Finding Your Voice
This week in Missouri and all across the country, high school students organized a demonstration in which they symbolically walked out of school to speak their voice and to garner attention towards a certain topic. Please know, before I go on, that this post is not about that topic. Their actions simply inspired me to write a post about how important it is to find your voice and speak up.
Personally, no matter what the topic is, I’m extremely proud of these students – and anyone – who makes a passionate, well-informed statement such as this. As a caveat, I should also add that I do believe there were probably some students who simply walked out with the crowd. The students I’m proud of are the ones who did their due diligence and put together a well-educated, well-planned demonstration that made their voice heard.
Again, I’m not picking a “side” one way or the other here. I just truly love it when people decide something they’re passionate about and speak up in that manner. It’s inspiring, and it’s a demonstration of the values this country was built on.
Keep the Peace, Lose Your Voice
So many times in life, we tend to do things simply to please others because we want to be peacekeepers. I know I have, anyway, and I’m sure you can relate as well. People who keep the peace avoid conflict; they follow the norm and try to fit in wherever possible. By doing this, though, we forget who we are, and we lose our voice!
I say it here and often, that we need to “find” our voice, but truth be told, something may be a bit misquoted there. I believe deep down that our voice is always there – the difficult task to some is simply getting that voice to come out. Inspired by the events of this week, I came up with 7 things that I believe are important to keep in mind when trying to make your voice heard.
7 Things to Remember
1. Value your uniqueness! If you’ve read any of my posts or watched any of my videos, you’ve heard me say these words quite often. It’s so important to me that everyone understands that they are valuable and worthy and needed in this world. I want you to find your value, your purpose, your gifts and talents, and what you’re passionate about. No matter what, we shouldn’t ever make excuses for who we are. Value the fact that you’re NOT perfect and use it as fuel.
2. As you embrace the value of who you are, you should also ask yourself, “WHY are these things important to me?” Don’t just say, “My mom and dad think that way,” or “That’s what my family believes in.” I want you to really think, WHY is this important to YOU?
This is what I mean when I say I know there are some (from the events of this week, and in every similar situation) who simply follow the crowd. They don’t know what they believe in because they haven’t asked themselves long or hard enough. I want you not only to identify your passion and your values, but also to ask yourself WHY.
3. Embrace your voice! Start to picture it as a strong brick building. A brick building will be much more resilient than a straw building, so start to embrace that voice and know it’s meaningful. When you can do this, and you truly believe in something, then you’ll be a solid force to be reckoned with.
4. Remember that remaining quiet or silent is a form of validation. By doing so, you’re essentially giving permission that the other “side” is validated. Speak out, speak up, and speak loud!
5. This one holds particularly true for me. Do you ever feel incapable or nervous about speaking up? Do you feel like an imposter or wonder what they will think about you? The minute you start to feel that way, that’s a good sign!
This is called imposter syndrome, and I know I’ve had it many times, especially recently as I’m working on so many new projects. Research has shown that as we get closer to something we know we should do, imposter syndrome rears its ugly head. If you feel it creeping up on you, it’s time to move!
6. Remember that finding the right words can be incredibly healing. If you say the right words and speak up about the right things, it can truly bring people together. Remaining silent can work against that. Speak up – it’s your chance to bring people together.
7. I saved this one for last because I believe you can’t have #7 without first having 1-6. It might just be the most important. Be willing to LISTEN just as much as you want people to listen to you. Just like the Golden Rule – do unto others as you’d have them do unto you.
Be Wise, Not A Fool
I’d like to leave you with this quote that left a profound impact on me when I saw it.
“Wise men speak because they have something to say. Fools speak because they have to say something.”
Be wise. Know what your passion is, know what your voice means to you, and why you’re speaking. Just as many of these students found their voice and stepped out this week, know why you’re stepping out tomorrow. You can never go wrong by telling YOUR truth.