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I Have A Voice – Now What?

Do you ever get that feeling that you’re just not being heard? I’m not talking about someone hearing something as part of a conversation, I mean really listened to what it is that you are saying and seeing value in it, even in the smallest amount.

I’m an ideas person. I can pick them out of thin air and if I give them enough space, they can turn from a snowball into an avalanche of ideas that won’t stop coming. Now this doesn’t necessarily mean that the ideas always fit the project, but I’ve always felt that there’s a little golden nugget in every idea that can help formulate the final outcome. Even the silly ones - I sometimes think they’re the best ones.

That’s not always been the case. There’s been many a time where I’ve thought my ideas weren’t valued, accepted, or treated as valid. They would be shot down without a second to let the idea float to see where it could land. Straight out the door. We don’t want that type of idea here. When did we come so far away from an idea being an idea and not an absolute? When did we feel it was okay to not hear someone out and instead actively dismiss their thoughts, and then wonder why they don’t contribute to the conversation anymore?

When you take away someone’s voice, you can cause a magnitude of negative feelings for that person who was just trying to help, trying to be a part of the conversation you allowed them to be a part of, then stripped them of the chance to partake by just not simply hearing what they have to say. Ideas people don’t get disheartened because you didn’t choose our idea, we get disheartened because you didn’t even have the decency to hear it. We know some ideas don’t quite fit the bill, and we’re okay with that. A simple “I don’t think that would quite work for this project, but thanks for suggesting” would do the world of good for us. It changes the hard “no” to a “I appreciate your input”.

By doing that you allow that person to believe in their voice. You allow them to feel valued, valid, and accepted, and you know what, sometimes that’s enough. And just imagine that one of those ideas could be the exact thing that you were looking for. All you had to do was create the perfect environment for ideas to be expressed, heard, and valued. And how do you do that? Just by listening.

I didn’t have a voice before, but I have a voice now, and I’m being heard. Silly thoughts and all. It honestly feels like a superpower, and I’m sure as most superheroes feel, you don’t know if you’re supposed to yield this amount of power, but I’m going to try and use it as often as I can. I can’t tell you what happens after you find your voice, because I’ve only just found mine. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see…

Lauren Flack

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