Advocate

ad·vo·cate

ˈad-və-kət, -ˌkāt\ noun

1. one who pleads the cause of another

2. one who defends or maintains a cause or proposal

3. one who supports or promotes the interests of a cause or group

A good friend of mine was awakened to a calling while on a mission trip to Africa.  He saw what a game-changer it was to provide fresh water to a village by drilling a well.  He had a desire to do more.  This is obviously a beautiful picture of advocating for the needs of others. 

It saved time and energy.

It increased wellness.

It had an economic ripple effect.

And, in an eternal sense, the fact that they were there as emissaries of God and got to connect the dots between fresh water and the concept of “living water," was truly beautiful.  

But that wasn’t the primary calling awakened in him.

He realized that if he could get other people to participate in a similar experience, it would change their lives as well.  It would invite them to play a role in the larger story of God...a better story than they were already living.  It would give them an opportunity to know what it feels like to advocate for others in a life-changing way…to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

It could be a powerful multiplier effect in the lives of many others.  So, he funded the opportunity for a group of men to join him in Guatemala on an adventure to change the lives of some villagers, but in the process, their lives as well. 

I was one of them.

As a financial guy, he was applying leverage to address one of the world’s greatest problems. 

The trip had a powerful impact on my friend’s life.

It was a huge catalyst in mine.

It obviously changed the lives of those in the village.

It was powerful for all that accompanied us.

But, likely, the most powerful thing of all was the awakened power of advocacy in others.  That is truly beautiful to behold.  It ripples out from their lives and splashes on the shores of many others.  That is ultimately what he was after.  

Advocacy for those you love and lead can produce the same effect in their lives when..

  • Those you lead in your families, businesses, and organizations believe that you are for them.  
  • Their interests are at the top of your list.  
  • You are actively advocating, petitioning, and fighting for their best interests. 
  • They are awakened to the opportunity to do the same.

Proving that the interests of everyone who reports to you is your primary motivation will likely change the way they serve everyone who reports to them.  It will ultimately impact everyone they serve both inside and outside of your organization.  

It can all start with a simple question that you carry, nurture, and solve: 

What is the greatest challenge you are facing at work or in life?

  • Have you ever felt the privilege of truly being advocated for?
  • Did it change your desire to do the same for others?
  • In your current leadership role, who should you be advocating for?
  • Will you commit to going to work on solving their biggest challenges?  Helping them accomplish their biggest dreams?