What’s a speaker without her voice?
I had to learn this the hard way…
Here I am in two simple photos: one without makeup, on my first day back at the gym after a whirlwind week that took me through four cities in just six days. I’m all glammed up in the other, getting ready to deliver a virtual keynote.
Here’s where things got interesting: I had to battle a nasty cold while traveling those 6 days that decided to steal my voice - so I had very little left and had a keynote to do.
Life has a funny way of challenging us when we least expect it, doesn’t it?
I’ve had this keynote booked for months and I couldn’t cancel it because of my hoarse voice!
It’s during these moments that grace truly shines. It’s about giving grace to ourselves and others, which includes when our voices may be a little hoarse.
Grace is about showing up, even when life has thrown curveballs your way. It’s about understanding that every stumble is a chance to learn, grow, and become stronger.
In times like these, I’m reminded of the grace I need to give to myself - the permission to be imperfect, to heal, and to keep moving forward.
But I’m also reminded of the grace I hope to receive from others - the understanding that we all have our moments, which is what makes us human.
In my case, I was lucky to be received with warmth and kindness despite my hoarse voice as their keynote speaker.
So, this was a gentle reminder from my body to take a pause and let it heal.
And this post is my reminder to YOU to do the same.
Here are 3 tips for finding your voice when, maybe, it seems a little muffled:
Make Yourself a Priority
When you make yourself a priority, then you are doing yourself and everyone else in your life a favor. If you feel like you are being undermined or undervalued that moment, you should do something about it. I say this because if you allow yourself to be in a “go go go” mindset and just run around all the time with barely any breaks, you will not be in the proper headspace to be fully present with the people you know and care about. In order to do that, you need to set time aside from all of the busyness and all of the endless notifications that may continuously come your way.
If you are tired or feel very stressed and can feel it taking a toll on you, take a break. The different ways that you can make yourself a priority can look like anything from giving yourself a break from work by relaxing, eating a small treat, taking a few deep breaths, stepping into your garden or going for a walk. All of these possibilities allow you to take a few steps back from things that may be overwhelming you.
Lean on Those Who Know Your Voice
Learn to accept support from those that you are closest with and who know you well. This will help take some weight off of your shoulders. In other words, lean on people who have a lot of emotional intelligence, as mentioned in on the Leadership of Heart podcast overview on my website. The better-established relationships that you maintain with people really do pay off and the families, friends, coworkers, and significant others that you have can really help you out when you feel like you need some extra support or advocacy. Leaning on people that you are closest with will not only help you out, but it will bring joy and a sense of purpose to them knowing that they are needed in your life.
You can also start a relationship with a therapist or coach. Both are great ways to get third-party feedback and clarity to help you through tough circumstances.
You Are In Control of You
Sometimes, we may feel like our emotions can get the best of us. There are so many people in our lives that we have relationships with that can make it feel like our decisions are being heavily based on what they want to do or what they think. But you have a choice in every circumstance. You also have the ability to grow, to do what’s best for you, and motivate yourself to reach your goals.
The person you have the most influence over is you! You do not need to be a victim of your past to find your present voice. Look forward. Reach forward.
What you will need to learn over time is that your job is not to please everyone, but it is to take care of you and make sure you show up as the best you can possibly be at that moment in time. This will set you up for success.
Yes, my voice was hoarse, but my message was loud and clear. Listen to yourself and then follow by listening to others.