I just listened to the Alicia Keys and Brandi Carlile song, “A Beautiful Noise” for the very first time today. As I read the lyrics and hummed along, I started bawling uncontrollably. It‘s as if every ounce of my being knew that what was being sung was true for me. It also made me realize how powerful my own voice is and how important it is for all of us to find and use our authentic voice. When we do that, we have so much power to be able to create positive change.
If you’re not familiar with the song, I would highly encourage a listen as you read the lyrics below:
I have a voice Started out as a whisper, turned into a scream Made a beautiful noise Shoulder to shoulder, marching in the street When you're all alone, it's a quiet breeze But when you band together, it's a choir Of thunder and rain, now we have a choice 'Cause I have a voice I'm not living to die Don't stand in a wasteland Look at me in the eye Stop living a lie And stand up next to me You've got to put one foot in front of another With a hand in a hand holding on to each other Go on and rejoice 'Cause you have a voice It is loud, it is clear It's stronger than your fear It's believing you belong It's calling out the wrong From the silence of my sisters To the violence of my brother We can, we can rage Against the river feel the pain of another I have a voice
As I read these lyrics now, I can’t help but feel the powerful pull to use my authentic voice to help and create a better world. Creating this coaching business is, for me, my first step in creating a vulnerable and true life for myself. It is the first time I feel like I am able to use my voice in the way it was intended by the universe – to create a positive impact on the people I get the opportunity to work with. Sometimes that may mean using my voice to help guide and steer the conversation while other times, it means creating space for my client’s voices to be uplifted and heard.
Why Working With A Coach Can Help You To Find Your Authentic Voice:
At Created with Confidence, it is my intention that there will always be space for you to use your voice. Our work together will help you to get in touch with your truest self. It will also help you find your authentic voice, and teach you to nurture and care for it. Over time, you will begin to embody the confidence you have within you. Ultimately, allowing you to use and amplify your voice for your highest purpose.
Some days, that might look like using our time together to help you connect with and find your authentic voice. This is the voice that is cheering you on and is confident that you can do whatever you set your mind to. Other days, it might look like us practicing using your voice to prepare for a presentation or big event. Regardless, leveraging a coach can be helpful in order to hone your executive presence and personal brand. As well, it can be a helpful tool to improve your public speaking and presentation abilities.
Why Does My Authentic Voice Matter?
Many of us are bombarded with other people’s opinions and voices every day. We may not even realize how ingrained other’s voices are until we stop to think about why we believe something or do something that we don’t ever remember consciously choosing. The steps below can help you to start untangling your authentic voice from the rest of the noise. This can help you to begin listening to your own wisdom before seeking advice from outside influences.
5 Steps You Can Take To Start Nurturing Your Inner Voice:
Many of us don’t even know how many voices we have in our head until we stop to listen. Take a few moments each day – even starting with 2-3 minutes to simply find a quiet place, close your eyes, and notice the chatter that’s going on in your brain. It’s important to do this without judgment (no need to pile more judgment onto yourself!). Just focus on listening and notice what’s there. As you get more comfortable with this, see if you can begin to focus on your breathing and leave the chatter and thoughts behind. You might only be able to do it for a few seconds at first. As you practice, whenever you start thinking again, try to let the thoughts go and return to your breath.
Journaling can be a great place to start connecting with your inner voice. It can also be a helpful tool to notice patterns in what you’re saying to yourself. Are you your biggest cheerleader, or do you notice an inner saboteur who’s constantly trying to tear you down? There are many ways to journal, but one way to get all of your thoughts down on the page is to simply write about anything and everything that comes to mind. This can include your to-do list for the day, how you’re feeling, or what’s on your mind. Keep it simple to begin with and try writing for 10-15 minutes.
Affirmations are a great way to train your inner voice to speak in a positive, affirmative way. Make sure to write your affirmations in the present tense and turn any negative sentences into positives. E.g. change “I am not broken” into “I am whole and perfect exactly as I am.” You can choose one affirmation to start with. Every day, try writing it down in your journal at least 5 times. Another option is to write it on sticky notes and place it around your house.
Try A Tech Detox.
It’s so common for our phone to be the first thing we see in the morning and the last thing we touch before going to bed. If this is the case for you, too, try creating time and space in both the mornings and evenings before you check your phone. For me, that looks like not reaching for my phone until 1 hour after I wake up and 1 hour before I go to bed. Creating this space allows me to check in with myself and my thoughts before connecting with other people. It also gives me space to check-in again with myself before drifting off to sleep.
Befriend Your Saboteur.
Notice that critical voice in your head? Instead of fighting against her, why not take some time to get to know her and befriend her? It might sound silly, but take out a sheet of paper and give her a name. Mine is Non Stop Nancy. She’s always on my case making sure I work harder, push farther and never take breaks. Take a moment to write down all of the things your saboteur says to you. Nancy likes to tell me to “stop being lazy” and tell me that I’ll “never get anywhere if I take a break.”
Next, I want you to reframe your relationship with Nancy. What if instead of being a bully, she was actually your biggest advocate? For me, Nancy is one of the reasons I’ve been able to accomplish so much in my life. Take a moment to write down all of the things you’re grateful to have in your life thanks to your saboteur.
Exercise For Strengthening Your Outer Voice:
Now that you’ve been able to examine a bit more of your inner voice, let’s shift your focus to your outer voice and how to present and speak with presence and confidence. As a trained opera singer, I have spent decades mastering the craft of my voice as well as my breath and body in order to help support my instrument. If you’re looking to feel more calm and comfortable when you speak, particularly for an upcoming presentation or even in a meeting where you need to speak up – try this exercise:
- Root both of your feet firmly to the ground. If you’re standing for a presentation, wear shoes that don’t make you feel like you’re going to tip over. It’s important to feel like you have a strong base beneath you.
- Sit or stand up straight. Whether you’re giving this presentation virtually and you’re seated, or you’re standing in a room full of people, make sure your back is straight and your chest is proud. (This might feel uncomfortable for us ladies who have larger chests – trust me, you’ll want your lungs to be able to expand so you can use that voice you’ve got!)
- Breathe in from your diaphragm. Diaphragmatic breathing can also be called belly breathing. Make sure your abdominal muscles expand and you can feel your belly moving in and out if you place your hand on your stomach.
- Take three deep belly breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. This helps to control the nervous system and allows your body to relax.
- After calming your nerves, try speaking a few sentences while using the same diaphragmatic breathing you tried in the previous steps. Notice a difference? Your voice should sound and feel more grounded and will often have a more solid, sometimes lower pitched tone.
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Summer is a coach, writer, speaker and the founder of Created with Confidence. When she’s not working with clients or spending time outdoors, her favorite thing is helping ambitious humans succeed in following their dreams.