Use Your Voice. It’s Your Power.

group of kids sitting on chair in front of table

When you were a child in school, did you raise your hand when you knew the answer to the teacher’s question? Did you volunteer to erase the chalkboard or to be the hall monitor? Or, were you the kind of kid who only talked in class if you were called on? Did you like the attention or dread it?

All of those reactions during childhood can carry over to adulthood. My clients seem to be at the extremes. Either they always raise their hands or they will not raise them without someone – a leader or peer – calling them to do so. Today’s blog is about the reluctant ones. When they hesitate to enter the ring, they miss out on opportunities to better their lives. They also deprive others from the opportunity to hear their unspoken ideas and experience their leadership styles.

It seems every week I have a client who is “thinking about throwing my hat in the ring” for a promotion, leadership position, or piece of new work. What is holding them back?

Here are a few of the obstacles this group encounters.

  • Often, these individuals are uncertain about their own skillset. They want to be 98% sure they have the experience and qualifications for the job. What if they make a mistake?
  • Some of my clients expect to be asked to take on a new role or manage a new client. They believe that if those in power believed they were the right choice, someone would offer them the opportunity.
  • And, some are resistant to change or risk adverse. Keeping things the same is the safest route.

Why is this important? Because every voice matters. Behind each voice and thought lives the power of that person.

A few thoughts:

  • It’s ok to make mistakes. Everyone does it. Mistakes create opportunities to learn, and offer chances for your humanity to shine through. It can be reassuring to those around you when you admit you are not a superhero.
  • If you do not advocate for your own abilities, who will? It is a nice thought to believe others will see something in you and offer you opportunities. The truth is, people are busy. You need to tell them what you can do and tell them what you want.
  • Silence is agreement. If you do not speak up, the assumption is that you are not interested or you agree with a decision. The only way for people to know what you think is to tell them.
  • Yes, there is comfort in things remaining the same. It is predictable. And while the sameness may not bring you joy, you know what to expect. Move yourself forward by stepping a toe into the water of change.
  • Stretch yourself. Growth comes from learning new things, ideas, and activities. When you try, you find out more about yourself: what you are really good at doing, and, sometimes, what is harder for you.
  • Finally, give the people around you the gift of yourself, your thoughts, your skills.

Did this article resonate with you? Are you someone who more easily raises your hand? We will talk about the group who volunteers next time on The Client Wisdom Blog.

For more information contact Mary Balistreri, The Mindful Business Coach at

Published by Mary Balistreri

Mary Balistreri offers a variety of coaching and professional development services to individuals and organizations focused on harnessing strengths to develop more business. Mary’s approach is goal driven, focusing on measurable results and developing actionable plans to move past obstacles that hold individuals, teams, and organizations back from executing on the plan. Mary offers expertise in business development, team building, and leadership development coupled with strategies to improve conversational and emotional intelligence to support clients moving toward their goals and aspirations.

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