HOW I FOUND MY VOICE- AND HOW TO FIND YOURS by Liz Ryan
Hey Great Afternoon, Champions,
i trust that your day is going on well………….
I just came across this piece and i have since read it over 20 times….let me personally recommend this write up to you….. It is written by Liz Ryan, CEO and founder of HUMAN WORKPLACE
” Of eight kids in our family I was number six, way down in the batting order. We ran around in the woods and caught turtles and tadpoles. We lived outside Pittsburgh in an area I’ve since heard referred to as Pennsyltucky.
My dad worked in the business world. It looked deadly boring from my vantage point. My plan was to sing onstage or play cello in an orchestra. I liked the cello, but I thought it was unfair that actors got sparkly costumes while people in the pit had to wear black.
I didn’t finish high school and then didn’t finish college. I was antsy. I went to conservatory because I loved singing, but I didn’t like the theory, sight-singing or dictation classes and I missed the fizzy energy of my high-school musical world. I moved to Chicago at age 19 with my friend Greg to sing punk rock. I was too young to serve alcohol and earn a living wage waiting tables, so I got a job doing customer service at a greeting card company. I drew pictures to illustrate the customer-service procedures and chatted up customers on the phone. They made me a supervisor. I assumed my job was to make the work more fun.
My boss put me into HR in 1984. I assumed that job was to make the work more fun for everybody, not just customer service reps.
I started speaking in public when I went to U.S. Robotics in 1988. My boss, Casey, was launching an electronics association. “I’m going to start a CEO council,” he said. “You start the HR council.”
“Me?” I protested. “I have no idea how to do that.” “That’s perfect,” he said.
I organized lunches and plant tours and started to address HR groups. I thought public speaking meant splashing a PowerPoint slide on a wall and explaining each bullet in order. Casey said “I think you should take a break from public speaking.” I was crushed, but it was brilliant coaching. What if I ditched the PowerPoint and treated a presentation like theatre?
When the company was sold in 1997 I knew what to do next. “I’m going to write and speak about the workplace,” I said. “I’m going to talk about what work is and what it should be.”
But given the megaphone, I wavered. My first column was in the Chicago Sun-Times, where I wrote safe, wan pieces because I thought that’s what business writers did. I started a women’s online community and started writing for Business Week. I spoke to larger and larger groups more and more often. Little by little I jumped into the content moshpit.
All the learning you need is there, in the doing. If you want to grow your flame and your muscles as a thought leader, write or speak about what you believe. You will find your voice by testing yourself, over and over again.
Some people will love what you write and say. Some will hate it. Some will go a step further and hate you personally, especially if you shake their frames. I learned bit by excruciating bit that not everyone has to love me, and you will learn the same thing.
People came up to me after my talks. “I felt as though you were speaking directly to me,” they said. “I was,” I said. I talked about work as a personal thing that has our identity in it. I said that work is art and theatre and community. I talked about the Godzilla machine that blocks the creativity and team energy that have powered every good thing our species has ever done.
In the content arena there are no rules and no roadmap. One day when you’re sick of speaking to groups for free you’ll tell the next caller, “Here’s my speaking fee.”
That mojo spike will come from inside. No one will ever tell a person who speaks for free “No, I insist, I must pay you.”
No one will insist that you take money for your columns. You’ll decide when the value of your content has increased. You’ll give yourself a pay raise. You’ll lose opportunities when you do that, and you’ll wince when that happens and then something better will waft in. That’s how your muscles and mojo will grow.
I brought my voice and my gospel to my talks and columns. I stopped worrying what people thought of me. Not everyone likes me and some people won’t like you, either. Who cares? My columns are blank canvases where readers get to work out their issues. I don’t need everyone to love me. It’s better if some of them hate me. How else would I know I said something real?
You have a story no other person will ever have. People are waiting for you to bring your story out and share it. They need to know they’re not alone, that you’ve survived the floods and fires they’re living through. Business is theatre, and finally we are taking off our masks and costumes and saying “This cape feels like me, but this wig doesn’t, and I’m not wearing it anymore.”
We are bringing ourselves to work, finally, and giving up the good-girl/good-boy personas we should have discarded long ago. I found my voice when I realized I was waiting for permission to let my real self out, permission that was never going to come from anyone but me.
The first national TV interview is a milestone. The first international speech is another. You build muscles as you use them, the same way opera singers do. You grow into your headshot little by little. Expert witness projects are a different kind of theatre, righteous arguments made to a judge or a court reporter for the benefit of people you’ll never meet. Work is ministry when you speak with your own voice. It doesn’t matter what kind of work it is.
Speaking at the UN is a milestone. I spoke English to a Spanish-and-Portuguese-speaking audience listening to a translator. I looked for the translator in the glass-walled booth directly across the vast meeting room from me, a floor above.
“Please, Brother,” I told him in my mind,”get my jokes across.” The translator nailed it. The audience laughed at every joke. After my talk I sprinted up the stairs and caught him on a cigarette break. “I love you,” I said. “How did you translate my jokes so perfectly?”
“You can’t translate a joke that fast,” he said.”I told them each time, ‘She’s telling a joke now – laugh.'”
You will find your voice when you use it at work and everywhere you go. You can speak on stage or in your own office or warehouse. You can write columns for publication or write stories for your baby cousin. Use your voice every day and tell the truth about something important every chance you get. Your brain and heart need exercise, just like your body.
When you find your voice, you’ll inspire other people in ways you can’t imagine.
Your story is inside you and dying to get out. What could you bring about by shutting off the voices that say “You can’t” and “You shouldn’t” and stepping into your voice and your dream? The whole world is rooting for you. We can’t wait to see what you become!
Our company is called Human Workplace. Our mission is to reinvent work for people.”
now…thats how to get along the Pathway of Champions