It’s a strange thing, isn’t it? This notion of having a voice. We see it bandied about so much. “You are so lucky to have a voice.” “Use your voice.” “I’m entitled to use my voice.” “I can use my voice to say whatever I like.”
But it isn’t the fact that we have a voice that really matters.
It is what we do with it.
We have to ask ourselves, are we using it to add to the world, or to take away from it.
It’s safe to say that the likes of Hitler, Mussolini, Pol Pot had big voices, voices that reverberated across the globe. Voices that removed the human from humanity. They did not use their voices to add to the world.
We aren’t so much lucky to have a voice as we are lucky to have a choice. We live in a time and place where the ability to use the voice isn’t up for debate. It is how we choose to use that voice that causes some dissent. We are torn between our growing Western belief that we have a right to say whatever we like versus the inner knowledge that we are born to create, to connect, to add to the world.
Become clear on what it is you want to say, what it is you want to put out into the world, how you want to make it a better place.
I choose to use my voice to highlight the ills that I see in the world, to talk about living with depression, to discuss parenting a child with autism, to try to bring a little more kindness into the world. Those are my choices.
That is my purpose.
I received in my email today a message from Seth Godin. I am not a business person, I have nothing to market. He is a world famous marketer. But he uses his considerable blogging clout to say so much more. He chooses to encourage people and businesses (who let’s face it, are always run by people) to be better – better at humanity. He strives to make a difference. And he asks us to do the same. He asks us to think about what it is we really want to send out into the world. He asks us to contemplate how we want our customers to feel. He asks us to question what legacy we really want to leave behind.
This very week, I was left feeling humiliated in a store by a store manager who public accused me of trying to garner a further $50 discount when I questioned the less-than-transparent pricing structure of the business. I had already spent a considerable amount of money but when I came to collect my goods, which took over a month for them to get right, I was asked to pay a further $50. I questioned their methodology and he chose to go on the defensive and humiliate me. His voice reverberated across that store and at me as a person. I will never step inside that store again. I wonder if he reflected on how he made me feel as a customer. I wonder if this is really what he intended. Was this the lasting impression he wanted to leave? Probably not.
We always have a choice. No matter how crappy our day, no matter how bad things seem, a simple voice of respect, dignity, gentility is always always possible. Going that extra mile is always possible. We don’t always feel like it, I know. Lord knows, I have bad days. But I am trying to be better. I am trying to use my voice to send out better things into the world.
Goodness knows the world needs it.
I love that I have a voice. I love that I have this platform on which to use my voice. I love that I have a choice on how I am able to use that voice.
Today, with only 28 days until Christmas and all the frantic running around that tends to bring, I am going to try to do better, to be better, to choose to use my voice for better. How about you?
Until next time,