John, you raise some valid points. But I kinda disagree with your definition of “true advocacy.” The example of a lawyer representing a client in a courtroom comes to mind. That counselor is an advocate for his client, as such he’s there to bring aid, support before the court on behalf of his client. He’s in no danger per se. In my story about the principal, I was a hardcore advocate on his behalf, but I was in no danger. When one acts as an advocate there’s a risk of rejection. But danger, not so much.
Danger come to mind immediately when I think of the word “sacrifice.” If there’s no danger, there’s no sacrifice. Just a thought …
By “having an impact” I mean you don’t necessarily have to be the one to seal the deal on someone’s paradigm shift, but we can be the ones to plant seeds in others or nurture seeds already planted by others. Every little bit helps. I’m an optimist in that regard. And the confrontation doesn’t have to be a full-throated, you’re full of shit Uncle Idiot! It is possible to let people know that you don’t agree with their position without ruining dinner. That’s what dessert is for.
But seriously, this is what I’m talking about when I mention treating people with care and respect. I think this is what most people forget, we don’t have to change someone’s mind when we encounter them. We only have to be another person who says, have you thought of this way? They say, nope. Okay, but this alternative works well for others. And you’ll know how far to go with the conversation.