You don't need to find your voice, you need to use it.
I’ve talked a lot about finding your voice in my work over the years. I remember when I first start working with women in leadership way back in the day, I used‘Find Your Voice’ as a tagline. Recently I've rethought that expression. In a conversation with Samra Zafar on my podcast, Reframe Your Life she said women need to learn to use their voice and stop looking for it. Her actual take on the subject was, “It’s not out in the backyard waiting to be found, it’s inside you waiting to be used.” Voice is the expression of your truth.
You would think that using our voice would be an easy thing to do. We all have access to more places to broadcast our thoughts to people than ever before. And yet, I think it is getting harder for many of us. It is more difficult for people-pleasers or those who are afraid of conflict. And once you start using your voice to speak your truth people will disagree with you.
It’s one thing to know what you stand for it,
is another thing to speak up and make it known.
Our world has becoming increasingly polarized. We are fed a steady media diet of extreme views. We have political parties that are tasked with representing diverse and complex issues in twenty-second sound bites.
I generally avoid talking about politics. However, I am working at not letting my discomfort talking about something be the driving factor in my decision on the topics I discuss. I’m not going to remain silent because saying something makes me uncomfortable. I’m sure most of us can relate that 2020 has been an uncomfortable year. And the upcoming election in the USA is getting a lot of attention in my circles. And a lot of people are also being silent.
I was fortunate to be away from the madness of the Biden/Trump debate last week. I was barely online but when I did log in for a few minutes my feed was full of opinions about how the debate was conducted and all the ridiculousness of the spectacle. I didn’t hear anything about the issues discussed.
Wouldn’t it be refreshing if, after a debate instead of focusing on who won the debate, the media actually pushed the conversation to the policies that were discussed and what party had the best plan to tackle it? Instead, it seemed like the whole thing was designed to try and corner people and bring out the worst in them.
As a voter you probably find yourself aligning with different aspects of the platforms presented. Rather than being a Conservative or Liberal or a Democrat or Republican wouldn’t it be preferable to figure out what is most important to you and then cast your one vote to align with the party who has a track record and a platform with a solid plan to bring meaningful change in that area? You might have to dig deep to get actual numbers and facts but they are there if you look for them. You get to choose what your deepest values are instead of being manipulated by the media. You don't have to say "I am a Conservative" you can say during this election this party aligns most closely with my values."
And here’s something else that could help. What if we started talking about the places we agree instead of the places we disagree? What if you started using your voice to raise awareness and understanding about the areas you are strong and knowledgable in? What if we stopped feeding the negativity?
Talk is cheap and criticism is the global currency.
Anyone can be a critic. Or maybe I should amend that statement to everyone is a critic. It’s easy and lazy to focus on the negative. It takes little intellect or depth to criticize someone. It takes far more effort to work for what you want to see in this world than it does to tweet or post about what you are against.
I’m going to tell you something about myself, when I hear people going on and on about the negative things they see around them, I tend to tune out. I admire leaders, creatives, makers and people who are actually doing something rather than sitting around feeling superior because they are doing something better than someone else. That isn’t using your voice. Using your voice is powerful and generative.
Talk has become cheaper than ever. It is cheap in both the sense that it costs little and it is cheap in that it is shoddy in so many cases. But voice? We need to hear your voice. And here’s the best part of it - you don’t even need to use words. Your voice can be seen through your actions. In fact, if you are just tweeting or posting about something without taking action, it’s possible you still have some work to do in expressing yourself.
I'm looking forward to hearing your voice. Silence isn't helping. Voting is using your voice. And you are voting every day by the choices you make. whether you speak up or not.