Ok, I have figured out how to add the audio piece again. The point is to be able to hear it. The video is just the same picture throughout so you can focus on the words.
For those of you who are familiar with my SPEAK model for self-advocacy, you will know that it is the core of my work. For those of you who are not familiar, you can read about it here. After months of working toward my dream of having a successful small business, I have had several moments of doubt, feeling overwhelmed, and small flashes of wanting to just give up. I can’t give up. I won’t give up. I know this is the work I am meant to do and all of my future clients will not receive my services or be impacted by my experience, education, and drive if I stop pursuing my dreams. On top of that, I will not have been true to my model.
It is a step-by-step way to be a successful self-advocate. On my journey, I have been reminded by a few people that in my pursuit of forming a business to serve others with this model, I too have followed the steps. Having no background in business, marketing, website design, blogging, social media for business, and video production, I have jumped in and educated myself in all of these areas. I am not a professional in any of them, but I have researched, tried and failed, and had hours of discussion to gather information from experts. I have sorted through advice, asked questions, and changed my focus a number of times. I have been uncomfortable, unsure, excited, and proud. Right now, I am writing my 21st blog post!!
Every time I have gotten to a point of frustration, I have pushed forward and reached out for help. I have been Self-aware, identified my Problems, Evaluated by researching and constructing solutions, Acted on my plans through networking, asking for help from others, and finally pushing myself so hard to KEEP GOING.
Because I followed my model, I have learned a lot about starting, building, and maintaining a business. I have formed an LLC, opened a business bank account, decided on promotional products, made awesome business cards, and met with business mentors. To continue to grow and learn more, I attended events and retreats and made connections with people with specialized knowledge. I have created a website and blog, opened social media accounts, cold called businesses, published articles in a popular online publication, and have spoken about my services with confidence. I am proud of what I have accomplished.
The thing that has continued to keep me going is the support of others. People are showing up when I ask for help. Not only are they showing up, they bring gifts! From the kindness of their hearts, people have shared their successes as a way to guide me, created my beautiful logo, volunteered to help me create a marketing strategy, and helped me design a beautiful website to invite much needed business. This is no accident! It truly does work to advocate for yourself! I open my heart through vulnerability, kindness, humor, and honesty. Those things have brought abundance into my life! They have taught me to practice gratitude, help others, and keep on my path of self-advocacy. As I write this, I am filled with joy about sharing my experience.
Not only have I experienced this generosity in my business, I have experienced it from caregivers and friends on a regular basis. It certainly feels like magic, but it is not. I have created this life. I have pushed through hard times. I have faced terrible illness. I have never given up completely. This is because of you. Everyone reading or listening to this had been a part of my success. I have created this model to share what I have learned and what guides me on a daily basis. I refuse to navigate my life alone. I will advocate for myself for the rest of my life. Please take a moment to consider all of the things I am writing about and see the relationship between what I have created, and the amazing outcomes it has produced. I invite you to think about how self-advocacy plays a role in your life. Please share something in the comments to inspire and engage with others about your own self-advocacy. Don’t forget that the most important part of the SPEAK model is to KEEP GOING.