Channeling Mary Kay

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Channeling Mary Kay

I heard from a gentleman this week who represents many of you. Specifically, he was trying to decide whether to pursue becoming an independent patient advocate – or not – because he wasn’t sure if he knew enough to be able to handle every client situation that comes his way. He wanted a pep talk. He wanted me to convince him he knows enough. Yes, it was time to invoke one of my favorite quotations, provided to us by Mary Kay Ash (presumably when she wasn’t out washing her pink Cadillac) “If you think you can, you can. If you think you can’t, you’re right.” The truth is – it’s not really that simple. In fairness, self-doubt about the ability to do anything new plagues all of us. Whether it was your first job babysitting or bagging groceries, or you’re changing careers at mid-life, or even starting up an encore career at age 60+…  you’re putting yourself out there, you’re testing your own mettle, and you’re taking a risk. The very definition of risk taking means it could go badly.  But something about his question quite bothered me. It noodled around in my head for a little while, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized he had asked the wrong question. I don’t think his concern should be whether he knows enough about the advocacy work itself because, first, almost any help he provides to assist others will be better than what they are getting now, and second, because one of the most important lessons we teach advocates is to reach out to the appropriate others when you are faced with questions and needs outside your own competencies. So what would the right question be?  There are actually a few: Am I ready to be in business for myself, with an understanding of the legal and marketing aspects the work in front of me? Am I funded well enough to carry my expenses for 6+ months while I build a business and begin deriving income? Do I fully understand and embrace the Health Advocate’s Code of…


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