If someone were to ask you, “Why are you an advocate?” how would you answer them—in just six words?
What does advocating with your personal story look like when you’re a teen? When you’re in your fifties, sixties, seventies and beyond?
Like so many others, I’ve been moved and motivated over the past months by high school students around the nation who’ve made the choice to stand up, speak out and share their lived experiences to create change, whether that change is stricter gun control, better mental health care or other important causes.
And over the past few weeks, I’ve also been inspired by the “50 over 50 List,” a roundup of Minnesotans 50+ who are doing amazing things. The list is compiled annually by AARP Minnesota and Pollen Midwest, and I can’t help notice how many of these individuals landed on the list, in part, by sharing their personal stories in order to advocate for the causes they passionately believe in.
Reflecting on generational stories and advocacy got a few of us at Living Proof Advocacy wondering: How does the experience of sharing a personal story for advocacy differ for someone 17, 30, 45 or 79? Tell us what you think: If you’re a teen advocate or someone 50+ who is telling your story to make a difference, contact us. We’re working with author Bev Bachel on an article about this topic and would love to hear your experiences and insights.
Contact us to be interviewed.
What if my emotions get the better of me when I'm telling my story?
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In this issue: Are you 50+ advocate who is telling your story to make a difference? Contact us to be interviewed for an upcoming article.
The Living Proof Advocacy email newsletter, which contains updates on the latest events and workshops as well as inspirational stories from advocates who are making a difference with their personal stories, is sent approximately 3-4 times a year.
Tim Cage and John Capecci, co-founders of Living Proof Advocacy™, are delighted to launch the Living Proof Advocacy Coaching Certification program. Developed and honed over nearly 20 years of working with thousands of advocates and hundreds of organizations, the Living Proof Advocacy methods, principles and tools are now available to coaches, trainers and instructors who want to help others tap the persuasive power of their personal stories.
Coaching certification is ideal for
- professional trainers who want added expertise in the area of story + advocacy
- organizational staff who are responsible for mobilizing advocates
Certification is delivered in 2-day regional trainings led by Tim and/or John. The 2018 training is scheduled for November 17-18 in Minneapolis. Additional trainings may be offered to accommodate schedules and locations. Read more and contact us for details!
Telling Your Story to Make a Difference: Fundamentals
A two-day workshop offered three times in 2018 —
April 20-21, Minneapolis
July 27-28, Minneapolis
November 30-December 1, Minneapolis
These highly interactive and individualized workshops focus on personal storytelling for advocacy and are delivered through discussion, tips and tools, plus in-class exercises followed by immediate feedback and encouragement. Participants learn how to find, focus, frame, craft and tell personal stories to become better advocates for the difference they want to make in their community and in the world.
For more information:
"Pointing to the positive" is one of The 5 Qualities of Well-Told Advocacy Story and it serves as one of the most important foundations of the Living Proof Advocacy approach. Sometimes, it's also one of the most difficult qualities for storytelling advocates to achieve ... for two perfectly understandable reasons:
1. Advocacy aims to solve a problem. Personal stories help make others aware of that problem and understand the severity of it. It's easy to let your storytelling focus primarily on the problem ... because that's what you want desperately to change and enlist others to help solve.
2. The personal stories that led you to advocacy often arise from places of anger, pain, even trauma and loss. Those experiences remain ever-present and likely are at the core of why you speak out. So, it's easy to let your storytelling dwell in the darkness.
But "pointing to the positive" doesn't mean denying the darkness or sugar-coating your experience; it means finding the balance between negative and positive ... and working to favor personal storytelling that demonstrates the positive change for which you're advocating. Why?
Because dwelling on the negative is human nature—not just for those of us telling stories, but for those of us receiving them. Studies have shown repeatedly that the brain is drawn to negative stories and it is often the negative that remains firmly in our memories. As an advocate, you want to move audiences to positive action, not leave them with only an understanding of the problem or the pain. An analysis of 60 health communication studies, for example, showed that stories focusing on loss were less likely to be effective than positive messages.
It's a tough balance to strike, most definitely. But "pointing to the positive" remains a critical quality of the well-told advocacy story, ensuring that you leave audiences with the hope that problems can be solved and the living proof that darkness truly can give way to light.
It’s National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Read this story from Zach Fincher, a teen advocate who attended a workshop we conducted recently for the National Safety Council. It’s one of the moving stories featured this month in this blog by Laura Carney, another dedicated advocate sharing her story to make a difference.