Exeleon Magazine

The Power of Finding Your Authentic Voice

Ashley Graham

The following is an article written by Ashley Graham, Founder of The Conscious Publicist®. In this article she writes embracing self-awareness and overcoming the inner critic to find your authentic voice. This is part of Exeleon’s Women History Month Celebration issues.

My journey as a thought leader, public speaker, and podcast host has ultimately been defined by a deep understanding and appreciation of my own voice, but this wasn’t always the case. As we all know, there is no shortage of challenges on the road to success. Just like we each have our unique voice and definitions of “success,” we also have our own idiosyncratic methods of navigating these obstacles.

Those who have listened to my podcast, The Conscious Publicist Podcast, know I believe in a cohesive relationship between the past, present, and future. I remind myself of two principles daily: I am always in a perpetual state of becoming, and our past is a prologue, not a verdict.

Our previous experiences lay the foundation for who we are today and aspire to become. However, while the past may shape and inform the present, it should never limit our future identity.

In the process of voice activation and using the voice to guide, inspire, and educate, I have learned the importance of not rushing toward the future nor dwelling on the past. Instead, I cherish the past and present as a vital part of my journey.

It is extremely helpful to create anchor points in my past experiences, as these moments inform my actions and thoughts in the present, continuously guiding me toward a future self that embodies my ideals.

When it comes to thought leadership, we often encounter a familiar adversary: the inner critic. This overly critical voice can either hold us back or spur us to improve. Reflecting on recent public speaking engagements, my inner critic, which could easily echo the judgments of my past self, would have had a lot to criticize.

During one of these experiences, I felt myself struggling with self-doubt as I began questioning the value of my words. Managing this internal dialogue has always been a delicate balance; my past self would likely have allowed these fears to impede my progress. However, through my journey, I have learned to coexist with my inner critic – acknowledging its presence while consciously limiting its influence to prevent it from restricting my progress. Finding the right equilibrium allows us room for growth without becoming paralyzed by self-doubt and the past.

My stance toward finding the authentic voice results from extreme self-awareness. Being attuned to my processes, I see myself in a constant evaluation state. Over time, I have realized that my perception of my voice won’t always align with how others will receive it. While this might seem uncomfortable initially, this gap between self-perception and external feedback also offers growth opportunities. What feels imperfect to us could be incredibly impactful to someone else and vice versa. This process of self-awareness is key, especially when it comes to using my voice effectively.

Our voice, typically in tune with our emotions, can expose deeper aspects of self-expression, perfectionism, and even the human desire for acceptance. In the presence of others, our fears about how we might be received (or perceived) can create an atmosphere of insecurity.

How will our external voice sound to others?

What if we say something foolish?

And if we are being uniquely ourselves, will we be judged negatively?

Uncomfortable situations, such as public speaking or conversing with strangers, often trigger this instinctual response because we feel a lack of safety. Despite recognizing the fear and discomfort that sometimes come with using my voice in a public setting, I have done significant work not to let any preconceived reservations hold me back. I have learned to navigate the fluctuations of my thoughts, balancing what I feel called to share and how it can best be delivered.

Activating my voice has been a challenging and rewarding journey of consistently continuing to show up, both despite and considering the possibilities. After all, the connection we seek in communication isn’t always within our control. Success is dependent not only on the message delivered but also on the space we create for our listeners to come to their own understanding.

Navigating the delicate balance of audience interpretation, your message acts as a looking glass, reflecting how your authentic voice resonates with others. This interaction offers invaluable insights, sharpening your understanding and mastery of your voice. Each piece of feedback will shape your expression, making it more impactful with every step forward. Gradually, this journey will amplify your capacity to convey your thoughts and ultimately draw your audience closer to the heart of your message.

About Ashley Graham:

As the Founder of The Conscious Publicist®, Ashley Graham’s mission is to guide and inspire people. Her overarching goal is to assist others in unlocking their limitless potential, enabling them to share their brilliance and expertise with the world. With a deep belief in the power of storytelling, Ashley is dedicated to helping clients build meaningful connections and relationships. She considers her work’s “people relations” aspect to be vital in fostering a more conscious and sustainable world.

By guiding clients in developing the necessary practices and strategies to align their connections with their goals, Ashley aims to shape a future where conscious living is the norm. With her passion for conscious living and dedication to empowering purpose-driven businesses, Ashley is creating a more conscious and sustainable future. Through TCP, she amplifies the voices of those seeking to make a positive impact, helping them share their stories authentically and effectively. With a commitment to growth, resilience, and personal development, Ashley is a leader who continues to evolve, inspiring others on their entrepreneurial paths.

Read Previous

Ashley Zahabian: Breaking Boundaries with IntegrateBPD

Read Next

Revolutionizing Women’s Health: The Need for Gastrointestinal Solutions