Does Your Voice Suit Your Role(s)?


When I work with professionals who are developing their voices, the following quote sometimes comes to mind.

A successful, effectual professional needs MANY voices because, no doubt, you play many roles in your job. A leader, a teammate, an authority, a persuader, an empathizer... all call for different voices. And if your voice doesn't hit the right notes for the particular job? Your message will fall flat, or worse, hit the wrong notes, and... 

That could mean the difference between winning a new client, being promoted, or even getting the gig in the first place. But how do we find the voice for a role we haven't played yet or don't yet feel quite at home with, without letting "imposter syndrome" get the better of us?

To Play Your Role Like No One Else,
You've Got To Take Some Risks

It takes courage to "sing a different tune," try out a new voice or way of speaking, feeling, thinking, and sounding in your body... But if it's what the role calls for, it's what has to happen in order to perform your job well, and for your message to truly resonate with your listener(s). Simply said, if you don't take some creative chances, you won't flourish in your role.

The unknown, unfamiliar or untapped can be scary, but you never know what great sounds are within you--and really are a part of you, until you take some risks, feel vulnerable or uncomfortable, play a bit, even feel a little scared!

Over the years, after working with and having conversations with hundreds of individual clients--people from all walks of life, backgrounds, and cultures, I've come to understand that these challenges are ones we ALL deal with. Our professional and personal lives and the roles we play in them are continually changing, and so does are society's expectations for our behavior, how we sound, and the way we play our roles. Finding the right communication style and voice is a continual balancing act of figuring out just the right approach for a specific situation at any given time.

To return to the imposter syndrome idea, I recall a situation that my sister Susan, a neurologist, experienced. When she first started working in a hospital after medical school, she realized she had a ton more to learn and experience before she could feel truly confident in her role. On top of this, she was a young-looking, pretty, tiny person working with people who were, generally, much older than her.

She realized that it was her JOB to find the right voice for this new role; one that would make patients feel safe and well-taken care of, that conveyed expertise and authority. In addition, it needed to be a tone that conveyed a feeling that she had her patients' best interests at heart.

*Side note: There was an interesting study done that found that doctors who spoke in a nurturing tone got sued with much less frequency than those who spoke in a more dominant, colder voice.

It's always about finding the right vocal balance for the job.

Questions to ask yourself:

Are you stuck in a voice that is no longer working for you, or, are you limited by just a few voices in your communicative repertoire?

Are there sounds within you that if tapped or nurtured could benefit you in your life? What great sounds are in there just waiting to come out and be cultivated?

More specific questions to consider:

What struggles do you encounter with your voice? Do you wish it were stronger, more reliable, more flexible...?

Is your voice expressing your true and best self, and all the colors it is capable of?

Also... How would your life be different if the vibrations you felt and sent out into the world resonated more fully and meaningfully?

Don't squander what could be, and should be, one of your greatest assets--your voice! Explore it, cultivate it, learn from it. The impact it makes on your life can be profound.

Tell me about your voice experiences. I love hearing and learning from you.

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