For some of us (read: for me), finding and sharing our voice is a lifelong journey. We awkwardly try to express ourselves, share our truth, state our desires or boundaries. One day, we get loud, we speak up, and then…
I don’t know about you, but I used to want to crawl back under a rock. “It was nice to talk to you, guys. Now I’m going to disappear for a bit and think about what I said and how I said it. Also, I’m sorry for taking up so much of your time.” (Cue: The Lion King.)
What does “finding your voice” really mean?
Born in the middle of August, I am a Leo. “The lion who didn’t quite roar.” I’m not always the life of the party. I don’t like big crowds. I hate having my picture taken. I’m an introvert. And it took me years to figure out that strength doesn’t need to be loud.
I’m going to say that again:
For a long time, I thought I had to pretend to be extraverted. That I had to “learn to like” certain things I knew I didn’t. I tried to convince people I’m “not always this quiet”, I apologized a lot, and I faked my way through most social interactions.
I’m sharing this, hoping to save somebody else the time and the trouble: finding your voice looks different for everybody. It is entirely up to you to decide what that means to you. Find your “yes”, acknowledge your “no”, and act accordingly.
Music was my first love and I’m dreaming of the day I get back on stage. I’m saying yes to sharing my music with others, even if it feels really vulnerable. I’m saying yes to writing down my truth and sharing it with you. Yes to creating resources that can help people feel better and live happier lives. Yes to following my passion, and working on things that I believe in. Yes to being more of me.
I’m also saying no to a lot of things. No to fitting in with people I don’t feel good around. No to changing myself for others. No to being inauthentic. No to playing games. I’m done pretending, and it feels damn good.
Finding your voice starts on the inside. It’s not a quick fix, or a “strategy”. You need to learn to listen to yourself first. You have to get still, and really listen. There is a voice in there that wants to be heard, and it knows what to do next. Listen well, and then take the next step, and the next, and the next. Live your life according to your inner compass. Find your fire. Follow it. Fuel it, often. Be honest with yourself first, and then share your truth with somebody else.
How to find your voice (the fun route)
- Find your fire: Learn to hear the voice in you that knows what you want. Feel what brings you joy. Notice what you feel drawn to.
- Follow your fire: Truly listen, and choose your path accordingly. Sign up for that class. Start that business. Reach out to that person. Chase your joy. It’s yours.
- Fuel your fire: Your flame won’t always be steady or strong. Remind yourself of your passion, focus on the things that make you feel alive, and don’t be afraid to change your path when you change your mind. This is your playground.
Do you remember how this article started? Most of the time, this whole “speaking up -> freaking out” pattern is a sign of surface level confidence. You resolve to speak up, so you voice a loosely held opinion. You try to be louder, even though you don’t know what to say.
Here’s the thing: when you start to live from a place of authenticity, your voice will catch up. You’ll be happier, more confident, and more honest, because your truth feels good.
No more pretending.
If you want other people to listen to you, you need to listen to you. Create your life from the inside out. Become more and more you with every decision you make. Before you know it, you’ll stop “finding your voice”, and start voicing your truth.
Note: If you need a little help finding your fire, or if you’re not sure why any of this matters, stay tuned for Part 2!