5 Things You Can Do To Be Successful In Activism

Whether you're advocating a cause on social media or pressuring your elected officials offline, here are some tips to help you maintain focus.
Demonstrators attend the Women’s March on Washington near the White House. Jan. 21, 2017 (AP Photo/Sait Serkan Gurbuz)

Demonstrators attend the Women’s March on Washington near the White House. Jan. 21, 2017 (AP Photo/Sait Serkan Gurbuz)

From the moment we wake up until the moment we go to sleep we are presented with the opportunity to become completely overwhelmed with everything happening in America in 2019. The fatal mistake that many advocates make is to allow themselves to be consumed in every outrage, and they subsequently dilute their attention that should be on their cause.

Here are 5 things you can do that guarantees success not just on your social media platforms but in your interactions with elected officials, friends, and even family when talking about the issues that you are passionate about.


1. Focus on one thing at a time.

When you actually do focused, intentional, passionate work on one action at a time you are much more effective than when you try 700 things at once. If your favorite activity is writing to your elected official then pick one subject per email and just write about that. I have some great free scripts on my website to help you do just that. If what you love to do is volunteer at the food bank once a month then don’t spend your time complaining about other causes. Focus on telling others about why you love the food bank, encourage them to get involved with feeding the hungry.

2. Follow through on every action.

When you engage in advocacy in a half-hearted way it means two things. One, it isn’t your passion and you shouldn’t be doing it and two, you are doing it because you think it is the right thing to do but you don’t really want to. There is a lot of “guilt” floating around all our online spaces for folks who don’t think they are doing enough and we need to let that stuff go. When you don’t follow through you get no action. Your job right now, in your own life, in your own way is to lead and build, build and lead. If you don’t know how to do something, ask someone who might. If you don’t know the answer to a question, admit it and then go find the answer. Seeing something through to its conclusion is powerful.

3. Engage in radical welcome.

Right now we are being called upon to engage in radical welcome. Allow those that have the same drive as you into your circle, even if they don’t speak exactly as you do. Invite people into your spaces who might have different ideas than you do. Ask yourself what is holding you back from embracing others ideas? What are you afraid of? Where can you engage in active listening?

4. Focus on your vision.

What is your vision? Is it to run for office or help your ideal candidate run for office? Do you want to raise money for a local non-profit organization? Do you want to write ranty letters to your local newspaper and write a twitter thread 20 tweets long? Whatever it is write that vision down. Once you have written that vision into reality you can make it into something tangible, practical, and lucrative. Clear vision illuminates the path to accomplishing change in our communities.

5. Map your plan.

It isn’t enough to focus, follow through, or engage in radical welcome. We all need a map to tell us where we are going. Gather your resources to manifest your goals. Who will you need to bring on this journey with you? Who are your greatest champions? Who will create barriers for you? Where do you see yourself at the end of your advocacy engagement? How will it feel to have accomplished your mission? Write all of that down. Draw the map to social justice success and you will not fail in meeting your advocacy goals.

A methodical, planned, well thought out approach eliminates conclusions and reduces the need to gravitate towards action paralysis. Use methods that work for you not everyone else. Each one of us has a different idea that can contribute to making the world a better place, the trick is to allow space for yourself to let your light shine bright so that you can make the difference. Following these 5 steps is critical to keeping success and progress alive and well in your life and in your community.

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Opinion // Activism