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Blasting Out of the Shadows: The Power of Your True Voice

First, let me share a quote from Ashlee Simpson's latest hit, "Shadow". Yes, I really am quoting Ashlee Simpson.

Somebody listen please/
It used to be so hard being me/
Living in the shadow/
Of someone else's dream/
Trying to find a hand to hold but every touch felt cold to me/
Living in a nightmare/
A never-ending sleep/
But now that I am wide awake/
My chains are finally free/
Don't feel sorry for me

Many of my clients are living exactly as Ms. Simpson described: in the shadow of someone else's dream. Or according to expectations others put on her. Or behind a mask she thought she had to wear to be successful.

Have you ever been in a situation where your gut leads you in a different direction than everyone else, but you went along with the group just to fit in? It happens all the time.

Entrepreneurs follow advice of investors, who aren't nearly as invested in the success of the business as the founder. Could this be why so many new businesses fail?

New students follow the rules of the popular kids, just so they don't stand out at their new school. Could this be why many kids suddenly stop doing activities they enjoyed/were good at?

Women executives feel the need to follow some rules made up by the male-dominated corporate culture, because someone told them they had to in order to be successful. Could this be why many companies have trouble achieving their goals?

While the bullets above may not be the direct causes of failure or disappointment, they certainly do not help to set the stage for success.

This is not merely about making sure everyone feels heard. It's about something more basic: making sure everyone is speaking in his or her true voice.

Now you may be thinking, "What the heck is my true voice? I've got one voice I use at work, another voice I use with my kids, a third voice I use with my friends, and a completely different voice I use with my spouse or partner." I argue that if that's the case for you, you're wasting your energy.

Once you find your true voice and start letting it out on a regular basis, you'll find great and wonderful things begin to happen. For example, when I first started my practice, I wrote my marketing materials in the voice that the "experts" told me to. (All these experts are white men, by the way.) Lo and behold, I had trouble attracting clients. As soon as I rewrote everything in my true voice, which reflects my true passion and mission for what I do, my practice started filling up! Divine coincidence? I don't think so.

So how do you find your true voice? Here are the easy-to-follow steps:1. Notice when you're using your true voice. You'll know by the ease with which your ideas come out, and the lack of nagging your conscience does afterwards. Pay attention and reward yourself for speaking with truth.

2. Trust your gut. Coaches say this a lot. Personal coaches say it to their clients; athletic coaches say it to their greatest performers. We say it for a reason: it's true. Your gut really does know what's right for you. The more you trust it, the more you'll be able to hear it.

3. Change what you can. If you can rewrite/redo things you did using a false voice, please do so. Note the consequences of putting your message in your real voice.

The currently much-beleaguered Ms. Simpson changes her refrain at the end:

I'm living in a new day/
I'm living it for me/
And now that I am wide awake/
Then I can finally be/
Don't feel sorry for me

Now this may sound a bit selfish, but?

Being your best and truest you is the best goal anyone can have.

So, rip off the mask and come blasting out of the shadow! Let the world see who you really are!

"Shadow" lyrics 2004 by the authors and Ashlee Simpson.

All other content 2004 by Barbara Bellissimo. All rights reserved.

Barbara Bellissimo is a women's life transformation coach, and author of the book, "Become Your Own Great and Powerful: A Woman's Guide to Leading Your Real, Big Life."

Visit to get her no-cost special report--"Turn On Your Power and Lead Your Self to Greatness"--and her easy-to-use tools and ideas for leading the real, big life you want--right now!

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