Happy New Year to you! And so begins another year of improving patients’ healthcare system outcomes in one way or another, and realizing we are making a huge difference in people’s lives!
We’re going to dive right in to the new year looking at the ONE imperative exercise I have come to believe will make you successful.
Can you commit? WILL you commit? It won’t cost you money (well, OK, maybe the cost of a latte.) It will cost you some time. And it will make all the difference in the world to your practice-building, the patients who need you, and our profession, too.
The truth is: if you want to be successful, your commitment is imperative.
It has become clearer and clearer in the recent past just why some people establish a practice successfully – vs – those who don’t get the ball rolling. And – I can sum that up in two words:
Making connections with other people is critical to your success. Whether it’s connecting with clients or caregivers, connecting with other advocates and care managers, or connecting with other professionals who work in our advocacy arena, those connections, and the results of outreach to them, are making the difference between practice success, and failure. Here’s how I know:
When I look over those members of APHA who I know are successfully running an advocacy practice, every one of them works intentionally at making connections. Yes, Captain Obvious tells us that making connections with clients is key. But beyond that, successful folks are also reaching out to other advocates in a variety of ways, sometimes to ask questions, or to discuss client situations, to mentor, or even to subcontract with complementary services. Further, they are reaching out to other professionals like providers, or social workers, community service workers. They aren’t stopping there, either. They are reaching out to influencers like the media, or the clergy, or even politicians, key individuals for helping them build success.
No Successful Advocate Is an Island
I’ve dished on the “rising tide floats all boats” metaphor before. But today I’m going to expand the water metaphor to pair it with “No successful advocate is an island” – which requires no further explanation except to talk about what happens when an advocate tries to be an island.
When I look over those FORMER members of APHA, those who have given up their memberships and their dreams of being independent advocates, many of whom have answered our exit survey to let us know why they are giving up….
They tell me that they just never had enough clients. To which I reply: “Of course you didn’t. You never did any marketing. You never promoted your work. You never connected with other advocates, or reached out to other professionals. You sat by your phone or in front of your email inbox and waited for clients to come to you. But they didn’t, because they didn’t know you were there to help them.”
People don’t come looking for your advocacy until you reach out to them first. “Reach out,” as in, actively pursue. A website or a LinkedIn profile are important support for your reputation, but they are both passive. By themselves they can’t bring you work.
ACTIVE outreach is what is required. And that’s how you make connections. Dialing, sending, speaking – active connection pursuits will ALWAYS be worth your while!
Making connections will be easy, and it can be fun. It will always be enlightening, and you will almost always make a new friend.
A Challenge for 2018: 2 New Connections Per Week
Make connections! Whether or not you have begun your advocacy practice, now is the time to get started. Our challenge to you is for you to make 2 new connections each week:
- One person who can help you.
- One person you can help.
At the end of this year, you will have made 100+ new connections, propelling your success.
How APHA Will Help You Meet Your Challenge
APHA is pleased to announce two ways we will support your efforts at making connections:
1. The 2018 APHA Summits: Connect for Success!
In a shift from past years when we have offered only workshops focused on newbie advocates, APHA will be hosting regional networking opportunities in four cities – a great opportunity for you to meet in person many of the folks you’ll connect with.
Yes – there will be workshops involved (Nuts ‘n Bolts of Professional Connections, and How to Connect with New Clients), but of most interest may be our Connect with Advocacy Leaders and Other Advocates Networking Event. A full Friday afternoon of – yes – connecting for success!
Check out the APHA Summits website.
We hope to see you there!
2. And — a free video and download: How to Connect for Success
While some readers of this blog would instantly know exactly what to do, others need a nudge, or some advice, and some need specific steps.
So we’ve put together the “how to” to help you connect. This download is available to both members and those who aren’t yet members of APHA. The video and download are yours for the watching and reading.
So that’s our kick-off for 2018. You’ll find us emphasizing your connections throughout the year, in hopes of maximizing your abilities to give clients the help they need to improve their healthcare outcomes, and to strengthen your advocacy practice so you can help even more patients in the future.