The reoccurring nightmare appears every few months to remind me of a fear I can’t fully grasp. In my dream, I'm running, from someone or something, that is rapidly closing in on me. Sometimes the circumstances change, but what always remains, is that I scream for help and nothing but a whispery-croak emerges from my throat. I have no voice, and I'm terrified.
What are my dreams attempting to resolve? What I suspect is a deeply-rooted belief that my voice lacks substance, or weight. As an Executive Coach, the concept of finding one’s voice is part of the vernacular. Sometimes the concept is expressed as developing executive presence, discerning when to step-in and take a leadership stand, or even defining one’s vocation or purpose. My vocation is to support others to find their authentic voice. After all, what could be more important than living one’s life out-loud.
In Palmer Parker's, Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the voice of vocation, he writes of coming to a personal crossroad, a time when he recognized that he had found “a noble way to live a life that was not my own, imitating heroes instead of listening to my heart.” The prospect of a life lived from the outside-in, not the inside-out, became unbearable to Parker.
Living from the inside-out has become deeply compelling to me. Recently, for two weeks, I was on 100% voice rest following surgery. For an extrovert who experiences the world through speech, it has been both frustrating and illuminating. While difficult, silence offered time to consider questions that a busy life pushed toward obscurity.
• Am I living my biggest and best life?
• What would it take to live bigger, bolder, louder?
• How can my voice be used with greater clarity and purpose?
• What has silence taught me about living from the inside to the outside?
This time of silence has been a gift, offering space and time to listen for answers to life’s most provocative questions. Moments to consider how well my life speaks the language of my heart.
If you feel a stirring to find your voice, maybe it’s time to create the space and time to listen to your heart beat.