One of my dear friends, let’s call her Sarah, told me this story a couple months back and I haven’t been able to get it out of my thoughts. It stopped me in my tracks, really. Grab a seat and let me share what happened…
So, there she was, Sarah was working hard at her desk when one of her coworkers made her laugh. Now something you need to know about Sarah is that she has the best laugh! Literally it’s the best. Her laugh is loud, joyful and, honestly, it fills the room and makes you smile just listening to it.
That’s when it happened… Another one of Sarah’s coworkers turned to her and said, “Gosh, Sarah, do you ever use your indoor voice?” Youch! It’s probably not a surprise to hear she quieted up and stayed to herself for the rest of the day.
When Sarah shared this story, my first reaction was shock which moved right over to some anger. How dare they try to silence Sarah’s incredible laughter! Her laughter is a gift! And then I thought, what kind of an impact does someone have when they tell someone to silence a part of them, or use their indoor voice?
So, after telling Sarah to absolutely ignore this coworker and that she shouldn’t DARE to use any less than her full voice, I couldn’t get this story out of my mind. It stayed in my thoughts for days.
That’s when I started thinking about this idea on a larger level. I’m not sure if you’ve ever had a similar experience: you were out there doing you and someone told you that you were too much, too loud, too real, too smart, too quiet, too tall, too anything… but an experience like this can stop you in your tracks.
And I’d like to have the honor of dispelling that myth or limitation for you right now. <3 You are an incredibly smart, lovable, capable and heart-centered person. So, don’t ever let anyone tell you to use your indoor voice! The world desperately needs the full you in it to make it a better place. The world desperately needs you to step into who you are, step into your genius zone, and own your voice, own your story and own your impact (even if another person labels it too much, too loud, too real, too smart, too quiet, too tall, too anything). It is much more of a reflection of their own personal limitations, even if it’s said from a place of love.
So, as you get out there today, doing what you do, use your full voice (which I’ll admit can be intimidating/scary/terrifying… but totally worth it AND needed), remember that your world will only benefit from hearing your voice. And, I want to share one of my favorite quotes from that sums up my thoughts on the matter perfectly:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love
PS - Now, before I sign off, I feel like I should quickly speak to those who identify with the other coworker who asked her to be quiet. I say this lovingly because I’ve felt this way too, if you feel more closely aligned with this character in the story, I encourage you to explore your voice. I’ve found that when I’m most annoyed by the voice of other’s, I’m usually not paying attention to my own. So, this is a heart-filled, grab-a-glass-of-wine-and-let’s-talk invitation to take a look at your unique voice and take a moment to be in awe of all you have to offer. <3 Still not convinced? This is not a guilt trip or a ride on the shame train. So, you do you and I encourage you to throw on those headphones, listen to what speaks to you now and come back to this if your view shifts.