Monday, December 30, 2013

How to Find Your Voice

At the approach of every new year, we look at our lives with special scrutiny to identify the things we think we must change in order to improve our lot in some way. We resolve to lose weight, learn a foreign language, or take up exercise as a way to prove our merit and grit. This year I resolve to honor my standards and stay true to my voice.

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I was asked to speak on the subject of, "Finding Your Voice" and it has been the most difficult, but pleasurable, presentation to prepare for as I realized about halfway through preparations for it that I wasn't honoring my own voice during its creation. I stopped everything - threw on the brakes - and approached my talk differently, more authentically, as I reminded myself to practice what I preach...which is more difficult sometimes than I care to admit.

How does one find his or her voice? Once found, does it change? How does one stay committed to honoring one's voice?

When I thought about times in my journey when I'd truly been *in* my voice, I realized they were represented by the most powerful, life-propelling moments...from the time when I bombed on stage in kindergarten (they cued the wrong music!) to the time when I really made my voice heard and changed the direction of a meeting (when student members were changing an association from the ground up), my life is made up of times when I've either honored my values or not. 

For me, poetry and music are a gateway into truth. My gut responds to poetry in a way that insists I come clean with my intentions and progress. I lose my voice when I venture too far away from the raw language of poetry. Result? When I need to get stronger, a good book of poetry is better for me than the latest issue of Harvard Business Review.

What keeps you honest with yourself? How do you find your voice when you've taken a wrong turn? When did you recognize you'd found your voice?

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