I’ve been thinking a lot. It’s been quiet here as a result. For a few reasons, really, and when it came down to it, I think they’re all related.
One, I lost my job. No biggie, it happens to people all the time. But I’ve never been let go (unless you count that lame mall job from my teens) and I haven’t been on the job market for over ten years, so it was a little bit daunting to get that news. I’ve got good traction now with a few interesting companies, and I’m confident all will end up okay, but it required me to do a lot of self-reflection, planning, and thinking about what I want to do next.
Two, the current political climate. If you know me, you know my views. If you don’t, they’re actually not important. What’s important right now is the unrest, the hatred, the sense of desperation and despair I feel and see all over the place. Not just online, but in my own community. It’s unsettling to say the least, and so many people are trying to figure out what they can do personally to change things for the better.
Three, the state of the digital industry. It’s stagnant. It’s the same handful of “thought leaders” most of the time, and more often than not it’s a bunch of middle-aged white dudes pontificating in little conclaves about what the rest of us should be doing. I don’t think the solution is to create more label-based groups of “women in digital” that can serve to further marginalize those groups. Rather, while we need to make a conscious effort to have diverse voices heard, the real magic lies in having a better and more powerful way to express what we know.
Have I lost you completely yet?
There’s a thread here, actually. And it came from an unlikely place.
After my last book proposal was rejected by all the key publishers I hoped would buy it, I had to take stock of a couple of things. One was the marketing power of my platform, which is only solved through time and contributing value to the community at large. I know how to do that, I’ve just not made it a priority for a while, so my numbers lag others in my space. Fine, ok.
But the second problem was more important. And more vexing.
My platform needed clarity.
In layman’s terms, I wasn’t really sure what I stood for anymore. Or why. Or what I was bringing to the world that no one else was. It wasn’t my marketing acumen anymore, that was boring me. So what was it?
I spent lots of time ruminating. I hired Tamsen Webster, one of the best in the business, to help me find the through-line in my purpose and message that I knew was there but that I was having trouble crystalizing. And as suspected, she asked just the right questions, I did a lot of writing and soul-searching, and there it was.
When it came down to it, what I stand for, what I believe in, what I believe I can help others with in a way that’s unique and different from anyone else is the power of finding your strength of voice.
It’s been the undercurrent of everything I’ve ever done, really; marketing, branding, nonprofit and animal rescue work, writing, speaking, advocating for mental health issues, parenting…the list goes on.
I believe that each of us has something unique and valuable to contribute to the world, but that it can only be heard if we find the clarity and the courage to express it in a way that encourages others to listen.
I call that “strength of voice”, because it’s not just about loudness or volume or reach. It’s about impact. It’s not about who can shout more loudly, but who can command the attention and respect that moves others to action. In music school, we learned that the most delicate pianissimo passage can be equally – if not more – powerful than the most bombastic, loud finale.
The trick, of course, is that your Strength of Voice and mine will look, feel, and sound different based on the inputs we give it: our life experiences, the personality of our voice, the issues we choose to give voice to, the audience we’re addressing.
But the tenets? They’re largely the same. That’s where it gets really interesting. Truly, there are a handful of practices and mechanics that, when applied, can strengthen anyone’s voice. They’re sort of the universal constants. But the magic happens when you take your unique inputs and experiences, put them through the “system”, and come out with a Voice that’s not just unique, but strong.
So, back to the issues up top…can you see how cultivating Strength of Voice can help create progress in all of those places?
Whether it’s a personal challenge or a global one, a mundane task or a monumental one, consciously working on your Strength of Voice can deliver huge impact, instill confidence, and create a sense of individual purpose and power that you’ve probably been looking for.
So that’s what you’re going to hear me talking about for the next while. Sure, there are marketing lessons in there, just like you’ve come to expect from me. But there are also applications to writing, conflict resolution, interpersonal communication, and more. I hope you’ll join me through this exploration, because your experiences, challenges and stories about finding your Strength of Voice are what’s going to really make this meaningful and valuable, and I hope you’ll share them with me.
I’m ready to get to work. Will you join me?