“Each voice is distinct and has something to say. And each voice deserves to be heard.” ― Terry Tempest Williams
I spent far too many years of my life trying to be somebody I was not—trying to find a voice that was not mine.
Early in my life, I had a mentor with a strong, dominant, Type-A personality. His words were blunt, direct, and usually right. I was challenged and motivated by his leadership style. I matured. I became a better person. It was the voice I needed to hear during my most formative years.
As a result, when I first set out on my own, I tried to be just like him. Unfortunately, I was terrible at it. My voice is not blunt or direct—neither is my personality particulary dominant. And assuming those traits were the most effective way for me to lead others was a big mistake.
It took years for me to realize my voice is more encouraging than challenging. My personality is one of optimism that, almost to a fault, sees the good in others rather than areas for improvement. Over the years, I have learned to understand my voice and the specific ways in which I invite others to life change.
My approach is very different from the approach that taught me so much, but it is the voice I was designed to lead from. And I’m glad I’ve learned to embrace it. My only regret is that I did not find it earlier.
You are an influencer. By definition, because of your relationship with others, you have opportunity every day to influence and bring about hope and joy and meaning. Some will accomplish that with humor, others without. Some will gently encourage others toward change, others will challenge with blunt, direct language. Some will influence with facts and reason, others will influence with emotion.
But the truth is, we need all different types of voices calling this world to find simplicity. So don’t try to change yours. Find it. Embrace it. And use it for good.
Image: Alexis Fam Photography