One of the most important things in life is having a track record. A track record is a list of milestones or things you have accomplished along your life’s journey. Keeping track of these accomplishments helps you stay motivated and focused as you go on. A milestone could be a course you completed, a financial goal you met, a school you got into, or even a friendship you’ve kept all these years. Track records are useful for every area of your life including your advocacy.
Unarguably, the aim of advocacy is to make a difference and change lives, one person at a time. But there are times when it seems like you’re not doing that enough especially because it seems that you are not seeing changes You are hosting events and turnout is low. You have reached out to partners and no word at all from them. This can be disheartening and even make you feel like you should stop advocacy.
These are normal facts of any venture – including advocacy. But why does this seem like a unique occurrence here? Because many of us jumped into advocacy with lots of unrealistic hopes and dreams but it was all a fairy-tale and we needed someone to wake us up from the bubble we have created. We thought that speaking up for the defenseless was a ticket to being encouraged. But it wasn’t as automatic as we hoped. And that is what caused some people to stop. They felt like they were championing a lost cause. But that was not the case at all. They were doing great. They just forgot to keep track of what they were doing and celebrate themselves even when others didn’t.
Why is this important? As a gender advocate dedicated to helping the girl child shatter glass ceilings, it is easy to get discouraged. You have organized trainings, seminars, workshops and even posted on all your social media platforms at regular intervals yet it seems that things are just steps backward in the advocacy journey. It is tasking and even demoralizing. You are spending your time and resources. You’re trying hard to make people see things differently. How do you keep going on without feeling like your efforts are in vain? What do you do?
I can tell you for free that taking stock of the progress in your advocacy journey is what does the trick. You note the baby steps you are making and the people you have reached. That is what gives you the drive to go on and make more impact. These strides (no matter how little) are also what will eventually make your dreams happen – bigger platforms, global stages, and more funding to empower more girls/women.
What kind of steps can you track? In my opinion, anything at all. If you said you were going to organize a seminar and you did – give yourself a round of applause for that and check it off your checklist. If you planned to host a tweet chat and it was successful, that is another milestone achieved. Celebrating them gives you the energy to reach out for more. Celebrate them with the mindset that you are creating a track record or a bank of activities that validate your advocacy. Those things you’re doing are steppingstones for bigger opportunities and better platforms. In that way, you can be sure that you are not wasting your time and money by speaking up for change.
Granted, bigger funding makes advocacy a lot easier and gives you a wider sphere of influence. And every advocate’s dream is to reach the ends of the world with their message of equality, equity, and fairness. But managing your expectations, making sacrifices, and staying consistent with the cause are key ingredients to a successful life of advocacy. This is the main part of advocacy that the world doesn’t see – the process, the dry spell, the long wait. It is something to be aware of and maximize. If you are in that season currently, don’t just wait it out: work it out, build a track record, and all the good things and impact you dream of will come.