Melinda Gates once said “A woman with a voice is, by definition, a strong woman. But the search to find that voice is remarkably difficult” (Do take ten minutes to go and read that speech by the way, it is pretty inspiring.)
So, have you found yours?
Coaches often find themselves helping their clients to find their voice. By that I mean the client has an urge, a need to find out who they are and what they are for. We all need to feel like we are unique, that we have some purpose, that we have a reason for being. However, we often spend so much time being who we think we should be, and acting accordingly, that we forget who we really are. We mute our voice, we turn ourselves down, to fit in, to please.
We can go decades muddling through our daily life, flitting between our different roles as partner, manager, employee, mother, friend, without ever finding our voice. And I truly believe that finding it gives us great strength and self-confidence. We trust ourselves, and act with more purpose than we did before in each of those roles I mention above.
But finding your voice can be hard, as Gates says. You may be lucky enough for to wake up one morning with a sudden, absolute, clear idea of who you are and what you need to do, and the confidence to just go out and do it. But for most people it is, and hopefully I don’t sound too much like a self-help cliché here, a journey. It involves breaking down the barriers you have put up between you and the world to hide your true you. It involves asking yourself hard questions and coming through with honest answers, then using those answers to build up the true you.
During the process you may feel all kinds of scared, nervous, confused, but you will then feel elated, relieved and strong. And once you have found your voice, that is what you will feel the most: strength, self-confidence and clarity.
Pretty awesome, right?
So, what now? Well there is no time like the present to get started. How do you start to find your voice?
Start with answering a few questions:
- What do you love doing?
- What are you good at? (And don’t go and be all modest on this one – answer the flipping question!)
- What makes you angry, sad, or frustrated? (Could be a long list, but see if there is a theme in there.)
- Is there any part of yourself or any dreams that you have given up on?
- What gives you hope?
- If you could change the world, where would you start?
- And if you could change your world, where would you start?
Taking the time to reflect on and answer these questions will help you start the process of getting to know what really makes you tick, what difference you want to make, and give you an idea of the values you find important.
I really want us all to find our voices and use them to roar. Get to know ourselves and our values, and what we are here to do. Can you imagine the strength that would be unleashed if all women had this clarity and purpose, had this voice? Awesome right?