These days, you can’t turn on the news (tv or radio) or log onto a social media platform without hearing the word “voice.” Or, hearing phrases like “finding your voice” or “the power of your voice.” You are hearing them a lot as the media covers the protests happening across this country and the world.
And, I am here for it! I am all in for people using their voice as an instrument for justice and reform.
I admire the courage, determination and passion of the protesters. And as I watch or read about the protests, I am reminded of how a person can’t manufacture their voice. Rather, it is something that is deeply connected to how they engage (or want to engage) with the world and how they express their beliefs. In other words, it’s their underlying “why.”
The same is true when it comes to your brand and message. They are intricately connected to your voice, which is intricately connected to your “why.”
Thus, even though the word “find” is often used in connection to voice, I truly believe voice is something people “discover.” In my opinion, it is a semantic that makes all the difference.
Last week, I suggested you ask yourself three questions (click here for a refresher). Your answers to those questions are one way that your voice emerges.
Another way is how you respond to events, people and circumstances happening around you. My very unscientific observation is this: I bet a large number of the protesters taking part in the 2020 protests are likely either discovering their voice for the first time or reconnecting to it in an unequivocal way.
And, you and I can learn a few things from the “2020 protesters” as they’ve been dubbed:
They are pissed off
They aren’t in the streets on a whim. They are on a mission. Though each person’s individual “why” may be different, what unites them is that they want to intervene and bring about a change.
What pisses you off? What things cause you to want to intervene?
Your answers contain – in whole or in part – the “why” behind your brand and message.
In my case, I was pissed off by the constant “messaging” that said success with money was all about the dollars and cents, without any regard to behavior and choices – on a personal and policy level. It’s one of the reasons I despise the term “financial literacy.” Because it often places all the responsibility on individuals, and absolves companies and the government of theirs.
The other thing that pissed me off was the notion that a “model” entrepreneur and small business owner is the one who gives their business everything, including their financial future.
They have hope
The path to change is never an easy road to travel. Yet even amidst the grief, rage and horror of what’s led to current (and past) protests, the 2020 protesters believe in what they are doing. They believe their actions will bring about systemic change – to address today’s realities as well as those in the future.
When you consider your message and the change you want to see, what gives you hope? What tends to strengthen you on bad or frustrating days.
In my case, I honestly didn’t expect the financial services industry to come around. What I knew was that I was resisting the industry narrative when it came to personal finances and one’s success with money. But I trusted I’d find my peeps who held a similar sentiment, however few they may have been – even if they didn’t describe it as I did. (Side note: It’s interesting to see how some twenty years later you now have large commercial banks talking about one’s “relationship with money.”)
They have an agenda
Or, as some might say, they have “actionable demands.”
In other words, they know it’s not enough to have a voice; the voice must lead to action. Also, they believe their voice is in service to something bigger than them. Even if it is inspired by needs and wants that hit extremely close to home, or if the specifics of the policy demands diverge amidst the protesters.
When you consider your message, what are you resisting or rebelling against? What actions are you willing to take to get it out and in front of your “audience?” Similarly, what actions would fall under a “bridge too far” because it crosses a moral or ethical boundary of yours?
If ever you want to “test” the congruency between one’s message/voice and their actions, look no further than their agenda/demands.
Something to Remember
The 2020 protesters are reminding you and me about some important messaging truths that can tend to get “lost” when there isn’t a crisis – be it a collective or individual crisis. Like…
- Your voice matters – it gives you agency and power and is amplified when joined with others.
- You don’t have to be famous for your voice to count, nor do you have to have a lot of social media followers.
- A collection of voices can, indeed, bring about policy changes, swiftly! (Look at the police reforms passed within the last week or so, taking previous efforts further than what was achieved before.)
So, just like with the 2020 protesters, much of your message is intertwined with your voice however you may express it. And because of the power of your voice, this is something to remember. Actually, this is something we all need to remember.