Where Survivor (TV) Meets a New Advocacy Practice

Survivor – Jeff Probst and Company (and company and company and company!). Currently in its 37th season, I’ve watched probably 30 of those seasons. I’m more about the psychology, head games, and strategy. My husband is more about the physical endurance. In total we usually disagree on who we think should win any given season (the one person who never gets voted off the island!) but we both agree that the person who wins deserves to because they have gone into the game with a strategy, implemented it, and as a result, “survived.”

As I watched last week’s Survivor episode (Season 37, Episode 6) I realized that there are at least two strategic aspects of the game of Survivor that become lessons for starting an advocacy practice, both of which I could share with you to help you better understand how they work for launching and growing an advocacy practice:

Aspect #1 – A Common Truth:

Last week, a young player named Gabby made a statement that I knew I had to share with you.

She made the comment during a conversation with another player as they were trying to determine who should be the next person they would vote to vacate the island. The idea was to find a weakness within a player that would deem that person dismissable – eliminating the competition.

Her statement:

Hope is not a strategy.

Please take a moment to let that sink in, because it applies directly to building an advocacy practice, and it’s the approach that way too many new advocate wannabes rely on. So many advocates who tell me, “I’ve been an advocate all my life. Now I just want to get paid for it” think their knowledge of good advocacy is all they need to be successful, totally dismissing the business-building requirements of establishing a healthy practice. At least they HOPE it works that way!

But Gabby is 100% on target. Hope is NOT a strategy for winning Survivor, NOR for creating a strong, healthy, advocacy practice. Developing a solid practice takes good business planning and implementation like having strong contracts in place, a good bank of resources, and of course consistent and effective marketing. It has nothing to do with “hope.”

Learn more about building a healthy practice.

Aspect #2 – An Opposite Truth:

To win Survivor, you must get rid of your competitors and be the last standing, sole survivor.

But that is just the opposite of what’s required to be a winner at private, independent advocacy! In fact, in advocacy, the more supportive you are, the more you are willing to share, the more of a resource you become to others, the more likely you are to succeed, and the more likely the profession itself will grow. The more the profession grows, the more resources become available to you and, perhaps even more importantly, the more clients you’ll have – meaning, the more patients and families will get what they need from the system.

In advocacy, the LAST thing you want to do is get rid of your competitors. In advocacy, you want to intentionally turn them into your “coopetition“.

The rising tide floats all boats.

Today, in 2018, to the extent independent advocacy is so new and that there aren’t nearly enough advocates for the number of patients who need us, competition is just not something we need to think much about except in the ways it can support us.

Far better to focus on the success of building a solid business, and then multiplying the successes by supporting others to build the profession.

Leave those island evictions to TV. Participate in the rising tide to float your boat and others.

Next time (if ever!) you watch Survivor, see if you can figure out other strategies that apply to advocacy too.


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