I’ve spent my whole life talking for someone else.
It started when I was little. Age 2 to be exact.
My mom was deaf so as soon as my brother was born, I became his voice. I would tell my mom when he was crying or asking for something.
As soon as I was old enough to put together sentences, I became my mom’s voice on the phone - often having to make calls about money and bills (which we never had enough of former and too many of the later).
Imagine being five years old and having to explain to the bank why the mortgage payment would be late. It was my responsibility to get the person on the other side to hear the point I was trying to make.
Later on, in middle and high school, the voice wasn’t mine but society’s expectations on how I should sound and what I should think.
It wasn’t just about speaking for others, but helping others be heard. It was part of my job as a college radio station DJ, as a sound engineer in Nashville, even as a communications director for local nonprofits.
It was never my voice. Never my words. Never what I believed.
And after four decades of speaking for others, I began to wonder if I could ever find my own voice.
How would I know if what I was saying was actually from my soul or just what I know clients want to hear?
How would I know if what I was writing was a part of my purpose or just another marketing tool that I learned from a copywriting expert?
How would I know if what I was putting out into the world truly reflected who I am and what I am here to do or just a string of trendy words that help me fit in?
Here’s what I have discovered...
The only way to find your voice is to put something out into the world and see how it feels.
(I know, it is a messy process. But a required step if you want to bring your big work into the world.)
Does it feel true? Yes, then good. Keep going down that path. No, then evaluate what is not sitting with you and write about that and put it out there.
The more you show up and speak out, the more you are seen and heard, the clearer and stronger your voice gets.
And yes, it is scary to think that maybe others will be confused by your message.
After all, you are bound to get things wrong. Sure to write somethings that are from the ego instead of your soul’s truth.
It doesn’t matter.
You can’t expect to spend your whole life speaking from a place of fear, guilt, shame, belonging, and pride to then immediately be able to consistently and comfortably speak your truth.
It is a muscle that must be exercised.
Also because vulnerability hangover is real.
And sometimes people just don’t want to hear it.
Your truth isn’t always comfortable - for you or others.
But it must be spoken. It must be released into the world.
Because your voice matters. Your story matters. You matter.
Now more than ever. You must speak up. You must speak out.