Sounding like a Mad Hatter when I tell you this, but nonetheless it’s true. You don’t actually find your best voice; it’s not lost. You create it. #yourtruevoice
That’s why George Bernard Shaw famously claimed:
Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.
Yes, your “voice” is something you actually create — not something you find. Your voice is the expression of your point of view on any matter at hand. It’s a combination of what you say and how you say it.
If you’re ready for the next move in your career, your best voice is definitely an item of interest.
Your voice is the essential marketing for your personal brand. Recall – your brand is what people say about you when you’re not there. That is largely driven by how people feel in their interactions with you.
You already know what you want to say. (I know you have expert opinions!!!)
It’s a matter of finding the courage to say it and the savvy to say it the right way to the right people.
Your best voice can actually reach people who can help you with your goals.
Consider Serena Williams (or Venus) and her “champion celebrity tennis player voice.” She may have been born with natural affinity for hitting a tennis racket. But she created this tennis champion persona, and in that process, created her voice.
Any professional musician creates his voice as that musician, through daily practice. Even after decades of practice, a musician is still practicing.
It’s the happier and more successful folks who create their best voice.
Being intentional about your voice means paying attention to details. Like when UCLA basketball coach, John Wooden, used to make sure his players tied their shoes correctly. Audience members may not have noticed how their shoes were tied, but how they tied their shoes helped shape how they performed on the court. How they played was always noticed. Same goes for you.
Creating your voice happens through all your conversations.
Opportunities are everywhere.
Ask yourself how you want people to feel after they speak with you, hear your talk or read your email? Do you want them to feel appreciated? inspired? relaxed? more knowledgeable?
With that in mind, seize each chance to create your best voice.
:: Polish that email one more time.
:: Review your email signature.
:: Go over (again) the visual support for your next presentation.
:: Prepare a more bold point of view for that next big meeting.
:: Sit up straighter.
:: Thank more people.
:: Be brave enough to speak up. Politely.
:: Call that customer just to check in. (internal or external)
:: Bring flowers to the office.
:: Write a note and mail it.
:: Get to work on a new project — even if it’s one you make up
You can’t “find” something that hasn’t been created yet.
P.S. Every now and then, your voice will resonate more successfully than you realize. Someone will thank you out of the blue for something you said that you already forgot. Someone will tell you years later that you impacted a major career decision of theirs. Or maybe your voice makes money when you attract a new client.
Last week I unexpectedly got Official Recognition for contributing to the innovation process at MUSC. Innovation (aka applied creativity) is a part of my voice.
If you’re delightfully intrigued with the idea of expressing your best voice, here’s an exercise to help you (besides working with Mixonian.) Imagine that there is a new version of The Office being developed and that you, in whatever role you have at work, are a character in this new version. Who would you want to play you? How would you dress that character? What instructions would you give to the actor to portray you accurately and consistently?
Write all this down and you’ll get some clear ideas on what creating your voice looks like. Now ask yourself, “How do I want people to feel after hanging out with me?”