We must actively search for our voice, and clear a path for it to emerge. It is uncovered, not manufactured. We may not even like what we discover at first, but by embracing it we will position ourselves to occupy the unique space for which we’re wired.
Here are a few questions that may help uncover clues to your voice. Write down your answers on a scrap piece of paper or in your text chat. No need for complete sentences here. Just quick responses to get you thinking.
What angers you? Every super hero needs a bad guy. Without one, the super hero has nothing to fight against. Are there specific things that evoke a compassionate anger in you? (Key point of differentiation: this is not about road rage, poor service, or leaving the seat up. We’re talking about the systemic things that evoke a desire to intervene in a situation as an act of compassion or to rectify a great wrong.)
What makes you cry? Think about the last several instances that caused you to cry. Movies are fair game too. I’ve noticed that I almost always tear up while watching stories of underdogs who overcome incredible odds.
What have you mastered? Are there tasks, skills, or opportunities that you have simply mastered and can do without thinking? These low-friction activities might give you a clue to ways you can continue pursuing your voice. We learn through action, observation, then correction. Start with what you do well, and work your way toward your goal.
What gives you hope? What do you look forward to? What great vision do you have for your future and the future of others? Hope is a powerful motivator, and can give you a clue to the ways in which you may be able to compel others to act.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? We often forget the earliest clues to our voice as we are burdened with the expectations of peers, teachers, parents, and eventually the marketplace. But those early days of wonder – the vast expanses of horizon that hinted at limitless possibility – can give us insight into the deeper seeds of fascination that still reside within us. So…what did/do you want to be when you grow up?
If you had all the time and money in the world, what would you do? It astounds me how few people have asked themselves this question, and it astounds me more how few people can arrive at an answer when they do. We believe that a lack of resources is the obstacle to our happiness and fulfillment, but for many of us the limitation has nothing to do with a lack of money or time. The limitation is our fear of falling short of our own self-perception. We point fingers at others because we can’t reconcile our own fear of engagement. We don’t think about limitless possibility because we are afraid of what would happen if we were to get it.
What would blow your mind? Something that would thrill you if it were to happen, including relational