Have you ever looked high and low for something, only to find it was right there in front of you all the time?
That might be something profound like true love; it might be something ditsy like the spectacles that were sitting on top of your head all along. (Personally, I swear I spend at least a third of my waking hours hunting for the pen that hides in plain sight on my desk.)
But what about your authentic voice? How much time do you spend trying to find and capture that, while not really listening to it when it does speak to you?
Regular readers of this blog will know we’ve been focusing over the last few weeks on finding and using your voice, given the power your voice has in showing your true value to others. But we’ve saved the most important question until now: what if your inner voice – your authentic voice – is speaking to you every day and you simply don’t hear or trust it?
Are you listening to your authentic voice?
Here’s the greatest puzzle of our careers as professional communicators: why are we so willing to listen to our critical inner voices, but so reluctant to trust the positive ones?
The way we communicate with our inner critic and her mean cousins, imposter syndrome et al, is a meaty topic for another time – but let’s consider that positive inner voice for a moment. How does that show up?
Lots of ways. A glimmer of an idea, perhaps. A dream…a vision of the future. A plan to help and serve. A personal story. Even just odd words floating to the surface.
This is your authentic voice offering you guidance and content.
So, do you listen to this inner voice? And do you trust it at least as much – if not more – than you trust the external voice around you?
3 ways to give your authentic voice more airtime
If you’re not used to listening to your inner authentic voice, let alone using it to make decisions and create business content and materials, you might need to communicate gently with it for a while!
Here are just three simple ways to flex and build your authentic voice ‘muscle’, giving more airspace and increasing volume to this crucial part of your communication toolkit.
- Watch your language and stop apologising. Every time you frame your idea or thought with words like: “this is probably a silly idea, but….”, you squash that inner voice and make it harder to hear. Catch yourself when you do this, and give your inner voice more credit.
- Get in your own corner! Find some hard evidence to back up your inner voice, and use that to trust your own words much more. Think of the times when your inner voice has been absolutely right – perhaps an idea that took flight, an instinct that was spot on, or a communication idea that had great impact. Next time you find yourself distrusting your authentic voice, recall those pieces of evidence and use them to dispel that distrust and listen more easily.
- Give your voice permission to speak. Give it free rein with no outcome or output in mind, and see what happens. Being relaxed helps this form of communication, so whether it’s a nap, a cheeky gin or a workout, find what works for you (and have a notebook to hand). Play with the words and ideas that come to mind, with absolutely no pressure to use or publish them.
We promise that these simple actions will give strength and volume to your inner voice. And you’ll feel the benefit of that in many ways, not least in making words flow more easily the next time you face a blank page and a blinking cursor (more on exactly THAT from us in the next couple of weeks!
Lucy & Emma xx