Finding your own voice

You sit at your desk, perhaps even on the couch with your laptop or iPad, and start researching. “your niche” + “Business”. You type the words in and tap your fingers against the hard surface below while the results load and then you click away like a child in a candy store, excited about the possibilities open to you! Forums, websites, and sources of inspiration flood your screen and you’re overwhelmed but excited, again, by the possibilities. You create usernames, you leave comments, you send emails asking for advice or suggestions on where to start. And then finally you get the courage to setup and release into the world a website and possibly a blog. You’re proud, happy, and excited (again) by the possibilities and the opportunities that are going to come flooding to your door.

But then all you hear is silence and you swear the only one reading your blog, other than yourself, is your mom (because she thinks you’re awesome no matter what you do). You go back to the forums and view blogs and websites from the people who are in the same line of business who inspire you. Staring at their spaces you wonder what you’re doing wrong. These people seem to look like they have it together and are successful, why isn’t the same success reaching you, since you’re doing the exact same as them!

I fell into this trap as well, being ‘inspired’ by others but essentially copying everything they were doing. Yes, I’m being honest…I was one of ‘those’ people. I looked at those within my industry who inspired me and did everything they were doing, since it was working for them it must work for me. How wrong I was!!

It wasn’t until I spent some time, a process that took awhile and a lot of self-reflection but so worth it, with my notebook and my thoughts that I finally found my own voice and direction of where I wanted to take my business. It is tailored to me, my dreams, wants, desires, and likes and it’s made a huge difference for my business. Now when I’m looking at others who inspire me, I allow the inspiration to flow but now go back to my own voice and work on defining that, not brining someone else’s brand into my business.

If you are struggling with finding your own voice or how to differentiate yourself within the masses of others in your industry, here are three things that really helped me find my own: Remove those who inspire you or make you feel like you aren’t reaching the same level of success from your facebook, twitter, and RSS feed. You’ll miss them for a little bit, but you need to allow space for yourself and that is more important than following another person or commenting on their page when you’re turning around and feeling like crap about yourself or copying their work. Get a notebook and start some honest self-reflection. Most of us avoid looking at ourselves in the mirror and pretend we’re something that we’re not. But this exercise really helped define my brand and goals for my life and business. With that notebook of yours filled with your beautiful handwriting, write down 25 positive things that define you. This one took me the longest, but it was the most accurate representation of what I truly loved and saw in myself. It showed me what I was passionate about and how I could use that enhance my voice.
You need to take this time and put in the hard work to define your brand and find your voice, because if you’re going to succeed (like the one’s you’re inspired by) you need to show everyone just how truly amazing and special you are!

  • AnneFebruary 3, 2012 - 1:32 PM

    Thank you! Amazing advice 🙂ReplyCancel

  • MalinderFebruary 3, 2012 - 1:45 PM

    Thank you for this article, Lesley! I must say that I came to this realisation not long ago and am currently in Step 2 – and as you put it, it has to be honest self-reflection. Glad to know that, sooner or later, most goes through this phase 🙂ReplyCancel

  • JessicaFebruary 3, 2012 - 4:25 PM

    This is such inspiring words. Something I am totally struggling with right now (not even my mom is reading my blog!) Thank you so much for this.ReplyCancel

  • julie socherFebruary 4, 2012 - 3:24 AM

    This is great, thanks for posting this, it’s so inspiring.ReplyCancel

  • MartaFebruary 4, 2012 - 4:01 AM

    Thanks Lesley for sharing a very from-the-heart reflection on your own journey and good advice. Can you expand on your second point some more in a future post? I’m not naturally the journalling type so I’d love to read more about where to start or specific tips on how to do this.ReplyCancel

  • Tanja A.February 4, 2012 - 8:16 AM

    I like (and agree with) every part of this post, except the part of the removing of those who inspire you…
    Instead of comparing yourself with them, you can just try to feel happy for them and let them inspire you (without copying of course). Instead of thinking about what you don’t have, start thinking of what you are going to reach, because they once started just like you… Maybe you can recognize parts of yourself in their stories and you might even realize you are not so different. 🙂

    But maybe this is something personal and if it really bothers you and you feel bad after reading their posts, of course you should get rid of them.ReplyCancel

  • SherylFebruary 4, 2012 - 3:58 PM

    THANK YOU! I am NOT alone in this amazing, jouney that seems to be filled with constant struggle and comparisons. This article really made me think! ♥ReplyCancel