Monday, January 29, 2018

Taking a Look at the Big Picture

Over the past few days I have been thinking about the role my advocacy work takes in relationship to my family and life outside of cancer. Every January for the past few years, I've reviewed my advocacy work and decided what I want to continue with in the next year.  This year though I  know the my family will require more time ( which I am happy to do), so I felt I needed to look at my advocacy work in a different way.

I have been blessed to be involved in different aspects of advocacy with a number of organizations and non-profits. Some organizations raise awareness, some raise funds for research and others reach out to Congress. There are ovarian cancer organizations, gynecologic cancer organizations, support organizations, peep to peer support groups, cancer patient empowerment groups, and industry groups.

Yesterday, I made a list of all the organizations I was involved with 2017 and my responsibilities.  The list contained eighteen organizations. Some volunteer positions had sub-items. Some of these organizations required me to travel or required me to attend an event or multiple events in person. Some required me to spend a great deal of time preparing information to disseminate to others. Some responsibilities were once a quarter, once a month or twice a month.  A few advocacy responsibilities required daily input or responding to multiple e-mails.  Some volunteer work was only "as needed". Some groups offer compensation but most do not. Some I could choose to do when I had time, like this blog. I like those best!

So my next step was to look at each advocacy opportunity and asked myself:
  • how effective am I at doing that work?
  • am I the only one doing that work?
  • if I am the only one can another advocate/person do it?
  • how much does the work benefit other survivors/patients? 
  • how many people are effected by the work I do?
  • do I ever regret having agreed to do the work and feel that way when I am doing it?
  • does the work ever prevent me from doing other things - like hang out with my husband, grand-kids or dog?
  • does that work bring me joy?
By asking those questions I came to the realization that I can and should make a change in what I concentrate my advocacy efforts on. So that is what I am starting to do. After all my priority has always been family first.

Some of these activities will be harder to step back from than others (I really love the people I interact with in these organizations) but I need to look at the Big Picture and make some changes. 

Don't worry though I will still be writing this blog and co-moderating the #gyncsm chat. For many others, well, over time I will need to let them know I will not be participating at the level I have in the past.
I just read a post by Susannah Fox ( Letter to Shareholders) in which she reviewed her work life in 2017 and detailed her wins and losses.  Have any of my fellow advocates gone through a similar process to determine where they were and how they want to spend their time going forward ?  I'd love to hear how made your decisions.

Every Day is a Blessing!

1 comment:

Danny van Leeuwen said...

Nice. I love reflection and adjustment