It is my belief that success and authentic leadership stem from growth. In my journey to conscious leadership, indeed driven by a profound desire for personal growth, I found myself on a path rich with lessons that have shaped my perspective on embracing one’s voice and asserting oneself.
Every distinguished leader has navigated their share of challenges to harness and amplify their unique voice for greater influence. The path to recognizing, embracing, and mastering your voice can be both exhilarating and rewarding, though often interspersed with its own set of hurdles. My journey was no exception.
The Weight of Words Unspoken
When reflecting on my childhood, I would characterize myself as an “old soul,” always brimming with curiosity and intuitiveness. I was a wanderer, incredibly aware of my surroundings even though I appeared to be lost in my own quiet world at times. Amidst these independent traits, my physical voice often waned into silence.
As you can imagine, that made navigating a loud environment at home an extremely difficult task. Throughout those years, my parents argued frequently and intensely. As a result, our St. Charles, Missouri home often resonated with the shouts of disagreement, so much so that these sounds became a familiar backdrop to my daily life. It was a negative atmosphere that I desperately wanted to take a stand against.
However, speaking out, in my mind at the time, was synonymous with retaliation. On the few occasions I mustered the courage to ask for peace, the backlash was immediate.
And every time I tried to stand up for myself, that peaceful environment that I longed for seemed to drift further away, instead replaced with a fear of voicing my feelings. What my parents may not have known is that their words had weight and they were felt. I began associating my voice and speaking up with confrontation.
Still, a resilient spark within urged me forward. I knew that I couldn’t continue holding back. I wanted to break free from the limitations I had imposed on myself — I wanted to be heard. So over the years, my voice grew stronger, louder, with every obstacle I faced, with every person’s voice that silenced me, until I was ready to rise above the noise.
But expressing myself wasn’t an overnight journey. It took time to confidently embrace and own my individuality.
Empowering Myself to Seek New Experiences
Overcoming the fear of speaking up was a gradual, yet significant milestone in my life.
Throughout the foundational periods of my adult life, I continued to predict challenging situations, preferring emotional observation to speaking up, navigating internally through situations rather than confronting them. Speaking up seemed fraught with risks, tempting me back into the familiar embrace of silence.
At first, I hesitated to use my voice and set boundaries, but I quickly realized that not speaking up was affecting me internally more than anyone else. It became clear that to become the person I truly wanted to be, I needed to find my voice and fully embrace it.
Through this process of self-discovery and learning to speak up, I have grown in ways I never thought possible. It has empowered me to assert myself, stand up for what I believe in, and set healthy boundaries in both my personal and professional life. The journey wasn’t always easy, but it was undoubtedly worth it. Now, I feel more confident, unconditionally authentic, and capable of facing any challenges that come my way.
Many of you, fellow millennials, might find my story reminiscent of your own journeys of personal growth. Through these challenges, we uncover our true selves and discover the true beauty and power of our voice. And while appreciating the idiosyncratic path that brought us to this point, it’s also crucial to avoid reverting to old patterns. To those of you currently navigating this path: I hope you feel inspired to use your uniquely powerful voice to stand up for yourself and establish healthy boundaries.
Embracing Expressiveness in Leadership
I can’t stress enough how important it is to be expressive. It’s truly amazing how, even in a limited sphere of influence, our single voice can profoundly affect others, leveraging our experiences to guide and uplift them.
Seeking new experiences and employing out-of-the-box thinking enabled me to craft my unique leadership style. I now harness my voice not just for myself but for those who struggle to find theirs.
Embracing expressiveness, advocating for what I believe in, and empowering others to do the same have become the pillars of my approach.
In a recent dialogue with Nasdaq, I was asked what advice I would give to my younger self if I were to start my entrepreneurial journey over again. This was my response:
In terms of my entrepreneurial journey, I often reflect on my younger self with fondness and nostalgia. I remember the excitement and enthusiasm that fueled me in those early days and the fears and doubts that sometimes held me back.
If I could speak to my younger self, I would encourage myself to cultivate a deep sense of inner confidence and courage. Starting a business requires a level of vulnerability and risk-taking that can be daunting, especially for those who struggle with self-doubt or fear of failure. However, I now know that taking calculated risks and putting myself out there is essential for growth and success.
At the same time, I would remind my younger self that failure is not the end of the road. Failure can often be an invaluable learning opportunity. I would urge myself to embrace the mindset of “failing forward” which means using setbacks and mistakes as opportunities to refine my approach, learn from my experiences, and ultimately move closer to achieving my goals.
You can find the complete interview with Nasdaq here.
Today, three distinct words (among so many others) paint the beautiful picture of who I have grown to be as an adult and as a conscious leader: expressive, quirky, and spiritual. Though just beneath the surface, that curious, perceptive “old soul” remains, still guiding me, still teaching me.
The Conscious Publicist Community
To every conscious leader nearing the mastery of their unique voice, and to those who are navigating through the challenges that once silenced them, remember this:
You are not on this journey alone. I have walked this path, and I stand in your corner. Do you have any thoughts or additional perspectives on the importance of speaking up?
I’m incredibly grateful for the community I’ve built and for your active participation in this journey of self-discovery and personal growth. Stay tuned for our upcoming episodes as we continue to explore engaging topics and embrace the power of our voices, together.
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