“Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.” -Judy Garland
Judy had it right. We are all wired to be different, unique individuals, and that’s what makes each of us so special. So why not appreciate that, and embrace what makes you different in how you communicate and contribute to the rest of the world’s unique individuals?
Besides Judy Garland, I also consider Marie Forleo an expert on this, with her remarkable success building her own unique voice and business brand, and now her work helping others to do the same.
Like Marie says, “Most ideas are already out there. So it’s not so much about WHAT you say, it’s about HOW you say it.”
It’s so important to know how to get your message out there in a way that feels original and authentic to YOU. There is always more than one way to express an idea, but there is only one way that will be the best expression of YOU. So if you feel yourself getting stuck, or are having trouble discerning your own unique voice amidst all the great examples from colleagues and mentors around you, try these steps to find your own voice:
1. Define yourself! Pick the 5 best words that describe your personality. Pull from how you see yourself, and how others have described you in the past. These will help you keep your unique voice in mind as you start to formulate your messaging.
For example, I’d have to say that 5 fitting words for me are: Energetic, Passionate, Bold, Practical & Organized. Armed with these, I know that any communication I write should and will demonstrate elements of offbeat energy, frankness, practicality and very organized structure.
What are 5 that fit you, and what does that say about how you communicate?
2. Create 5 different ways to express one idea. Take one of your latest and greatest blossoming ideas and phrases and try explaining it 5 different ways that fit the 5 descriptive words you chose above.
For example, if my idea is: “Chaos can be fuel for productivity” — then I might try saying it like this:
#1 Energetic: Embrace your Chaos!
#2 Passionate: You can’t deny the power of your Chaos. It’s what you do with that power that will decide your fate!
#3 Bold: Quit whining and take control of your Chaos!
#4 Practical: Chaos can prove quite useful to your productivity.
#5 Organized: Try these simple steps to channel your Chaos into productivity.
So what’s one of your key ideas, and how can you express it in your 5 unique ways?
3. Draw from your experiences, not your research. Your messaging will be so much more compelling if you talk from your own stories and your own life.
This also automatically negates any chance of you mimicking someone else. Recall your favorite anecdotes or life lessons, find your own favorite catch phrases or metaphors. I know you have them, and your friends probably hear you use them all the time, so what are they?
4. Write your content in silo. During your research stage, it’s fine to pour over and note down the words of other artists and writers who inspire you. But when it comes time to sit down and create your own messaging, you’ve got to put all those other sites and resources away, and focus solely on your own mind. If you want it to sound like you, and not like those other artists and writers coming through you, then you will need to ignore all other voices and write in total mental isolation.
5. Do a reality check. When you’ve finished selecting and developing your choice messaging, read it back and ask yourself – “Does this sound like me?” And be honest! Is this how you would say it to someone else? Do the people who know you the best agree?
Do these steps above and you’ll find it much easier to identify who you are, what you have to offer and how you can appeal that to the rest of the world. It’s a crucial part of finding your own path for success in your creative business.
And what’s more, having clarity around your voice and message will also help you clarify WHO your message is intended for – i.e. your target audience!
So go on, get down with your unique voice! Find the kind of messaging that works best for you and what you want to offer the world!