Voices: who’s speaking into your business?

I lost my voice last week (no it’s not behind the sofa – I checked). As someone who is generally very vocally expressive and also rehearsing for a singing part in a pantomime that’s showing next week(!), I must admit I have found it extremely frustrating to only be able to whisper and mime.

I am pleased to say the whisper has grown into a croak and is on its way back to full voice, and I even managed to croak my way through a teleseminar this morning which was described as “inspiring”, “very useful” and “wonderful stuff for the new year”!

Not being able to speak has made me a better listener, to the delight of my husband, and much more aware as well, of the people who speak into my life and my business.

I notice that there are people who I find naturally inspiring. People who encourage rather than criticise, even when they’re challenging. People who want to catalyse your individual potential rather than “just copy me”. People who believe in possibilities. And people who are comfortable with being human rather than striving for perfection.

For me, that’s a whole mixture of friends, colleagues, coaches, mentors, preachers and authors, including:

When I’ve spent time listening to these people – whether in the context of a prepared speech, a direct conversation, blog or book, or watching their Twitter stream – I find myself full of ideas, clarity and most importantly self-belief.

Then there are some voices which I find grating, discouraging and dispiriting. People who start every sentence with “The problem with…” , “Yes but…” , “Don’t…” or “You can’t…” for example. Or well-meaning folk who just want to protect you from taking any risks at all, just in case it all goes wrong. And sometimes it’s just a clash in values and how we see the world. When I spend too much time listening to these voices, I become despondent, doubtful and lethargic. Come to think of it, I think that’s probably the reason I stopped watching Eastenders!

We can’t always avoid negative comments or good-intentioned discouragements, especially as sometimes they can come from loved ones. We can choose which voices we pay attention to, and how much we allow them to shape our own voice and thoughts.

Which voices are speaking into your life and your business at the moment? Who coaches, mentors, supports and challenges you – formally or informally? What books are you reading? Whose newsletters do you subscribe to? What do you spend time watching and listening to? And do they build you up or tear you down?

I’d love to know – share some with us in the comment box below!

  • Grace!
    Thank you so much for the kind words you said and the wonderful group of women you’ve included me with. I’m honored to be in such excellent company (including yours!). You gave me chills.
    You’re definitely right about paying attention to who you listen to. Honestly, that can be a major contributing factor in your business success: garbage in, garbage out. You’re smart to seek out the kind of people who motivate and inspire you!
    Thanks again!
    Felicia

  • Felicia I couldn’t have said it better:
    “Thank you so much for the kind words you said and the wonderful group of women you’ve included me with. I’m honored to be in such excellent company (including yours!). You gave me chills.
    You’re definitely right about paying attention to who you listen to. Honestly, that can be a major contributing factor in your business success: garbage in, garbage out. You’re smart to seek out the kind of people who motivate and inspire you!”
    Grace I love your spirit and your creativity. I value your friendship and I am truly honoured to be included with this amazingly gifted and talented group of women who have such warm hearts.

  • Grace, I’m currently reading ‘Happiness; A guide to developing life’s most important skill’ by Matthieu Ricard. Just opening the book makes me feel serene and calm. The meditation suggestions are fab too, though I must practice more!

  • Thank you, my Lovely.
    I am naturally inspired by people who have a unique voice, can express themselves clearly, are up for it, can laugh at themselves even while knowing what their strengths are and what they have to offer the world, and who can find the best in other people and thank them for it.
    That would be you then.
    Marion x

  • Sue

    Great post Grace,
    The ‘naysayers’ are best avoided in any areas of life I find-they’ll knock your confidence to pieces. Far better to find the inspirational ones and tune in. For me this means avoiding the news mainly, as the general doom and gloom of the economy right now can put a damper on anyone’s enthusiasm and confidence-and I’m right with you about Eastenders too!
    Thanks,
    Sue 

    • A friend of mine who works in PR found that too – she has to keep up to date with the news, but can’t do it first thing anymore, otherwise her day starts with such a bleak outlook! Thanks for sharing your comment Sue.

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