I have two clients for whom the voice is a central theme of the coaching exploration, for very different reasons. One wants to find their voice in the world, the other has a very strong voice to the extent that it is an important part of their identity. As a coach I have had to find my voice through being in the world in a different, more visible way.
The voice is a fascinating meeting of expression, communication and emotion in sound. It is physically heard through the ears and felt through vibration in the body. It is how we are recognised by others, how others hear us and how we make ourselves heard. We are incredibly sensitive to voices in how we respond to others, both in the words and how the words are said. Our voice is distinctive to us. We express and articulate our thoughts, feelings, responses and requests through the voice. It is an expression of who we are.
So what is to find your voice?
For me, finding my voice has been about feeling confident about what I want to say and that my voice reflects how I think about and experience the world. It is also about being comfortable with expressing that to others and understanding my expectations around response.
To find your voice is to be content in yourself. To be content in expressing yourself. It’s also about being connected to what you feel.
Yet so often it’s difficult to speak up, speak out and simply say how it it. Sometimes it can feel like a hurdle to find the right words, to make sense, to feel we will be heard, listened to and received for who we are. It’s like a physical stepping into a space. Sometimes we shout, sometimes we whisper. Sometimes, there is no need to speak, we may be listening or simply feeling. Sometimes it’s important to voice, to be visible, to respond and be present. To physically lose our voice is to lose part of our self. To not use our voice is to not be our self.
The voice verbalises what we care about in the world, it’s a vehicle for passion and value. It’s a way of being who we are in the world. We all have a valid voice. To find it is to believe that our voice matters, that to express who we are matters. We have the right to receive consideration of our desires and opinions. Our voice is a power to connect with others.
It may falter and break from time to time but when we use our voice to speak quietly and clearly from the heart any listener will hear it.