Companies are diligent about sharing their values, big goals and often even the rules of engagement. These are typically pretty straightforward. What can be confusing are the unspoken rules at work. The underlying messages that exist, but aren’t shared, can jam us up in both our work and in our work relationships.
Over time, we tire of the confusion and we get discouraged. We stop speaking up. We accept the status quo and bite our tongue. But who is that serving? It’s time to reclaim your voice using two simple strategies for confidence and impact.
Keep A Thought Journal
Are you new in your role and don’t feel comfortable sharing ideas just yet? Perhaps you work for a leader or company who you don’t feel welcomes your ideas? Maybe you don’t feel confident in your own abilities? (Imposter syndrome, anyone?!?!)
Let’s start here.
As you go throughout your day, write down ideas, thoughts and feelings that arise. Divide your paper into three columns: Ideas, Grumblings and Miscellaneous (or whatever you’d like to call them).
When you’re in meetings, keep the paper accessible, but be discreet. If it stresses you out to categorize in the moment, just write everything down in one column and categorize at the end of the week.
Pro Tip: Don’t use specific names of people, as this document could unexpectedly go floating around.
At the end of the week, set aside one hour to review your notes and look for trends. Where do you see opportunities? Were there areas of frustration that need to be addressed? Most importantly – what is the value your ideas and impact can have on your organization?
Need more data? Do this for a few extra weeks, but don’t take it further than that. It just overcomplicates things and may make your mind more jumbled. Your voice is in there – go find it!
These notes and trends can help bring clarity to what really matters to you not just in your role, but as a human who made a commitment an organization. Beyond your current role, perhaps you’ve got thoughts of a side-hustle or dreams of going out on your own. These trends may give you a clue into which direction you want to pursue!
Prepare To Share and DO IT!
Once you have your data and you’ve identified your trends, it’s time to prepare to share.
Your personality style and temperament will affect how much preparation time you may need. I would encourage you to set a goal of no more than one week to complete the following:
A list of your top three areas of passion related to your role/department
These don’t always come from your idea column! Often your grumblings can be a good clue in this area.
Examples: Creating systems to complete projects on time, ensuring employees are updated appropriately, staying on budget, creating unique value for the client, etc.
Your unique perspectives that can add value
Examples: your mind for efficiency, you’re well-networked in the company and that gives you a broad perspective of employee concerns, your work on a past big launch, your expertise in marketing, etc.
Areas of concern that are worthy of addressing
Your going to have to trust yourself here. When you reflect on the trends, what ideas do you have that could make an impact? It doesn’t have to change the face of the business. It can be incremental. But you want to make sure that when you think about it, it sparks joy. Not is it realistic, but are YOU excited about it!
Let The Trends Speak To You
Once you’ve compiled them, you’ll be able to rely on these areas while deciding when to speak in meetings, what ideas to share with your leader and what topics you’d like to focus your involvement and development on.
These areas of focus are just the start. The true empowerment of your voice will come from using it often. It’s not all going to come out perfectly, land well or be implemented. But that’s not the goal of sharing your voice. The true goal is to add value to your environments and plant seeds for future growth.
I’m rooting for you on your journey! Keep me updated on your progress and how these strategies work for you. Don’t forget to tag me at #werestorehumanity.
Peace and Progress,
p.s. Last week’s post talked about REFRAMING your perspective to get through conflict at work. This week’s post on RECLAIMING is the second in the series. Stay tuned for next week, as we wrap up the series with REENGAGING. #reframereclaimreengage