“All my life I had been looking for something, and everywhere I turned someone tried to tell me what it was. I accepted their answers too, though they were often in contradiction and even self-contradictory. I was naïve. I was looking for myself and asking everyone except myself questions which I, and only I, could answer. It took me a long time and much painful boomeranging of my expectations to achieve a realization everyone else appears to have been born with: that I am nobody but myself.” -- Ralph Ellison

I love what Ellison says at the end: I am nobody but myself. And that is significant and sufficient, right?

You were born with a unique voice.

Don't look to others to define who you are or what your purpose should resemble.

It's okay to be you. Avoid comparing yourself to others.

This is a big challenge for many people — trying to measure up to others. Part of what keeps people stuck is their inability to see themselves for who they are. Some people get caught up in the lives and stories of others, that they don't see their own relevance. Be or get comfortable in your own skin.

How important do you think avoiding comparing yourself to others is to embracing the greatness within you? Extremely!

When you start to compare yourself to others, telling yourself that you don't measure up, telling yourself that you are not sufficient or enough to walk in your purpose, you minimize what you have. You shrink in size and statue, and you start to just blend in. You avoid standing out or being in the forefront. You stand at the back of the room gazing on all those you think are ahead of you. And the more you do that, the smaller you make yourself.

I know people who struggle in this area. I have struggled in this area. They get cast in the shadow of someone else's life, someone else's story, that they lose their voice. They don't discover who they truly are.

Finding your voice means you have to discover the courage to walk in your own personal greatness. As one of my clients has defined herself as being bold and courageous, that's exactly what you have to be or become: bold and courageous about who you are and not being afraid to walk in that.

When you can understand that you have a voice that it is uniquely yours to develop and to share, you will stop allowing yourself to be diminished by the voice of others. You will no longer define yourself based on what others are doing or saying.

So how do you find your voice? Well, stop listening to the self-sabotaging voice, that's for sure. But I want to give you three ways (although there are many) to help you find and USE your voice:

FIRST: Despite what you've told yourself or made yourself believe, understand that you DO have a voice. That's a good first step: acknowledging that your voice does exist. You may not be using it, but you definitely have one. Discover what that authentic voice is.

SECOND: Embrace the uniqueness of your voice. Take in or receive what is you. Don't expect your voice, your journey or your process to mirror that of someone else's. Don't try to imitate someone else. Be authentic to who you are.

THIRD: Open your mouth. Begin to speak with your purpose-filled voice. This is both in the literal and figurative sense. Talk and walk in the person you are. Don't shrink beneath the voice of someone else because you think their voice is bigger or more powerful. When you begin to open your mouth, you will discover just how powerful yours is.

TRY THIS LITTLE EXERCISE: Think of something powerful you can say. Think about perhaps a great goal or accomplishment you desire to achieve. Or think about something you desire to say or even ask someone else.

Now, just open your mouth and say what it is you need or want to say. Now I can't hear you nor can anyone else, but you need to hear yourself. So if you're in a place where you can open your mouth, say the statement aloud. If your not in a place to do this exercise, write the statement down and when you get a chance before the day is out, do this exercise.

Here's my voice: My purpose is to inspire and motivate millions of people around the world to discover, embrace and walk in the greatness that is inside of them; to empower people with the tools to identify and resolve issues that keep them stuck.

Wow! When I hear myself say that, I get goose bumps because I know there is power in words. There is power in the sound of my voice.

How powerful does your voice sound?

Your voice is a direct reflection of what you are walking in. So if you're not walking in the person you should be today, you need to change your voice. Make sense?

Remember to think of your voice as how you are projecting or walking in what you are purposed to do. How is your voice translating that message to yourself and to others? How does your voice make others feel, think or respond? How does your voice make you feel, think or respond?

The next time you feel yourself starting to compare yourself to others, catch yourself and remind yourself that you have your own voice, unique to you, to your message, and to your calling. Decide that you will not be intimidated by what you hear, see or believe about someone else.

Until next time, think about what Maya Angelou said:

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, what you did, but never how you made them feel.”

With definiteness of purpose,
Gwen Thibeaux

Author's Bio: 

Gwen Thibeaux is a motivational teacher, speaker and author of “Embracing the Greatness Within: A Journey of Purpose and Passion.” Gwen is also founder and director of EYG Academy and Training Institute which provides workshops, programs and services that inspire performance improvement, leadership development, change management and personal development. For more information, visit http://www.embracingyourgreatness.com/. Need a speaker or want to bring a workshop to your group? Call 888-319-6343 or send an email to admin@eygacademy.com.