#63 Use Your Voice

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year! My hope is that 2019 is everything you desire it to be!

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#63

Use Your Voice

The phrase ‘use your voice’ is interpreted differently across gender, culture, and age but for the purpose of this writing, it is specifically referring to the effort of speaking the words that run through your mind and heart. You may wonder why that isn’t a universal automatic event because certainly, some people speak with very little consideration and yet, so many do not.

The Unspeakable

Perhaps as soon as we learn to speak we realize that there are things not to be spoken. It’s not polite to verbally address someone’s size or age; to ask about their income or sexual interests; or to openly condemn or criticize. We’ve learned how to be politically correct and how to keep the peace. All of this however, comes at the price of forgetting how to ‘use our voice’.

Shut up & Shut down

When we discover or realize that by speaking our mind or sharing our heart – we may experience negative consequences, we tend to adopt coping mechanisms to make communication easier. In many cases, it stimulates the reflex of shutting down and silencing those thoughts and feelings that might otherwise be shared. We may have grown up with a parent who wasn’t open to other opinions or lived with a spouse who lived within rigid parameters. We might live in a strict culture.

There may also be internal factors that keep us from vocalizing our thoughts; ‘will people still love me?’, ‘ will I sound stupid?’, ‘will anyone pay attention?’. Sometimes, it is the inner voice that controls our courage to vocalize.

Listen & learn

The first step in learning to use your voice is listening carefully to your thoughts and deciphering what you want to say. Clear out the clutter and get to the heart of the matter. Once you do that, make sure to deliver the message in a clear and constructive manner so that it can be heard. Learn how to avoid blaming language, use “I” statements, and offer solutions. Learn to have confidence in your thoughts, knowledge, and presence.

Delivery

Using your voice doesn’t mean that you automatically say everything that comes to your mind without thought and intention. Making sure to speak with clear intention is perhaps, the most important element. Choosing every word – especially when confronting a problem – on purpose is often the key to a successful outcome. And right behind that is the requirement to speak everything in kindness. Confrontation doesn’t have to be ugly to be effective.

If you find that this is an area of your life that could use more resolve, consider a New Year’s resolution to more effectively…

Use your voice.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#100 Quit a Bad Habit

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#100

Quit a bad habit

It’s not quite the New Year when many of us will jump on the idea of eliminating the bad habits that hinder our best selves which, might just make it the best time to go ahead and quit now. Bad habits are those things that we do that we know aren’t helping us; the things that nag us more than our moms.

Obvious

These malicious behaviors are quite obvious and include doing anything in excess (drinking, eating, spending, etc.), smoking, nail biting, and snacking. They are the things we ‘know’ we need to stop doing for our health and overall welfare. These habits can literally put our life in danger. They impede our self image, our confidence, and esteem.

Subconscious

Some habits have developed underneath our awareness. Some of us twirl our hair incessantly or click a pen to the extent that our co-worker want to jump across their desk just to grab it away from us. Or how about that foot that shakes or the leg wiggle that indicates nervousness? Constantly smacking gum, or slurping coffee are common habits that go unnoticed by the habitour but are obnoxious irritations for those in the vicinity.

Verbal

Some of our bad habits are verbal… Saying the word “like…” far too often and contextually inappropriately; speaking too loudly for the environment; and using the sound “um…” in more than just an occasional sentence. While not directly verbal – many of us don’t make eye contact while speaking – a habit that is considered downright rude in many cultures.

Notice

As with anything, in order for it to be changed, you must be aware. Ask friends and family members for their observations to catch the things you aren’t aware of. Make a list of the items that you may want to work on and consider which ones are priorities – don’t try to make too many changes at once.

Twenty-one Days

In order to break a bad habit – replace it with a good one. If you are trying to stop smoking – chew gum instead. If you’re trying to break the habit of nail biting – find a way to keep your hands busy; crochet, knit, play with a fidget spinner or stress ball. If you can eliminate your bad habit for at least 21 days, the odds of beating it all together is greatly improved.

Don’t wait for the New Year and a resolution that will likely be broken quickly. Make the effort today so that you will go into the next year without that annoying behavior. Take a minute to pick one and then commit to …

Quit a bad habit.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.