Be Your Own Advocate

20090905_174aI recently attended an auction for my good friend, David Heyting (#DefeatGoliath), who’s battled a brain tumor for the past 5 years.  He’s had to face many challenges beyond surviving…doctors, insurance, etc.  His advice through all of it has been to ‘be your own advocate’.  You have your best interest in mind and must look at all options and question authority to ensure the path is accurate for your future.

David’s approach applies in all areas of life.  I remember growing up in the small town of Rogue River, Oregon where I was the shortest guy in my class until I was a senior in high school.  Being the little guy, I was consistently thought of as incapable or too young (because I looked really young).  This really shaped my personality where I became my own advocate, working harder to prepare and overachieve in everything, which then earned me positive attention.  This carried on into my military career where I was young-looking and skinny going through some of the toughest Navy training – Air Rescue Swimmer School.  The instructors rode me hard, but I never gave up, knowing that I could do anything if I kept my focus and never quit.  I took the confident perspective that if others could do it, then I could do it…better.  It took me years of accomplishments and letdowns to realize that overachieving wasn’t as important as accepting my strengths and weaknesses.  We are all individually wired differently and accepting that brings peace, which is what I try to model for my children.

You will need to rely on others along the way, but nobody knows you better than you. You don’t need to be self-centered (we have too much of that in this world) or excessively overachieve, but you do need to take control of your destiny.  The small choices you make now can have a great impact in the future.

A commonsense person lives good sense; fools litter the country with silliness. Proverbs 13:16

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