Speak with your own authentic voice

Queen Elizabeth I

In this time of churning, your ability to inspire yourself and others is key.

There is no one ‘right’ way of doing this but there are seven building blocks that you can use to create inspiration. The first of these is to speak with your own authentic voice.

Four hundred years ago, Queen Elizabeth I was a woman struggling to succeed in a man’s world. Many people dismissed her, simply because she was a woman. Some of her own countrymen had even tried to kill her. And then, seeing her weakness, a foreign country decided to invade with a huge fleet of ships.

Faced with these twin threats, from home and abroad, Elizabeth I might simply have given up or run away. Or she could have tried to bluff it out, saying “There is nothing to worry about. Everything is fine. I am the best ruler ever.” Instead, she chose to speak her authentic truth.

Putting on armour (unheard of for a woman) she put herself in danger and rode “like some Amazonian empress” into the middle of her assembled army. There, at the mercy of several thousand heavily armed men, she spoke clearly and authentically what became her most famous words:

“I know I have the body of a weak, feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too.”

Her authenticity won her audience over.

Then, once they had decided to listen to her, they listened to what she had to say. And then they did what needed to be done: the invader was repulsed and Elizabeth’s reign became one of the most celebrated in her country’s history.

When we speak what is authentically true for us, the people around us hear it and know that they can trust us. Our words resonate most with the people who will be most inspired to work with us, who will join us for the long haul, our ‘tribe’. And when we have an inspired team working together, we can achieve anything.

In your work, do speak authentically or do you play the role you think you should? What results does that bring? If you shifted to become (even) more authentic, what would happen to the levels of inspiration you and others feel? How would that affect results?

Adapted from Inner Leadership: tools for building inspiration in times of change.

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Photo By mware2012 via StockPholio.net

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