𝐅𝐢𝐧𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐘𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐕𝐨𝐢𝐜𝐞!
“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late to be whoever you want to be. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start over.” (F. Scott Fitzgerald) Here we are, mid-year of 2020. If you are like me, you have been working diligently to execute the goals you set at the beginning of this year. What I have experienced so far in this pandemic-quarantine existence has allowed me to see that there are challenges that most of us will have to address if we are going to have real success. The challenge is finding your voice. What does this mean? It means having the ability to effectively communicate your concerns and your needs in a way that ensures you’re being heard and garnering reasonable responses. Not having a voice is usually due to a lack of language. Having language gives you the ability to commune and converse in a way that fortifies relationships and creates synergy. How do you find language?
“If I accept the fact that my relationships are here to make me conscious, instead of happy, then my relationships become a wonderful self-mastery tool that keeps realigning me with my higher purpose for living.” (Eckhart Tolle) Love is a small word that carries a lot of weight. We throw this word around frequently without knowing the importance of its impact. I am convinced that it is difficult to love and accept anyone without having true love and acceptance for yourself. “Despite how open, peaceful, and loving you attempt to be, people can only meet you as deeply as they’ve met themselves.” (Matt Kahn) When we see ourselves as flawed, sometimes very flawed, and still worthy of love, we can see others as flawed yet also worthy. When you strive to be whole instead of right, the love you emanate towards others is mirrored back to you. You reap what you sow. (Galatians 6:7) You can only develop the language of love learning to interact with who you may have deemed intolerable. Real love provides you a language of patience and forgiveness, something we all need a heaping helping of daily.
“Trust is earned when actions meet words.” (Chris Butler) Trust is also a small word and a very close cousin to love. It is not the same as love, because we can have a Godly love for people we do not necessarily trust. The Bible tells us to love even our enemies. (Luke 6:27) I have enough experience in my life that I have grown to love people that I do not trust. Real talk! And these individuals I would not keep in close proximity just for that reason. However, for those I do trust, I can express myself with authenticity. This does not mean there will always be agreement. It does mean that even if the agreement is unavailable, there is space allowed for shortcomings. These are the people that I can trust with my authenticity and my vulnerability. When I speak my truth verbally, or when it is the cues they’ve learned over time, I’m not judged or shamed into being different. They hold space for where I am at the time, and lovingly communicate what they see so that I can be better. Trust is learned and earned over time. Don’t confuse trust with mimicking. Not everyone will respond as you do in any given situation. Knowing this will allow you to share without putting inordinate expectations on others regarding their responses.
“Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.” (Steve Jobs) I have learned to become a better listener. I learned to listen to what was not being said. I watch others’ body language and facial expressions to see if it matches what they are saying. Surprisingly enough, there are many times that it doesn’t. When you listen with your entire being, you hear on a different frequency. Most times, we can’t listen to what is really being said because we are distracted. We are worried about something else we need to get done, trying to multitask. We are on our cell phones, responding to a text, or looking at social media. The slightest distraction keeps us from listening, and not listening creates language barriers. I get a lot of practice listening and developing my language talking to my millennial advisers, a.k.a, my children. They are three different personalities with three different ways of communicating. There are plenty of times we disagree, but listening to them helps me understand their perspective and respect their voices, especially as adults. Merely expressing yourself is not finding your voice; listening and practicing genuine engagement is.
Finding and Refining
“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” (George Bernard Shaw) Finding your voice is essential, but refining your language is equally important. As you evolve as a person, your language should grow. I am constantly reminded that how I communicate should align with how I show up in the world. My life’s experiences and exposure to thought leaders and influencers, both famous and not famous yet, have helped me find my voice. I incorporate the empowering and purpose-filled language that I have learned, especially in my quest to help others become their best selves. As we continue to progress in 2020, figure out if you have found your voice and are communicating with intention. Knowing this will help you design the life you want, serve others, and walk in the purpose you were created to live.