My editor told me when my book was published, I’d suddenly be considered an expert.
Now that I have a book platform, I’ve found this to be true.
I am fortunate to have been offered many invitations to speak at conferences, run workshops, be in podcasts and to shoot videos.
Maybe it’s because I’m old, but the older I get, the less I know. I use to say yes to everything. Now I pause first.
Some engagements I do accept solo. I won’t lie - it is flattering to be asked + sometimes I get paid. I’m an indie published book author and it is hard to turn down money.
But I also triage opportunities carefully:
1. Sometimes I say no if there are red flags that I’m going to be treated disrespectfully.
2. Sometimes I suggest another speaker who has more or different experience than me.
3. Sometimes I coach other speakers behind the scenes to take my spot.
4. Sometimes I ask that I share the microphone with someone else, especially someone who is themselves disabled.
5. Sometimes I ask for panel representation - so I facilitate the session, but it is the other speakers who shine.
It worries me that the same people - who look like me - are given opportunities over and over again. I recently saw the speaker list for a children’s health conference - it could have been the same program from five years ago - they love to reuse the same ‘experts.’
It is important to know when to step aside and support others behind the scene to share their stories too.
Know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away, know when to run.
Consider sharing the microphone. We need to nurture others to share their experiences too. This is the only way advocacy work will be sustainable.
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