My good friend and colleague David Berry wrote an exquisite book about leadership. More specifically, A More Daring Life talks about the importance of finding our own voice of leadership at the crossroads of change. He presents this concept of voice through three distinctly different yet intricately connected lenses: The Voice of Understanding, The Voice of Connection, and, The Voice of Exploration. I'd tell you more, but then you might not do what I hope you'll do, which is to get your hands on your own copy and take a deliciously deep dive into his pages. I can't think of better fodder to kick off the year!
A few days ago, I wrote my first blog of the new year about my search for new marching orders for 2017. Simply put, they are to Go Forth each and every day and bring all that I have to offer to a waiting world. The necklace with those two words, Go Forth, the one I wear every day and that is pictured in that blog, sits squarely between my head and my heart. And, as I learned from David's book, so does something else. My voice. He recounts an experience of discovering that on him, exactly midway between his cerebral cortex and the middle of his chest, sits his voice box. That discovery led him to the insight that it is our voice that connects our head and our heart, and that we need both in order to live and lead well. It is our voice that connects our cerebral gray matter with our blood-red hearts, conveying both what we know and how we feel, what we think and what we believe.
These are trying times. Uncertainty, strife, fear and divisive forces seem to be at work all around us. Strident voices shout from every possible outlet, and they seem to be either emotionally charged but without thoughtful substance, or a spewing of cold hard data without any heartfelt warmth. I probably can't change that tide. And neither can you. But I can bring a different kind of voice to my days, and a different kind of message to all whom I encounter. And so can you. If ever there was a need for intelligent, wholehearted communication it is now. Inside our homes and in our houses of worship, in our places of work and the gyms in which we work out, on the street and at the checkout counter, in the airport ticket line and in the evermore cramped seats on the plane, in our social media conversations and in our social circles. Everywhere life is hungry to hear thoughtful, heartfelt words meant to help and to heal, to inform and to inquire, to encourage and to empower, to challenge and to change.
The power of our voice is immense. Our voice can change the world for good, but only when powered by both head and heart.
Go Forth and...Give Voice!