Authentic Voice

In a recent blog entry I shared a story about a mother and her son who was being bullied at school.  In my last entry I described how the story led me to a new question and an eventual resolution.  When my friend and world class teacher, Horst Abraham, read the story, he responded as follows.

“What a powerful story: “Back Off!” and finding your voice.  That is the essence of ‘Fierce Conversations’, a topic I have found more and more people being attracted to as they are searching for their true voice. When have we lost that voice to begin with?”

I am captured by the notion of people in the world searching for their true voice.  The word voice is most commonly associated with the notion of speech.  If you can talk, you have a voice.  Yet the idea of true voice means more than exercising our vocal cords.

Decades ago it was popular to speak of someone having “soul.”  A great musician, author, teacher, speaker was differentiated from a good musician, author, teacher, speaker by the fact that they were communicating with soul.

What this means is they were in touch with their own essence, core, or spirit.  They could recognize how they were emotionally responding to the changing world.  They could transform those feelings into words that carried both cognitive and emotional meaning to others.  In doing this they express what others may be feeling but could not articulate.  Their message has both emotional and cognitive content and it also has novelty.  It holds attention, makes connection, and permeates others.

When a person expresses something from the soul, we tend to listen.  Their emotions open our hearts and their content engages our mind.  This means that our own minds and hearts open and deep learning becomes possible.  Listening may thus lead us to see the world in a new way.  When we do, we become capable of acting in a new way.

I believe when a person finds their voice, they are speaking from their deepest feelings.  By integrating words with those feelings they are creating a transformation.  They are bringing power into the world by exposing their most noble self.

When a boy in the fifth grade says to a bully, “Back off,” and does it in his “thunderous voice,” the boy is expressing nobility.  When a woman stands in and speaks of finding the hand of God in the death of her child, she is also speaking in her “thunderous voice.”  When a lower level executive speaks up in a meeting with genuine concern for the common good, and questions the morality of a given decision, the executive is speaking in a “thunderous voice.”

I end with the penetrating question posed by Horst.  “When have we lost that voice to begin with?”  When have we become past feeling?  How do we become past feeling.  Why is it so rare to hear words spoken from the core of the soul?  Recently I had an experience that gives me insight.  In the next blog I hope to explore it.

Reflection

Why are so many people hungering to discover their authentic voice?

What is an authentic voice?

When in our organization have we heard someone speak in a thunderous voice?

How could we use this passage to create a more positive organization?

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