Speaking your truth even when your voice trembles.
Years ago a friend of mine gave me this quote on a cocktail napkin when I was going through a very difficult time. I kept it for years. I loved both the simplicity of this quote and the magnitude of it as well. Many of us talk ourselves out of speaking up. We tell ourselves, “It is not the right time; it doesn’t matter anyway; even if I say something nothing will change.” Whatever it is we tell ourselves usually keeps us quiet.
I coach my clients around the concept of speaking up and having difficult conversations. I am a believer in ‘picking your battles’ but speaking your truth will move your life forward more quickly than any other strategy. At the very least, you will feel better after you have spoken up for yourself or expressed your feelings.
A few weeks ago, I was in one place, and my husband was in another. I missed him and wanted him to come to see me over a weekend. There were reasons that I could not meet him. However, I never asked him. I merely said, “Are you coming this weekend” and he said, “probably not’. It would have been easy to say how important it was to me, yet I was unable to ask. I felt guilty putting him in the position of not doing what he needed to do to meet my needs. How silly that was! If we don’t speak up about our needs, how would our spouse or anyone else know about them? In the end, I pushed myself and told him that it would mean a lot to me if he would come and that I missed him. He came. He didn’t know that it mattered. I spoke my truth. Speaking your truth is powerful and liberating.
The lesson for me was that even though I knew the value of speaking up, I still had difficulty doing it.
Below is a quick checklist of how to speak up for yourself.
- Get clear about what the issue is – you may need to write about it to get more clarity.
- Understand clearly/write down how it made you feel.
- Don’t start the conversation with what the other person did wrong, but rather how what they did made you feel.
- Be curious about what the other person’s intentions were.
- Ask questions to clarify what the other person says and listen empathetically to what they are not saying – don’t interrupt.
- Repeat back what they said to make sure you understand.
- Ask for some resolution.
Start Your Journey With an Executive Coach
What is that difficult conversation you need to have? Need some help! I am always available for a 30-minute strategy call to discuss how an executive coach can support you in speaking up when you need to.