This week I had the opportunity to listen to a panel discussion on leadership. When asked what the key advice the senior level leaders would give their younger selves, they all replied with a version of “share your authentic voice.”
I agree. It’s key.
With the wisdom of age and experience and what appeared to have been a lot of self-reflection, to me the context of the advice during the discussion was larger than learning how to speak up at meetings, or to share an idea, or to self-advocate. It felt like their advice to their younger selves was to love and appreciate themselves – “flaws” and all – and to share it (i.e. themselves) with others, to create moments of significance and meaning.
Yes! “Share your authentic voice.”
There are two big challenges with that advice:
- So often, we don’t yet know who we authentically are, and what we (really) want to say.
- If we do, we don’t know how to say it.
The answer to number 2, must be informed by the answer to number 1 – so let’s start there.
What do you want to say?
My premise: You have a unique superpower to make a difference; in another individual, an organization, a community, or the world. You already have this ability. It is already within you. You’ve likely been doing it since a young age. You already KNOW how to have the impact you are meant to achieve, when you are feeling joy, and showing up fully, in the present moment, without doubt.
The problem: If you are like many successful leaders, you don’t have clarity on what exactly that purpose is, how you achieve that impact when you’re feeling joy, what your causes & conditions are for having that impact, or how to monetize it and curate a life that attracts and amplifies it. This foundational information on yourself is not always known, you don’t have the language to describe it, and – while you are knowledgeable on many things, you’re not an EXPERT on yourself.
Without knowing how we help others, it is challenging to choose where to focus our attention and set our intention, how to contribute, how to feel valued, and how to hone our skills to place ourselves in the very situations where we can do the most good and feel the most joy.
Without knowing this foundational self-information, we can:
- become inadvertently re-active
- be guided by “should’s”
- feel adrift
- feel like an imposter
- create a long list of reasons why things are not possible
- strive and grasp for opportunities, feel jealousy, be defensive, threatened, territorial
- put work above personal relationships
- speak without listening
- speak without being heard
- and more!
And, if all that is going on in our heads and in our re-actions… how can we possibly know how to “Share our voice” in a way to help others, and let others know how we can help?!
This week I also had our first in-person Board meeting, and the last one of this very challenging fiscal year. It was extraordinary for so many reasons. It’s breathtaking to know that I am exactly where I am meant to be, with colleagues who are where they are meant to be; feeling joy, having impact, having fun, helping each other be their best, making mistakes, and making a difference.
As I continue to learn to speak my authentic voice, together we are also finding and speaking our organization’s unique voice and value. I am showing up fully, imperfectly, and being valued by others for the very things that hold meaning to me. This is not a fluke. It has come after a five year journey of actively and mindfully making choices that make my heart sing, and learning to value and communicate this in order to continue to curate an extraordinary Next Chapter.
If you’d like to start finding and sharing YOUR beautiful voice in order to live in your purpose, I have some BLOGS with prompts and ideas that can help. It’s also what I teach clients in The Career (Life!) Breakthrough Academy.TM
I invite you to play and become an expert on your amazing self! As always, I love hearing from you and knowing how YOU are mindfully curating the life and leadership scenario of your dreams.
To your success,
Next Chapter Coach
Creator of The Career (Life!) Breakthrough AcademyTM
P.S. – This time of year can be challenging if you’re at a Crossroad Moment, trying to figure out what to do, what is possible, what you (really) want, and what you should do next. If this is YOU or someone you know, I’ve opened up times on my calender to get on the phone for a confidential call.