Who Created YOUR Rules?
The cover of my website says “I’m hell-bent on amplifying your voice.”
That’s not just a headline. It’s my mantra.
Back when I was a full-time brand strategist, it was my job to help a company find its brand and live it. I would work with them to come up with their core values and positioning. We would find out what they stood for and then start building the human characteristics into their business language.
Because we are humans who work with humans. When a brand sounded more human, the right clients and customers – the humans – would connect to it and buy from them.
This is even more important with speakers. Speakers are humans who have to communicate a message in front of one or many humans. The problem is that most speakers sound the same, look the same, and have the same message. That problem is also the best part – it’s REALLY easy to stand out as a Rockstar Speaker.
You have a personal brand.
It walks into your meetings before you even get there. You get up in meetings and speak with it. You show up with it on stages. Your website showcases it. And the content of your talk AND the way you give the talk shares your personal brand with others.
Most never taken the time to define their personal brands though – which is why someone like me ends up standing out in a crowd. I am my brand – and it’s defined.
My brand is Approachable Badass. I live it at home, at work, with my friends, with my family, and at the grocery store. I not only LOOK like my brand, I also speak like it, push people’s boundaries with it, write like it, and create like it. I am 100% Melanie Spring all the time. I am me. No one else can be me, even if they tried.
You are you. No one else can be you. You are the you-est you that ever walked this earth.
So, why did you stop being so you?
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that you were also trained to stay in the lines. You were told to fit the mold, to follow the rules, and to fit in.
You might have originally learned this from your parents – the ways of the world according to their views and rules. Then you learned it from your friends – the ways to navigate staying cool. Your teachers shared the school rules with you – the ways to not end up in the principal’s office. Then your boss and colleagues made sure you fit into their cubes – the beige ones.
The only problem with all of this is that most of us were taught to fit in. Yet, if I asked you who you looked up to, you’d probably tell me someone who stands out.
Why is it such a good thing to fit in? From the American Dream of white-picket fences to the high-paying jobs that suck your soul dry to retirement plans that never get used because of the stress of life and work. The box is comfortable. Fitting in is easy.
So, why is the box so damn stressful?
Because if we fit in the box, everybody likes us.
But you weren’t put here to make everyone like you. You weren’t meant to fit into a box. You were put here to make a difference. And the only way you can do that is to stand out and push the boundaries.
“Well-behaved women rarely make history.” – Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
I’d venture to say that this could also read, “Well-behaved HUMANS seldom make history.”
We are taught to be well-behaved. We are taught not to ruffle feathers. We are taught to follow the rules. We are taught to make sure people like us.
Yet, anyone who doesn’t fit the ideal, follow the rules, or “should” on themselves, THOSE are the humans who stand out. Those are the humans we remember. Those are the humans with a voice that is heard. Those are the humans who are amplified. Those are the humans who make history.
Think about it – the person you most look up to is not someone who fit in. It’s someone who changed your life. It’s someone who broke the rules. It’s someone who pushed your boundaries.
So, my big question: WHO CREATED YOUR RULES?
I mean it – really ask yourself:
Who created the rules for how I dress, speak, move, act, play, show up?
Then ask yourself:
What rules am I willing to break so I can step into who I was meant to be AND to say what I was meant to say?
I often say: “I like to know what the rules are so I know how to break them.”
I want to know what I am expected to do in almost every scenario of my life so that I can then find the wiggle room in those rules. If they are rules that will allow others to stay safe from harm, I’m happy to follow them. If the rules are there to keep me from making waves, I’ll happily break them.
So, what does this all have to do with my original statement: “I’m hell-bent on amplifying your voice.”
I believe your voice matters.
I ALSO believe that in order for you to use your voice, you have to know who you are and what you are here to do.
You have to know WHY your rules are your rules. You have to know your boundaries – and be willing to push them. You have to know what makes you stand out. You have to believe that your voice AND your story matter.
When I work with my Rockstars (the speakers in SPEAK With Confidence), I first want to know their stories. The stories that make up who they are. The stories that make up their IP (Intellectual Property.) The stories that made them want to stand up and say something. The stories that will help the world.
Once we figure out the stories, I then want make sure they know their personal brand. Why they are who they are. How they stand out. Why others should listen to them. And how they’re going to hold their attention.
Only after they know their stories and their personal brand can we start working on amplifying their voice.
Every person is different, I can’t give them the same instruction. Yes, I can give them a methodology to follow, but they are going to read it differently than the next person. And that’s always my hope.
When I say “amplify,” I mean that I want them to go bigger. To take what they’ve learned about themselves and go deeper, wider, and broader.
When they get on stage, I want them to use their voice in a way that carries. I want them to use their arms and movements in a way that feels natural AND bigger. I want them to step out of the box of rules and show the world the excitement they feel inside about their topic.
It pains me to see someone become a “speaker robot” – standing behind the podium or moving mechanically because they practiced that way. I don’t want to hear one word that they wouldn’t say to a friend or colleague or customer over coffee. And I certainly don’t want them to sound like they are acting like anyone but themselves.
I’ve been through MANY trainings to become a better speaker and I’ve also watched how others teach. No one should ever be trained the same – because none of us are the same. So, why does typical speaker training put people in a box?
Because everyone has been trying to put us into a box since we were born.
Let’s stop that shit – and start owning who we were meant to be and what we were meant to say.
I am hell-bent on amplifying YOUR voice. And that means you have to WANT to be amplified. It means you have to want to stand out. It means you have to want to use your true voice. It means that not everyone will like you.
Well-behaved humans seldom make history.
Are you ready to break down the box you’ve been put into – by yourself and others – and start making history? It’s your turn to say what needs to be said.