Most creatives think finding their voice is as simple as digging it up in the backyard. But the reality is this process is shrouded in a lot more mystery.
My friend, Todd Henry believes your voice is developed in layers. It’s something you uncover and develop over time. Ultimately, it's how your collective body of work speaks. It is louder than your words and bigger than a single event. I like that.
This week on The Portfolio Life, Todd and I talk about using your voice to create lasting impact. Listen in as we explore deep ideas like active patience, authenticity, and vision.
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Fear disguised as wisdom
Soon after starting work at a non-profit, I was promoted to marketing director. In this role I created a new department and had a lot of fresh ideas.
Once in awhile, veteran employees took me aside to share how they’d seen it all before, and what we were trying to do wouldn’t last, that this was another pet project doomed to fail. While they probably had good intentions for sharing these words of caution and saw them as wisdom, I took it as a dare to succeed.
Today, most of the naysayers aren’t around anymore. They were either let go or left the organization while my team worked hard to create lasting impact. Stasis feels like that safest thing, but there’s a risk to standing still, as well.
In this episode, Todd and I discuss:
- Redefining the meaning of “voice”
- Sensitivity to whatever audience you’re in front of
- Taking big ideas and connecting them to different contexts
- When people consider you, what do they think about you?
- Shaping and honing a voice that represents you
- How your voice reflects your body of work
- The danger of compliance, conformity, and compromise
- Anticipating hurdles on the journey
- The paralysis of false narratives
- How success amplifies the imposter syndrome
- Sacrificing short-term attention for long-term impact
- Three higher order patters of the “voice engine”
Quotes and Takeaways
- “Fear often comes disguised as wisdom.” —Todd Henry
- “We discover our voice in the context of community.” —Todd Henry
- “Making great art is making bold decisions in the face of uncertainty.” —Todd Henry
- “Be clear even when you’re not certain.” —Todd Henry
- You can’t find your voice buried in the backyard.
- Your voice is a means for creating impact, not achieving self-gratification.
- The job of the artist is to tell the truth.
- Writing is work. The muse isn’t going to kiss you with the fairy dust of inspiration while you binge on Netflix.
- Louder than Words: Harness the Power of Your Authentic Voice by Todd Henry
- Todd Henry’s blog
What is your voice saying about your work? What does your work want to become? Share in the comments