How do you place yourself to find your voice?

16 January 2020

This is an interesting question when you think about it. What does placing yourself have to do with finding your voice? Well, I think quite a bit. Actually, it also has much to do with being clear about what you want to do with your life and taking responsibility, and the necessary actions to make that happen.

Many people talk about not being happy with something or the other in their lives. It could be your personal relationships, or lack of. It could be how things are at work or the progress of your career. We can all find ourselves in a rut at some time. But what does that mean.
Every situation has a message for us, I believe, and it’s up to us as individuals to seek out what that message might be.

I remember years ago when I was a middle manager in a large multinational company. I had developed, planned and deliver a programme that had had a huge impact on reducing staff turnover from 55% to around 5%. As a result of this, the company had been nominated and then shortlisted for a national sector award.

There was a lot of excitement at senior management level and my line manager was particularly animated when he told me about it. I asked when the event was taking place and who would going. I listened as he listed the names of the people invited to the company table. When he was finished, I realised that my name had not been included.
At that point I questioned myself in my mind about whether or not I should say anything. I was, to be honest, less than happy. I was the person who had come up with the idea, got the programme funded, engaged the Unions and delivered the programme that had brought about the change that was being celebrated, and the business recognised for.

In that moment I could see that I, had to show up for myself. I decide where I was going to be placed in this situation. Not just allow others to decide that for me. Even if they didn’t agree with my view, I had a responsibility to myself to speak up. I clearly wasn’t going to be free given a place at the table, metaphorically speaking, even if I deserved it. I had to ask for it.
I reminded my manager, who happened to be the Operations Director, that it was I who had created this change of events, and I should be one of those attending this event. I am pleased to say that he accepted my view, but I had to make my view clear to him.

Even amid all the in equality we may experience, we should never be afraid to call it out when we see it. Whether it’s happening to us or to someone else. There are times when the people involved don’t even realise the impact of the decisions they’re making. And sometimes, they are welling and able to change. They may not see where you should be. You can use a good attitude, a positive approach and your voice to show then where you position yourself.

And if this is not received well, you can then create a plan to take you someplace where voice is heard more equally.

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