Shake me and wake me up! Have I been asleep this whole time as moments and time fly by?
Do you know the Disturbed song "The Sound of Silence" that goes…?
"Hello darkness, my old friend
I've come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain still remains
Within the sound of silence
And in the naked light, I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never shared
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence"
I hear quiet whispers as my daughter shakes me awake. And I snap back to reality thinking, holy shit, I've been missing the neon signs blaring this whole time that day. "Look up! This beautiful life is right here and directly in front of you, and you've been missing it."
That was where I found myself 6 years ago as a stressed-out rep. The work assignments and quotas continually grew, and I slowly diminished my voice, presence, and ability to make an impact. I passed GO on the hypothetical monopoly board, collected the money, and with every pass around GO, more and more of me faded.
The passion, the why, and my voice slowly became a song unsung and words unwritten.
Was this how I wanted this life to go? That's a hard stop NO, but I didn't know how to express my voice or even find myself again.
Pass GO, round the board I go. Someone send me to the jail part of this game board because I may find some reprieve there.
I think we've all been there. Simply going through the motions. Numb and in need of resuscitation. Like bring in the paddles and charge em' up because someone needs to bring the crash cart and bring back the "beep beep beep" sound to the monitor.
Finding & Expressing Your Voice
Most of us have found our voice in business and work. We can speak up on ZOOM calls and even speak as subject matter experts. We have found our voice. Whether that voice still aligns with our "why" might be a different story. You may have been going round and around the monopoly board. Fading, fading…still there but not vibrantly there.
If so, it's time to start expressing your experienced voice.
Appropriately expressing your voice comes with a few steps:
1. Start expressing your voice. If not in the workplace directly, you've got to get it out and down on paper.
2. Know who you are speaking to and how to convey a message that will resonate.
3. Know that your voice being respected comes first when earning that respect. You cannot possibly earn respect by always remaining silent (in words and mostly in actions that speak louder than words).
4. Practice expressing yourself in the mirror or video recording yourself expressing yourself. Then review it. How well would you receive that message? Do you need to revise it and change your tone?
5. Offer solutions and thoughtful insights when you do express yourself.
6. Don't come in too hot. You've got to preheat the oven in almost every scenario.
7. Don't overthink things. But ask yourself: will what I say genuinely serve my organization or others? Or do I need to have an emotional intelligence check-in?
8. Understand that your thoughts and ideas will be welcome in time with respect, thoughtfulness, and the correct delivery. You know who you are speaking to best. The long and short of it is you need to grow a pair!
You cannot and will not make cracks in the surface of a rigid exterior without some seismic activity. So, start expressing yourself and make things start to rumble and shake!
Let's continue to UNRAVEL, my friends.