Your voice is important — but are you hiding from it?
It’s time to practice speaking up (in your medium of choice).
Do it for yourself and all the people who need to hear your message – even if you don’t think you’ve “found your voice” yet.
You never know who may be impacted by you being who you are and sharing what’s genuinely on your heart.
On my weekly creator call, Arlene poured encouragement into me and shared, “Your experience is my education.” — Being who I am, creating in the ways I do, sharing my thoughts as they are now — is immensely valuable to her.
Frequently I doubt the purpose of what I create or share online. “Is there a point to this?”
This morning I woke up to a beautiful message from a dance friend, sharing gratitude for my recent IDX writings and they shared their own experiences with social anxiety (truncated for brevity):
“— your writings about your experience and thoughts during the Indy event were beautiful and a very accessible, but powerful way to explain a little about what anxiety does to someone and some ways to fight to overcome it.
“And how we do need to fight to overcome it or life will pass us by and we’ll be wondering where it went.
“I really wanted you to know that your writing has really inspired me and helped me to feel better about myself. I can’t imagine that it was easy to share something so personal [about your social anxiety] but thank you so much for doing so. —”
Unexpected, heartfelt messages like this remind me that there are “wild card outcomes” to everything we do — we can’t anticipate all the outcomes of every single thing we say or do.
It’s not fair to say that our voice doesn’t matter – even if our self-critical mind tricks us into thinking our voice isn’t valuable or that we’re wasting our time.
You might not see the impact today, or tomorrow — or even after showing up 87 more times — but it will positively impact those it’s meant to (and maybe that person is you).
However you choose to share your voice — from a post on social, a kind compliment to someone, or encouragement & thought-provoking questions to a friend — I hope you see that your voice matters, even if you don’t see it now.
It could be the thing that makes all the difference to someone.
Recent conversations with David Fennig and hearing his perspectives around photography has been beautifully encouraging to me; I’m not sure if he realizes the impact that it’s had on me recently.
Doing his own thing in his own way, sharing his perspectives, following his curiosity with the camera, and the way we’ve conversed around photography brought up a few things for me:
#1 — At first, I felt envy (inspiration) for seeing him so “simply” dive in and make the great strides in his art that he already has.
I felt annoyed (at myself) that I wanted to do XYZ thing and someone waltzes right in and does XYZ thing in significantly less time. What was have I been waiting for?
(This happens in a variety of areas of my life because I hesitate so much.)
However, I believe that circumstances like this in our life are put here to shine a light on what we are really meant to do. There are lots of people I’m NOT envious of, so why this time?
Because it’s a signal that “something here” is calling at me and I’m ignoring it.
We all fall off our own path every now and then.
Sometimes we need a little spark, a nudge bringing us back to the path of our own callings — so that we can move forward from our own light.
Will you be that spark for others? For yourself?
If it’s something you genuinely want to do, will you dare pick up your [art of choice] and join the conversation?
#2 — I’m more inspired being in the room with a creative at a “nearby” skill level, less-so the hyper-successful.
The biggest inspiration that nudged me into action has been seeing him behind the camera, in the editing bay, in the stories of his process/learnings, and in his circling of dancers to take photos & videos that made me realize:
Oh, I could be doing that instead of sitting on the sideline. Do I want to do that? I could just get my camera out and…
Being in the room with David (and similar creatives) and having collaborative or creativity-driven conversations felt uplifting to my soul — even if the conversations were technically about editing software, shutter speeds, apertures, impacts of photography, angles, compositions, and business ideas.
Witnessing David embrace his opportunity at IDX and then going full-on experimenter at night was the spark that helped me dust off my camera this weekend.
The hyper-successful may show a glimpse of what is possible, but it’s our courageous, creative peers that invite us into the arena and challenge us to challenge ourselves.
Maybe you can be that person for someone else, if you dare to pick up your [art of choice].
#3 — What the heck am I waiting for?
It felt like David picked up his camera no more than a few months ago and already became the official photographer of IDX this year.
(I’ve had this experience a handful of times now.)
If I really want to make videos and do photography (or teach dance, or build community, or flow art, or do digital client work, or…), then what the heck am I waiting for?
Will I allow myself to be a beginner and figure it out as I go, as all great artists and experts have done?
Kinesthetic experience always, always outpaces any planning I could do.
There are many ways to speak in this world beyond our verbal voice: from writing, to photo or video, to the way we dress, to our gestures towards others, and so forth.
Even as you seek to understand yourself — I hope you remember that your voice is valuable and important, whatever medium you choose to share.
It’s time to practice speaking up.
Lessons and takeaways inspired by experiences at Indy Dance Explosion 2022.