These are all human eyes.
Each one looks so different (you can find more here)
But that’s not the extraordinary thing.
The extraordinary thing is that each one looks at different things. From different angles. Each one sees the world in a different way.
Just the other day I had a 75 minute skype video conversation with Michael Margolis of www.getstoried.com.
Our conversation somehow wove together the notions of niche, point of view and story telling (and me talking about a sex workshop I went to and all sorts of unintentional innuendo). I’ll be sharing it with you all in the coming months.
And then today, I read an inspiring blog post about ‘finding your voice’. So, I thought I’d jot down some of my understandings about it.
Why is some marketing inspired and inspiring and other marketing feels gross? Why do some websites (like my friend Carrie‘s) feel so wonderful and like home and others feel slick and hypey? Why do some sales letters feel so real and authentic and others feel forced and contrived? Why do some people seem so trustworthy and others . . . we’re not sure.
Probably a lot of reasons, but these days I think that so much of it has to do with finding our voice.
Finding our own style. Our own way of saying things. Our own unique point of view and take on things. Telling our own story of the world from where we stand. Speaking from our own experience without apology. Finding our own way in the midst of a broader community.
It’s not about having the loudest voice – but the truest voice. The one that can harmonize best and solo when needed.
It’s about having the courage to call a spade a spade. To point out when the emperor has no clothes.
When you meet someone who’s found their voice you just melt. They’re so trustworthy. They’re not exuding a false confidence or bravado. They’re not posturing. They’re comfortable in their own skin. They’re not leaning on anyone. They exude what Stuart Wilde spoke of as a Silent Power. They’re walking through the world giving, not taking. There’s something so simple about them. It’s not complicated. It’s clear.
And remember: the confused mind always says no.
As you find your voice (both in tone and message) the world becomes less confused with you. It becomes clear about who you are. And you become not a searchlight desperately looking for people, but a lighthouse. A beacon calling your ships to safe harbour.
You won’t draw everyone; you’ll draw the right people. They’ll self select in. They’ll hear your words and your tone and they’ll say, ‘Yes. I’d like to hear more of that.’
Is there marketing to be done to magnify your voice and make sure it’s heard? Of course. But that’s another conversation.
There are so many ways to find your voice and, in his beautiful post below, Leo Babauta shares his take on this.
Here are a few of my own.
seven ideas on finding your voice
idea #1 – Be curious. I suppose this is the thread through the rest of them. Follow your curiousities. Because you’re the only one in the universe who feels them in just the way that you do. You’re the only one with those particular eyes that see things just as you do.
You can trust your curiosities to lead you perfectly.
They’re the best part of you that guide you your whole life towards wholeness.
idea #2 – Get some space. Do you ever just look at the front door and think, “I just want to walk on out . . . and keep going?” It’s a human itch my colleague Nicole Moen writes about – the urge for pilgrimage. The need to get out of our routines, habits and everything keeping us stuck where we are. The need for a fresh start. The need to begin again. To get space from all the expectations and demands on us so that we can begin to hear ourselves again.
idea #3 – Reflect on your journey. We do a lot of living, but not a lot of reflecting. You’ve been on a journey from somewhere to where you are now. And, on that journey, you’ve learned a lot. Much more than you realize. Think about where you started and where you are now.
What do you know about the journey now you wish you’d known back when you started? Go for coffee with a friend and share your stories. Listen deeply to each other. Reflect what you hear in each others stories. There’s non stop learning to be had here. A note: sometimes we are just too close to our own lives to reflect on it. Sometimes we need a guide to help us. It could be a friend, a guru, a mentor, a counselor or therapist. Someone who loves you and is deeply skilled in listening.
idea #4 – Let yourself bitch (privately). Don’t try to be so positive, people pleasing and accommodating. Stop being so accepting and forgiving for a few hours. Let yourself be human. Let yourself complain viciously about all the bullshit you see around you: in your community, in your industry, in the world. Be ruthlessly honest about what you think and feel. Write it all down.
And realize that you’re not alone.
And realize that others feel this way too and they feel alone.
Why not speak up and let them know they’re one of many? Why not pose questions in facebook statuses and tweets asking, ‘does anyone else feel this way?’ And now that you know what you’re against take all of that and reverse it – what are you for? What do you want instead? Refine it. Clarify it.
idea #5 – Let yourself appreciate what you appreciate. Think of all the things you’re naturally drawn to in your life. Who are the colleagues you’re most drawn to and why? Who are your mentors? What fascinates you in your industry and in your life? Where are you nerdy? What do you actually spend your time on (vs. where you think you should spend your time).
idea #6 – Answer these questions. In depth. Take a friend out for coffee and give them a print out of these questions and have them ask you each questions, one at a time, until you have nothing left to say and then move onto the next. Delve deep, deep, deep. You might be surprised at how much you have to say. You might be surprised about how strong your opinions are.
idea #7 – Engage in conversation with people about it. Once you’ve bitched, clarified, delved and refined – why not express it in some way? Maybe it’s a poem, a rant, a song, a manifesto, a video, a set of principles, a diagram, a pie chart, a doodle etc. It won’t be perfect – but it will get the conversation going. And that’s what we want. And you will learn a lot from that conversation which will help you clarify for yourself what you believe.
Want some more ideas and thoughts on this? Why not read what Leo has to say below . . .
Finding Your Voice
by Leo Babauta.
Creators of any kind must find their voice.
We are writers, musicians, designers, programmers, parents, builders of anything. But we are not truly expressing ourselves, and speaking the truth, until we’ve found our voice: the tone, style, tenor, pitch, personality we use to express ourselves.
Our voice is our essence, writ plain for the world to see.
A reader and fellow writer asked me how I found my voice. And I have no easy answer — I’m not even sure I can say I’ve fully found my voice yet. It’s a quest that doesn’t seem to end — not a Grail quest, really, but a constant retuning as the essence of who I am neverendingly changes.
But I feel I’ve found something that has the texture of truth, even if only a tactile approximation. I’ll share some of my thoughts, but keep in mind I don’t hold the answers firmly at all.
I’m learning, and I hope my learning helps yours. This is written for writers, but the ideas are the same for anyone who creates anything.
to read the rest of this brilliant post: click here