In Your Own Voice

It’s been a while since I’ve written a post that isn’t based on an interview I had with a best-selling author about a recently published book. I actually have two more amazing authors lined up for interviews – stay tuned in 2013! – yet I felt a deep need to write what will probably be my last post of 2012 straight from my heart to yours, in my own voice. I wanted to keep things pure and simple.

I’ve discovered that, in many respects, writing articles based on the published work and philosophy of others is more “work” than writing an original piece. It requires more time – preparing for the interview, conducting and recording the interview, listening to it afterward and taking notes, organizing the notes into themes for articles, writing and editing the articles – and attention to a new kind of detail: wanting to honor and convey the spirit of the author in a kind, fair and genuine way. I certainly wouldn’t say I labored over those articles – the whole process was much too fun for that kind of exaggerated characterization – yet I can say I’m somewhat relieved to be sitting here, just me and my laptop, with my own thoughts and an open, hopeful heart.

Let’s see, what was that about my own thoughts?

Oh, yes, now I’m remembering the “work” of writing an original piece: being original. I hate that part.

Then again, I’ve learned over the years that being completely “original” can be vastly overrated – or maybe it’s more accurate to say that we often misunderstand what it actually means to be original. How many of us have discarded our secret longings to, say, open a yoga studio or write a book about parenting or maybe just play with watercolors? We tell ourselves the world doesn’t need another __________ (yoga studio, book, artist…you name it) and get on with the nuts and bolts of running our busy lives.

I’ve had that inner debate several times, and it was ignited again after interviewing the luminous Anita Moorjani and the deliciously humorous and wise Tama Kieves. (Not to mention reading their penetrating, well-written and transformation-inducing books.) Some part of me questioned the value of my own teaching and writing. What was the point, really, of creating new articles and blog posts and courses and maybe even a book, when I could just refer clients to the books and blogs of countless other insanely talented writers and teachers?

After all, we’re out there sharing similar messages, yet they’ve got the momentum and machinery of “best-selling author” status behind them to reach hundreds of thousands of people. What are the chances of my being heard? And anyway, what value do I provide that people aren’t already getting from Tama and Anita and all those other wildly successful teachers leading workshops at Omega and Kripalu?

If I was my own coach I’d grab myself by the shoulders and shake lightly – but firmly. I’d look myself straight in the eyes and remind myself of this potent truth, which I love to share with as many people as I can who want to listen:

You matter, and what you love matters. You are here to bring forth your unique talent and brilliance, led by your genuine desires. What else could you do with your time here on Earth that could be more important? It is not up to your small, fearful self to decide what the world needs. It’s your job to wake up to your large, magnificent self and live from that expanded and generous place.

And here’s something else I love to remind people – and myself: your very presence is unique and irreplaceable. Even if you’re saying or doing things that others have apparently said or done, it is still completely original because it comes from you. It bears what I call your exceptional, inimitable energy signature. People will respond to your message or product who have not responded to similar messages and products from others, because they’re on your frequency. Wouldn’t it be a shame if you weren’t making it available to them…all because you discounted your own dreams for not being “original” enough?

And yet I’m not just talking here about things you can offer as an entrepreneur or an employee. This isn’t only about careers and commerce. It’s about recognizing your innate value and worthiness and the transformative power of your shining, genuine presence. When you’re centered and relaxed and relating to others from your true core, you are a force for good in the world. Your special blend of qualities and talents – such as kindness, humor, insightfulness, artistry, calmness, technological brilliance, peacefulness, clarity, love of language, athleticism, compassion and countless others – are inherently inspiring and uplifting to others.

Your special blend is completely original. And much needed.

Recognizing, honoring and sharing your special blend is fundamentally the same thing as finding and living your calling. It’s all about being authentically, joyfully you. I often say the deep impulse to find and live your calling arises from the inner workings of a beautifully designed system: what you most long to create, share or experience is what the world most needs from you. So when you dare to follow your dreams, you not only open yourself to a deeply fulfilled life, you are naturally in service to others.

I know I’m not the first person to tell you that following your dreams leads to fulfillment, and I certainly won’t be the last. The message is not – dare I say it – an original one. Yet I hope, through my own unique blend of teaching and writing, to add a new voice to the chorus, giving our song greater nuance and depth and harmony. And maybe, with my voice added to the mix, you’ll hear it in a whole new way.

And you’ll know this song is for you. Have fun singing it in your own voice.

Wishing you deep peace and newfound joy this holiday season.

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