I think I finally found my voice. “Finally?!” You say…
Those who have always known me may laugh at this. “She’s never needed help with that!” I can hear them say. I remember when I was in middle school really learning to give speeches, the teacher would talk about “projecting” your voice so the whole room could hear. I remember really wanting to project-and as I result, I’m pretty sure I was quite loud and stayed that way.
My best friend was lovingly called, “megaphone” by another friend of ours…and we lived together throughout graduate school. If I wasn’t loud enough on my own, together-we were on “volume 10.” So in simple terms, I have always had the volume. But it took me until I was in graduate school to realize how unsure of myself I usually came off, laughing after sentences that were not intended to be funny-but instead out of pure discomfort. Looking away, down, or ending all sentences like I was asking a question…you know what I mean, when the last word goes up in pitch rather than down. A sure sign of insecurity.
Carry us forward to meetings at work in which I always had something to say and felt I genuinely could not hold back my opinion, despite my best efforts. Friends told me to “stay under the radar” and as much as this seemed like the logical option, I was not very skilled at this. Instead, I needed to speak up, have an opinion about everything, be relevant.
Finding our voice is not always about speaking loud or a lot. It is about balance. Learning to hold back and when to speak up and finding space to stop caring about judgments from others and just speak your truth. To realize when no one is listening and speaking louder, being pushy, or downright “bitchy” is not going to get you the respect you deserve either.
I realize now that all along, I was fearful of being judged, of being alone, or outcast. We all are afraid of these things at some point in our lives, but I think those of us who have struggled with anxiety, have seen the worst of this. This, of course, makes sense from a biological perspective, in that there was a time in which we needed the “group” to like us in that this ensured safety, shelter, and food. But in modern times, judgment means none of these things. Instead, I think it can be a fantastic lesson in facing our fears and speaking our truth.
I no longer care enough to go to the meetings where everyone is going to argue or be “up in arms” about the next new policy. I no longer care what other professionals think of me if my clients are getting better and not only coming back to baseline, but instead thriving at a level they never before believed was possible. Lately, I have found myself saying various renditions of the phrase, “I don’t care, judge me,” and meaning it.
This seems to be the place when purpose sets in. When we are able to speak authentically and know when to speak and when not to, and to truly, genuinely stop caring what people think, and actually welcome judgment. In the entrepreneur world, I seem to have so boldly jumped into, people genuinely celebrate the “haters” online. The ones with mean things to say on the ads we slaved over. It is an indication that we have “made it” somehow. I’ve started to notice a few of my own. It’s like a right of passage and judgment from the public, from competitors, etc., means people are looking. There was a time in which that concept would have terrified me. But today, it’s exhilarating. I welcome judgment. I do not intend to be everyone’s cup of tea. But I love that. I am creating a tribe of amazing people who have the potential to change the world and are already doing so in glorious ways.
So yes, “judge me.” Love me. Hate me. I am done hiding in the shadows. If I no longer fear judgment, little can hurt me. Join me, won’t you? Invite them all to judge you too. Breathe in deeply. Breathe out the fear that’s been taught to you from the time you were young and all your subconscious beliefs surrounding judgment. Time didn’t stop and the world didn’t end. In fact, it is just beginning.
If you are reading this and are longing to find your voice as well, to overcome fears of judgment and worries about what everyone will think, I’d love to talk with you. Visit my website here to set up a free call. Wishing you a joyful week.