Today I want to explore finding and using your authentic voice. Let me start with a few questions for you:
- Do you ask for what you need?
- Do you speak up when you’re moved to?
- When you use your voice, is it authentically you?
It’s more important than ever that we use our authentic voice to take a stand for what’s important in alignment with our values.
We see too many examples of lack of civility and contests for the loudest, most obnoxious voice. Let’s practice a more effective form of communication.
Let me share some examples.
My cat, Pepper Cat, has been very sick. She was diagnosed with glaucoma in one eye and my healthy, vibrant cat started to rapidly spiral downhill. When my vet wasn’t responsive, I reached out to a friend who rescues feral cats to ask for a vet recommendation.
The new vet got me into the office right away. However, I had to cancel a couple of appointments to make it happen. When I cancelled the appointments, I was honest about why I was cancelling, I apologized for the inconvenience and I asked for support.
One of the wonderful aspects of intentionally cultivating my community with like-minded, value-driven, philosophically-aligned people is I can be authentic, honest and ask for what I need when I need it.
End result: My business colleagues wrapped up in support and understanding with genuine compassion to help me navigate my fear, worry and concern.
What a gift.
When I arrived at the new vet’s office, there was a gentlemen in the lobby who had zero self awareness or read of the room. He talked non-stop to every person who sat down by him. The moment I dreaded arrived – everyone else was gone so he turned to me.
I was in no space to have a conversation, be conversant or listen to someone talk. I was emotional and overly concerned for Pepper who was not only feeling miserable, she was very upset being in a carrier. I needed to be quiet, find my center and give my full attention to calm my cat.
When he started to talk to me, I politely told him I was not in a place to have a conversation. It had been an emotional morning and I really just wanted to sit quietly with my cat.
He was shocked and a little pouty. I got the sense he was not accustomed to people telling him they didn’t want to be in conversation with him.
But here’s the deal – I’m not responsible for his reaction.
I’m responsible for myself and honoring what I need in each moment and asking for it in a respectful, kind manner.
I was polite, honest, and used my voice to directly and authentically ask for what I needed. It would have been out of integrity for me to disregard my deep emotional needs to accommodate his desire to talk to a stranger.
When we have a need and disrespect it, we’re out of integrity with ourselves. When we don’t honor ourselves, even (especially) in the smallest moments, we chip away at our self worth. Over time, it has a cumulative negative consequence on our well-being.
Fast forward, I was in the drive thru lane at a pharmacy to get a prescription for Pepper. Another customer was in the adjacent lane. She was very nicely explaining to the pharmacist that their phone system wasn’t working and shared her experience.
Unfortunately, the pharmacist chose to argue with her and to repeatedly tell her she was wrong. She maintained her composure and politely tried to explain the issue – clearly, she was in the industry based on her knowledge and use of tech terms.
The pharmacist verbally beat her into submission by refusing to believe her and opting to be right instead of gracious for the feedback. The customer transformed from good Samaritan to a browbeat, upset customer who may not return.
I sat there taking it all in and consciously checked in for my authentic response and how to effectively use my voice. I had the same experience with the phone system on my way to the pharmacy. And I was very moved by the customer’s effort in trying to explain the challenge to the pharmacist. And, I didn’t like how rudely she was treated when she was trying to help.
As the pharmacist turned her attention to me, I kindly told her that I had the same experience with their phone system as the other customer described.
She started to argue with me and I politely stopped her. I told her she can choose what she wants to do with the information and the appropriate response to a customer who is trying to help with a perceived business issue is to simply say “thank you.” “But” she started to stammer and I stopped her again.
I very calmly, politely and firmly said, “You’re only response is to say ‘Thank you’ for the feedback.” She stopped and took it in. Finally, she said “Thank you.” She calmed down and then politely assisted me.
If I had not spoken up, I would have regretted it. It would have chipped away at my integrity by not honoring my values (which include authenticity, courage, love and spirituality which is defined as “concerned with the human spirit or soul.”) I hoped that the energy of this exchange would find its way to the previous customer’s being because I was concerned about her spirit. And even if it didn’t, I hoped the pharmacist would think twice about how she responds to, and treats, customers in the future.
Please use your voice.
Use it authentically, responsibly and respectfully.
Use it to uphold your values.
Use it to help those around you.
Use it to ask for what you need.
You are worth it.
You deserve it.
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