Believe or not, I was once a quiet and shy girl growing up in North Carolina…
As one of the only Jewish girls at a Catholic school, it was not easy being different.
I lived way out in the country, and some people did not understand my background (the same issues that many people deal with today). But because I wanted to keep the peace, I chose not to say anything.
But one day, I saw something happen and everything changed. That was the moment I had HAD ENOUGH.
You can read about that moment in my book Life Tune-Ups. I was sick and tired of seeing people being bullied just because they were different.
Now, I certainly don’t condone violence, and I did get in trouble for that incident.
But that moment was important for me. It was the moment when I stopped staying silent and started standing up for myself and for others.
Since then, I’ve made the decision to stay true to that voice and always do what I feel is the right thing, regardless of what other people think.
You may have had a similar moment in your life when you found YOUR voice. Or maybe you feel a little stuck right now, and you’re searching for that clarity and strength.
No matter where you are right now, it’s an ongoing process. As you know, life loves to throw us curveballs and sometimes we can start to feel insecure and uncertain.
For this reason, I have tools that I use to help me stay in touch with my voice, so I make that 12-year-old girl in North Carolina proud.
You can use these same tools to find or stay true to your own voice so you can live and express yourself with confidence, clarity and strength:
- Check in with yourself regularly.
The question I like to ask myself is, “Am I staying true to myself or am I selling out?” If I’m ever feeling uncertain about what I’m doing in my life, that question always puts me right back on track.
You can ask yourself that question, or you can create one of your own. What is one question you can ask yourself that will give you instant clarity and help you get out of a tough spot?
Here are some ideas:
Does this make sense for me?
What do I feel compelled to do?
Am I following my passion or am I giving into fear?
Am I doing this for myself or for other people?
Does this make me feel alive and energetic? Or tired, bored or anxious?
Does this feel easy and flowing? Or does it feel like I’m pushing too hard?
Is this who I want to be for my kids?
The key here is to be open and honest with yourself when you answer. The more often you check in with yourself in this way, the easier it will be to stay true to your voice.
- Adopt a mantra.
Mantras are powerful tools that remind you of how strong you are. Think back to the last time you really struggled. What did you tell yourself to get through it? Things like …
I can do it!
Never give up.
Everything always works out in the end.
Write down that mantra and keep it where you’ll see it often, so that the next time you’re up against a big challenge or you feel low, you’ll know what to say to feel empowered again.
You already have the power within you … you just need to remind yourself!
Here are some mantras from other strong women:
“I can and I will.” – Gina Rodriguez (passed down to her from her father)
“If you don’t try you’ll never get anywhere.” – Cyndi Lauper
“Quitters never win and winners never quit.” – Lisa Nichols (passed down to her from her grandmother)
“Seven times down, eight times up.” – Stacy Musi, Managing Director of Chadick Ellig (and a black belt in karate!)
“I am calm, I am light, I am loved, I am OK.” – Lady Gaga
“Don’t dream it, be it.” – Laverne Cox
“Just keep swimming.” – Ellen Degeneres (and Dory)
- Choose a theme song.
In the movie of your life, what song would play as the opening credits roll?
What song would play as you walk out on stage to give an important speech?
What song pumps you up and makes you feel most like yourself?
That’s your theme song! Whenever you feel uneasy, put it on, sing loudly and dance like crazy! Music is a powerful shortcut to feeling how we want to feel. Even on our worst days, it has the ability to make us feel strong and connected.
My theme song is “Raise Your Glass” by P!nk. Nothing revs me up quite like it! 🙂
If you want to go even further with this, make a Spotify playlist of songs that make you feel like your best, most confident and most authentic self. Pop it on whenever you need a boost.
- Let it out.
This is one that’s hard for a lot of women. Even after we find our voices, it can be challenging to LET THEM OUT!
You are a woman with great ideas and opinions who deserves to be heard. Don’t you dare forget it!
Even the most powerful women need to remind themselves of this. Madeleine Albright talked about this insecurity as she recalled her first Security Council meeting, where she was the only woman in a room full of men:
“In this line of work and in many fields, what a woman says is often dismissed. And sometimes we do it to ourselves. You would think that by the time I became ambassador to the United Nations that I wouldn’t have this feeling.
I’m sitting there and there are 14 men of all different races and countries … and I thought, ‘Well, I’ll just wait to kind of figure out who’s who and whether I know who my friends are.
And all of a sudden I look and there’s this sign that says “United States” in front of me. And I thought, ‘If I don’t speak today, then the voice of the United States is not heard.
It was … kind of an out of body experience of thinking that I wasn’t just a woman that nobody wanted to listen to but I was THE United States and I had to speak.”
You may not represent an entire country when you speak, but what you say IS important!
Here’s my ritual for speaking up:
Take three deep breaths.
Push your weight into your toes if you’re standing up. This helps to keep you from shaking if you’re nervous.
Say to yourself three times, “What I have to say is important and deserves to be heard.”
Then start talking.
If you’re nervous about a particular conversation you need to have with someone, prepare ahead of time. Write down everything you want to say, and read it over and over to yourself until you feel confident in your message.
- Surround yourself with supportive women.
You don’t have to do it alone. Nurture the relationships you have with friends who recognize your strength and push you to be your best self.
Network and join groups to meet women who are committed to the same goals you are. There is so much power when women come together!
This is why I created LoBella, so women of all ages and backgrounds can come together to inspire, motivate and support each other, and feel like they are a part of a community of like-minded women. I’d love for you to be a part of it!
I also have a few spots open for my Inner Circle mastermind, where I’ll be working closely with 18 women for 18 months. It includes monthly coaching calls with me, monthly group coaching calls and lots of goodies! 🙂 It’s sure to help you discover and stay true to your unique voice!
Lastly, I would LOVE to hear your story! When did you find your voice? What was that defining moment for you?
What mantra or theme song makes you feel strong and has saved you in tough times? What tips do you have for speaking up? Please share!
– Loren Lahav