Blog 33: Finding your voice.

Speaking up. We all have different contexts on thinking about how we voice our message, opinions, and dreams. I know for many speaking up can feel really scary. If you are like me, you got mixed messages about your voice when you were younger. Sometimes it was appropriate to be quite vocal, other times you were “bossy” or having a differing opinion meant you were too “headstrong”.

I was blessed with a father that I could always tell there was a little glimmer in his eye that he was proud of my ability to share my thoughts even when it was NOT an “appropriate” time or perhaps no-one was asking my opinion. For this I am grateful. I am also grateful that I realized just because I had a thought, didn’t mean it was always the appropriate time to share it.

What I am learning is that self-expression is a continuum. Just because you aren’t afraid to share your thoughts doesn’t mean you are using your potential. Just because you are out-going doesn’t mean you have stepped up into your purpose. WE all can get better at stepping into better abilities to communicate, share, and be authentic and using our ability to communicate for good in the world. We also get better at our timing of when its appropriate to share.

This starts with ourselves. Knowing ourselves. Self discovery and honoring where we are pinching ourself OFF is important. It is hard to share and come from powerful authenticity if you are unsure of your voice or what your message is.

Does speaking up scare you? Does meeting someone 1:1 and communicating feel intimidating? Does speaking to a small or large group feel impossible? How can you start to get more comfortable sharing your message and voice?

For me, as I keep figuring out more of who I am, and what makes me excited; it has been fun to say YES to opportunities to grow. Whether thats watching others who are gifted at presenting, sharing, and inspiring or trying to share my own thoughts whether in front of 1 person, in the car by myself (yes I am talking to myself) or in front of hundreds. I started by going to toastmasters. Then learning it was okay (I didn’t die) to speak up some in front of peers and colleagues.

This weekend I got to share some of my heart about a project we have been working on for years in front of a larger group. It felt good. So I encourage you to get a little uncomfortable to make a new comfort zone of better communication. As we learn to communicate and take the leap to do more we help others do the same :) (and we grow, improve, and create new abilities). WIN-WIN!

Lona Cook