As the deadline for the 2014 Medicine X ePatient Scholarship approaches (January 10), I’m going to continue to explore different ways to encourage prospective applicants and dispel myths that may be causing apprehension.
The biggest myth that I can think of is “I’m not worthy”.
I struggled with this one when I was first sent a link to the 2012 ePatient Scholarship application. Who am I to apply for this? What have I done? Why would they accept me? Surely there is someone better, more qualified than me that deserves a seat. I’m not a strong enough advocate for myself or my community. I haven’t accomplished anything.
To be honest, I struggle with these concerns every day. It’s easy to see the accomplishments of others and completely miss out on recognizing everything you’ve done in your own name. I get it. I do this all the time.
I look at the other people that have been to Medicine X and the things they have done for their respective communities and struggle to find my place among them. I actively sought out a position on the ePatient Advisory Board but it’s still all too easy for me to downplay everything I’ve done to get this far.
Here’s the thing to remember (and it’s what I try to tell myself when I face these moments of doubt): All of these patient advocates had to start somewhere. Some of them found their voice before Medicine X. Others found it AT Medicine X. Some of them have been blogging, sharing, and advocating for years. Others are barely comfortable lurking on Twitter chats.
Maybe Medicine X will be your coming out party as a patient advocate – you won’t know if you don’t try. Maybe Medicine X will give you that final spark to start the next big thing that you’ve been mulling over – it won’t happen if you don’t apply. You have to give yourself a chance.
Medicine X is a conference that is truly for everyone. From the seasoned advocate looking to refine or expand their advocacy efforts, to the new voice in a patient community that needs a friendly reminder to speak up, and everyone in between. Everyone.
If you’re looking at the ePatient Scholarship application and you find yourself frozen in captivity by some kind of fear that you aren’t worthy of this opportunity – feel good knowing that this is a normal feeling, and one that you will soon get past as you work your way through the application.
You are worthy.
(One more for good measure, check out the application and please consider applying.)