take breaks when needed. I'm not talking about a coffee-break. Sometimes a mini-break is sufficient and sometimes a stepback for a longer pause is necessary. If you're feeling overwhelmed, step away from the situation for a while and take some time to yourself. Monitor your level and intensity of involvement. It's okay to take a break from the fight – you can't help others if you're not taking care of yourself first.
Investing in Yourself
Taking the time to practice self-care is an investment in yourself and those around you. Self-care is essential for all advocates, as it helps us take care of ourselves in a way that allows us to remain compassionate and effective when advocating for others. Hence, don't forget to prioritize your own needs even when advocating on behalf of others.
If you ever feel overwhelmed or anxious due to advocacy work, remember your are also your own advocate. Choose what's best for you when you invest in yourself – take a walk, meditate, practice breathing exercises or yoga, reach out for help from friends/family/counselors, read self-help books on stress management and mindfulness skills.
Finally, do your research – there are plenty of resources available (blogs, websites), support groups and organizations dedicated to self-care specifically designed for advocates.
In conclusion, the act of giving back and caring for others can be very rewarding. However, it's essential to understand the importance of investing in your own care along the way. Taking care of your personal wellbeing is equally as important as that of advocating for others or for change.
Take care of yourself, do what's best for you, and don't jeopardize what you have created for yourself. ~ Patricia A. Muir
References and Resources
- Listen to the Executive Encore podcast. Women Finding Fulfillment After 60! - Episode "Why Self-Care Matters for Advocates", Guest Lorisa Stein.
- Contact Lorisa Stein for a copy of "8 Self-Care Strategies for Advocates", by Lorisa Stein - [email protected]
- Watch the YouTube video. Episode "Why Self-Care Matters for Advocates", Guest Lorisa Stein
Your Next Steps
- Explore strategies for finding fulfillment after 60 which might include self-employment, entrepreneurship, or excelling as an intrapreneur. Schedule a 30-minute complimentary call to explore possibilities. On this call, Patricia and you will get acquainted and discuss what outcome is important to you. Patricia will explain the application process for working with her. By the end of the call, you will have a "quick-win" action plan.
- Listen to the Executive Encore podcast. Women Finding Fulfillment After 60!
- Receive Maestro's Encore blog in your inbox with VIP content and specific exercises, self-assessments, and self-assignments related to this topic and to accelerate your emotional well-being and resilience. Start with your 90-Day EQ Mini-Plan or the mini workbook Emotions Drive Performance: Triggers from Thinking to Results - Predispositions, Self-Handicapping, Self-Sabotage
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