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5 Surprising (And Subtle) Ways To Shift Focus And Get Your Voice Heard

Click here to read original publication on Forbes.

Being seen and heard in the world can be a scary prospect: what if people judge you, reject you, try to cut you down, stop you, misunderstand or misrepresent you?

It’s time to change that narrative, because yours is the voice that is needed right now. When you hold back and are not willing to be heard, share your ideas or even follow your “inner voice,” you not only harm your business and life, but you rob the world of the unique gifts that only you can contribute.

Your voice has value, and it’s easier than you think to start choosing to share it.

Here are 5 surprisingly subtle, yet powerful ways, you can claim your voice that you may not have considered:

1. Listen

Most people are only willing to hear what aligns with their own perspectives and won’t see what’s possible beyond that. True listening is being willing to receive from and engage with others with zero barriers, zero agenda and no expectations. It creates greater connection, as it takes vulnerability and courage to drop the (often unacknowledged) “filters” we hear and see through in life.

Expand your ability to listen with these questions:

  • Do I have an expectation, assumption, agenda or invested perspective going in to this meeting/conversation that could limit things?
  • What are the infinite possibilities here I have not yet considered?
  • What questions can I ask and what information can I receive here?

When you listen without agenda or bias, you will pick up on things that other people miss. You’ll become aware of what you can ask, do or say to position the conversation or move things in a greater direction.

2. Throw Out Failure/Success Paradigms

Most measurements of success are ideals we are taught to value by others. Paradigms of success and failure are about judging, comparing and following formulas that will supposedly lead you to perfection.

Failure/success paradigms trap you in cycles of “Did I get this wrong? Did I get this right?” They distract you from the more easy and fun option of following your own voice and being all, you can be.

Invite your voice back into the picture by asking these questions:

  • What am I capable of that no one else is?
  • What do I know is possible that one else does?
  • What difference is my voice in the world that I’ve never acknowledged and what can I create with it?

3. Pull, Don’t Push

A lot of the catch phrases for success include: “Hustle!” “Get out there!” “Sell yourself!” They’re all about the push, and does anyone really like being pushed at? Pull, on the other hand, is irresistible. It is the more elegant and effective way to engage.

To “pull,” notice the times you go to effort, force or feeling pressure to “sell” yourself. Stop, reverse the flow and relax. Ask yourself, “What can I be or do that would invite people/clients/business to come to me easily?”

Make daily time to sit quietly and ask, “What would I like to add and invite into my life and business?” “Pulling” rather than “pushing” recalibrates your way of functioning so you become aware of the different choices – including the more joyful and ease-filled ones – with which you can engage the world.

A big element of “pull” is being willing to have fun. Having your voice in the world should be enjoyable. How much more pull would you create if you were willing to have more fun with everything you choose?

4. Uncomfortable Is the New Black!

Fear and excitement often get confused because the physiological symptoms are almost identical. Negative experiences of sweaty palms, elevated heard rate or butterflies come from assuming something bad is happening.

If you truly desire to have your voice in the world, it’s time to get uncomfortable and enjoy it. Going beyond what is familiar, embracing the unpredictable and following what gives you butterflies is a simply and powerful way to discover what you are capable of.

Next time you’re avoiding something for fear, anxiety or dread, ask: “Is that really fear or am I excited? What will my future be like if I chose this instead of avoiding it?”

If you are willing to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, a great side effect is you become unstoppable.

5. Choose for you.

Your voice comes through not just in your ability to listen or to go beyond the traps of judgment, status quos and comfort zones. It’s embodied in every choice you make.

To truly have your voice in the world, you’ve got to create for you, not wait for anyone or anything else.

Look at what choices will honor you and create greater for you. It isn’t selfish to include you in the picture of your life; it’s essential if you desire to make a difference. Start asking daily, “What can I choose today that will create a greater future for me and the world?”

When you make honoring choices for you in any area of your life, it begins to cross-pollinate into all other areas and increases your ability and capacity to be honoring of others as well.

Having your voice isn’t just about speaking up, it’s allowing everything you are as a person to bleed into your business and every part of your life. When you are willing to be seen and heard, it becomes easier to be yourself. Best of all, the more “unique” you are being in the world, the more “normal” you’ll feel, because you are being more authentically you.

Laleh Alemzadeh-Hancock is a leadership and entrepreneurial coach, professional services consultant, wellness mentor, and Founder and CEO of Belapemo. She is featured in America’s Leading Ladies.

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