How to Find Your Voice: Having Confidence in the Face of Doubt.

If you are a frequent reader of mine, you will notice I have referred several times to my childhood and experiences growing up. Only now, at 24, I realise how much our childhood affects our future self. Growing up, I was frequently mislabeled as ‘shy’. An identity I did not want for myself or associate with. I had ambition and a sense of determination from being young. I felt that I would not get anywhere being called ‘shy’. ‘Shy’ suggests that I was scared, afraid. Timid and vulnerable of everything. 

While I did not associate as being shy, I had a naturally quiet voice- to the extent my friends called me that one quiet lady from pitch-perfect. And I sometimes enjoyed being observant and didn’t always feel like it was necessary to contribute to every conversation happening. I could also become absorbed in my work that I was silent. But, I was not scared or afraid to interact.

Despite my quiet voice, I seem to find friends wherever I go; I am grateful for that. I love being social and surrounded by people regularly. And I know for a fact, I have friends who will laugh, saying ‘Katie is not shy’ if anybody tries to convince them otherwise.  

My voice, however, has been a bit of a struggle. In bars, It is impossible to hear me over the noise of the music. I’ve had to train my voice so that I can be heard. I’ve even used a microphone when speaking to a group of 32 children for my job. And when they introduced masks, I dreaded the thought that nobody could hear me. The struggles with being quietly spoken continued. 

But I have learnt that you do not have to be the loudest in the room to be heard. Your voice can be heard, even if it’s quiet.

So How do you find your Voice in Life?

Here are some of my tips if you are struggling to be heard:

1. Make Suggestions

People generally value people who aren’t afraid to take leadership. This does not mean being overly assertive or making demands. But showing that you can contribute to discussions and offer practical solutions, shows that you are willing to speak openly. In a group circumstance, this can also show that you care about the team if the suggestion indicates a solution to a problem.

2 .  Body Language

Most language is understood, through the way it is communicated- not actually what is said. You may have heard it before, but body language can demonstrate a lot more truth in conversation than the words. Maybe somebody is telling you a little white lie. How will you know? Their body language will be closed off, they may avoid eye contact, scratch their neck, fold their arms. Their head may be shaking ‘yes’ when they are telling you ‘no’. So my suggestion is to make the most of body language, preferably positive body language.

Show you are open, use your hands when you are emphasising. If you work with children, you can also use signalling as non-verbal way of getting the classes attention. A simple action that seems pretty out of place, like standing with one hand on your head, will get the room to copy until all the focus is on you.

In a time where most of what we are saying, is hidden beneath a mask, then body language can actually be your best friend. You can make big movements to show that you are in fact confident, even if your voice is quiet.

3. Find another way to express yourself.

The beauty of the world is that all forms of art and creations exist, so we can find multiple forms of art to express ourselves through. A videographer can capture the essence of a beautiful or dynamic moment through a lense, some great angles and hard work behind the scenes. They can capture moments which will help tell a story, make you feel something. Without the need for words. A musician, can tell a thousand feelings at the touch of a few notes. And a writer can create a whole world for you, just through the use of written words.

Use what passions you have to drive you towards a way to express yourself. And if it’s something you think ‘oh, I’m pretty good at this’, don’t let self-doubt stop you. Show the world, just how much confidence you have through showing what you created. And remember, criticism will happen, but it is essential to grow. It also will help drive people to your content. You can read about this in my previous post: Most Effective Tips for Content Creators who are New to The Game.

4. Vocal Training

The voice is a bodily tool that needs to be taken care of just like any other part. But the beauty of voice is that it can be trained. If you struggle with a quiet voice, like I do: worry not. Vocal training is a tool to help you. You can find a multitude of vocal training exercises on YouTube which will help you speak clearer, louder and with more confidence.

5. Positive Affirmations

In life there is enough judgment put on ourselves by others, that it is unnecessary to put additional pressure on ourselves by self-doubt. Self-doubt leads to procrastination, preventing us from achieving what we want us to do. Every time you say something negative about yourself, make sure to counter-act that. For example, you might say ‘My photos are so bad’. But that is unhelpful to yourself and contributes to that self-doubt. Follow it up by saying something along the lines of ‘My photos are not at the level I want right now, but I’m learning how to improve my editing skills’. Or ‘I am not getting enough viewers, my website is rubbish’, you can say ‘I might not be getting 10000 viewers, but I have some which is better than none at all’

The moral is that you will have so much more confidence in yourself if you stop talking to yourself as if you were an enemy. Going back to you as a child, imagine if you were to tell them half of the things that you tell yourself now. You simply wouldn’t, so why should it be acceptable to talk to your adult self this way?

Bonus Tip

Don’t be afraid to question labels that others give you. You know yourself better than anybody else, so don’t let anybody assign you an identity that is not yours. You create your path and who you are in this world and nobody is gonna know you, better than yourself.

Want more tips on confidence? Or perhaps you are interested in my experiences as a Rep?

Let me know down in the comments, what you would like to hear more about.

As always, thanks for reading- Katie Louise

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