One of my mother’s favorite stories to tell people about me is how from the first few years I was able to talk, I would strike up conversations with strangers — usually little old ladies — to say hello and ask them how they were feeling that day. I was especially interested to know what was wrong if they had a cane, a cast, or a bandage of sorts. As I got older, I became fascinated with animals, and particularly concerned if I found one in peril — a lizard who’d gotten tar on its feet, a bird who’d broken its wing, or even a bee that had gotten trapped in the house. For some reason, I always seemed to be very sensitive to other people’s (and creatures’) feelings. I felt compelled to help however I could. As an adult, I now understand it was my mother’s own good nature that probably influenced this from early on.
When I got a bit older though, junior high to be exact, I found myself stuck in an uncomfortable world of cliques, popularity struggles, gossip and brutal critics. Never one for confrontation, let alone malicious behavior, I started to retreat from my usual inquisitiveness and outgoing nature and got quiet, for the first time in my life. I began trying desperately to fit in, just so I could get through each day. It wasn’t until high school that I found myself in a more comfortable environment and began to speak up again. I reconnected with my passion for meeting new people, figuring out what I could do to help, and began making up for lost time by starting new initiatives, organizations and assuming various leadership roles. It was then that I realized that what I said and what I did actually mattered to others. I saw that I could make a difference and found my voice. Despite a few painful adolescent years, I consider myself lucky to have the opportunity to express myself so freely with people from more countries around the world than I’d ever dreamed. Our “voice” is one of the most precious instruments each of us has!
To read more about finding your voice, including celebrating people and resources that enable us to express ourselves more freely, effectively and powerfully then check out this past YS Weekly newsletter!
Finding the best ways to express yourself and mustering up the inspiration and confidence to do so should be a little easier after you read this issue. Make sure you don’t miss little Mattie’s story – – it is sure to drive home the profound importance of finding our own voice, and prove how powerful it can be.