This is episode #2 of the Voice podcast series, and I didn’t even mention your voice at all in part one. Well spotted.
Here’s the thing: if your work and your worth are inextricably bound together, you’re highly unlikely to use your real voice in any but the safest of environments. (Read: never.)
When a customer deciding not to use your services really means there’s something wrong with you and you’re not good enough — OF COURSE you’ll take it personally and then try even harder to please absolutely everyone by becoming more bland and broadly appealing.
When a criticism of something as simple as your color choices is, in your view, also a commentary on the ways you’re a waste of humanity, OF COURSE you’re not going to share your work with many people, or spend years pondering font choices in the hopes that you will be immune to critique.
If your latest project doesn’t do as well as you’d like, commercially, and that means you’re somehow less entitled to exist, OF COURSE you’re more terrified of failure than anything else on earth.
But! When you can separate your work (and others’ thoughts about it) from your worth as a human, you’re far more likely to take chances, share your opinions, and generally experiment with your output for both business and pleasure.
When you truly believe that a troll commenting about the size of your ass or waist or wallet or work has NOTHING TO DO with your intrinsic value as a human, you get freer. Fast.
Free, like: you don’t hide behind planning and planning and planning in ever-more-advanced attempts to stave off criticism by releasing a ‘perfect’ product, service, piece, website, or event. You just put your work into the world.
Free, like: you aren’t obsessed with making people like you (because their disliking you decreases your value as a human, asshole brain whispers), so you’re better suited to take a stand, to become less vanilla, and to express yourself as you truly are to those around you.
Free, like: you stop holding yourself to an unreachable ‘I’ll be myself when…’ standard that’s always six months or $10,000 away, so you can connect with the clients who are already on the calendar in a deeper way.
Tying your work and worth into a big hairball is the opposite of free.
When you close the door on your soul and tuck it into a tiny, tiny closet reminiscent of Trunchbull’s Chokey in Roald Dahl’s Matilda, you lock your voice up along with it.
You dim your opinions and feelings because you need the most people possible to approve of you.
You loosen your boundaries toward people who suck because you need them to like you, even if they text you absurd demands for sushi delivery at 3 a.m..
Then you spend more and more time scrolling or shopping to dull the pain of shutting yourself down.
When you untangle your work (its own entity! Books! Papers! Emails! Art! Coaching! Whatever it is!) from your worth (soul! Spirit! Ineffable magic in all kinds of forms, not the least of which may be dressing like a 4-year-old at inopportune moments!), you’re fucking FREE.
No one has to like you for you to feel okay with being alive.
No comment is forever.
No potential client’s decision to hire someone else will stir up all sorts of shame and not-enoughness within.
The kind of freedom you seek only comes when you’ve committed to connecting with and sharing your real/true/authentic/raw and probably uncomfortable voice with the world.
Right, but how the fuck do we do that, Kristen?
Glad you asked.
There are four qualities you can actively cultivate within yourself that pretty much guarantee your voice grows more resonant within your own soul and with like-minded people. Ready?
The voices who resonate most deeply within the soul are wild, kind, brave, and clear.
Wild, as in untamed. Willing to challenge the status quo and step outside societal norms when necessary.
Kind, not merely ‘nice.’ Willing to establish boundaries, tell the truth, and bear the consequences without being cruel in any given situation.
Brave, as in vulnerable. Willing to express the fullness of an experience in any given moment, even if it may not turn out well. Willing to move toward the expression of emotion and intensity, rather than away from it.
Clear, as in articulate. Not muddy and vague. Lacking doublespeak or cloudy ideals. Not harkening back to an imagined past that never existed. Concise. Clarity has done the hard work of sorting through murk and yuck to state the simple-but-not-easy truth in any circumstance.
When you connect with the parts of yourself that are wild, kind, brave, and clear, you naturally end up with a wilder, kinder, braver, and clearer (i.e. far more powerful) voice.
Those elements of your voice draw people to you online and off, for business and for pleasure, in ways you can’t even imagine when your soul is in The Chokey.
Let’s unlock it, okay?
I want to hear you speak with every bit of the authority and lack of shame that our politicians employ on a daily basis. (The morally bankrupt get a say, so you sure as hell get one, too.)
I want to hear you share your work — as well as the good and the right, the miraculous and the possible — without the fear of perfectionism or someone not liking you that currently keeps you bound up with silence.
I want you to reject the endless societal constraints placed upon you — be thinner, be quieter, be nicer, oh honey just ignore him he’s drunk — in order to become a freer, wilder, more intuitive human.
I want you to remember the deepest, truest self you’ve been tamping down, ignoring, hiding, or refusing to feed any carbs for years now.
I want to help you find a more expansive, brighter life within this one you’re already living — and then share that brightness with everyone you meet.
Ultimately, I want you to use your voice.
Today, and tomorrow, and for all the days to come.
The Voice workshop is for finding, unleashing, and using the voice of your truest self, starting in a human-to-human, real life space without online comments or haters of any kind.
We have far more power, wisdom, and creativity than we give ourselves credit for.
It’s time to let it out.
The next four podcast episodes are tiiiiiny travels into the places where you typically tamp your voice down and pretend everything is ‘fine.’ We’ll enter into each one together, undo the ‘fine’ parts, and go searching for ‘free’ instead.
In the meantime, let’s find the places where you tangle your work and your worth on the regular:
What have I made someone’s not hiring me say about my value as a human?
Where have I taken critique of my work as critique of my soul?
Where have I given in to asshole brain’s assessment of my total value being related to my brand/web presence/availability/font choices?
Am I predisposed to give the naysayers too much real estate in my brain? Which ‘comments’ or critiques do I still carry around?
Have I let any comments or critiques transform into new rules for being — to the detriment of my voice in the world?
Do I trust that I can be seen and loved as I truly am, even in business?
Where do I hide behind my ‘professional’ voice in order to avoid being seen, heard, or judged?
Journaling on the answer to any one of those questions will show you the places where you’re currently trapped in the work-is-worth paradigm — and will also show you where you can get FREE. Starting right now.