Whose Voices?

“Give every man thy ear but few thy voice.” (William Shakespeare)

We have all experienced that moment in a conversation where an awkward silence fills the spaces between us. In some contexts, for example, when I am with my wife (someone who knows me well), this silence is a place of safety. In other contexts, the silence is deafening and we quickly do our best to fill the void. We live in a society of noise pollution. We fill our ears with the radio, music or just the noise of life happening around us.

The Voices in our Head

We avoid the silence because of the voices in our heads. These voices may be our hopes and fears, our doubts and worries vying for attention. Vincent Van Gogh is said to have noted: “If you hear a voice within you say, ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”

What voices are you listening to in your head and heart? Are they voices of hurt, anger, or fear? A Stanford Lecturer, Shirzad Chamine, refers to these voices as saboteurs, trying to sabotage your life, your hopes and dreams. Carrie Fletcher once said: “To the voices in our heads that tell us we aren’t good enough: do be quiet.”

We need to ignore these negative voices. Instead, you need to allow room for the voices in your head to speak of hope and life and override all negativity.

The Voices of Others

The voices of others often shape our internal conversations. If you think about it, the saboteurs in your mind often sound like a cruel bully, an insensitive teacher, or a frustrated parent. What people have spoken into our lives often influences the flow of conversation in our head space.  What voices are you allowing to speak into your life?

I have observed that people who listen voraciously to the news and absorb negativity, live in fear of the future. They have allowed these negative voices to become the dominant force in their lives. Jim Rohn’s famous quote, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” This is simply because you start to believe in their opinions and their voices become part of who you are.

Listening to the One True Voice

In Revelation 3:20 we read: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” Here Jesus is saying that He knocks at the door of our hearts – His voice speaks into our lives but we decide whether we will open the door and allow His voice into our lives.

I have chosen for the voice of Jesus to be a very loud voice in my life because I know that I need His daily direction and His leading. As I have listened more to His voice, God has granted me wisdom in business. Where I have listened to my own voice, this is where I have made the biggest mistakes.

Interestingly, when we consider the life of Job in the Bible, we find that his self-vindication clarifies the silence of God. Only when Job was at the place where he was willing to listen, was the silence broken. As long as a man is defending himself and not listening, God will not justify him. When Job thought he had some righteous ground on which to stand, God was silent. This is true in our lives too.

What voices are you allowing to speak into your life? What is your voice saying into the lives of others? What are those around you hearing when they hear your voice?

AlanlouisPicAbout the Author: Dr Alan Louis is a third generation entrepreneur in a family with a 100-year business history. He devoted his life to Christianity as a child. Awarded a PhD in Commerce, is an Ultra Ironman Triathlete Gold medallist and was inducted in the IBC Hall of Fame for entrepreneurship. Internationally he has served on more than 100 private corporate boards, and has experienced the trials and successes of commerce for 3 decades.

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The Art of Wisely Dealing with Conflict

“The art of war teaches us to rely not on the likelihood of the enemy’s not coming, but on our own readiness to receive him; not on the chance of his not attacking, but rather on the fact that we have made our position unassailable.” (Sun Tzu) Continue reading

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Going? Where?

“It is a mistake to think that moving fast is the same as actually going somewhere.” (Steve Goodler)

I was reminiscing to when my own children were younger. One of our holiday activities was to steer a paddle boat on a small lake. This involved two or even four people on a plastic boat with two sets of paddles and a rudder. The two people on the boat could peddle as hard as they wanted and their combined peddle power would move the boat forward. Continue reading

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Asking the ‘WHY’ in Business

We all want to live lives filled with colour and life. We want to be interesting, to leave a legacy. As leaders, we want to inspire our teams to build great things and to create incredible companies.

Simon Sinek in his book, ‘Start With Why’, reminded us of an important secret in having such an impact. He wrote that: “There are only two ways to influence human behaviour: you can manipulate it or you can inspire it … People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.” Continue reading

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The Correct Use of Words

“A word is dead, when it is said, some say. I say it just begins to live that day.” (Emily Dickinson)

Words have incredible power. Imagine walking into an empty room. Standing alone in that room, if you say one word (for example, “Hello”), then that word echoes back to you from the edges of the room, bouncing back and forth across the room until silence once more settles into place. Now that word had the power to change the atmosphere of an empty room. Now imagine yourself walking into a room where someone else was standing, the word “Hello” has an ability to connect you into the life and story of that person. Words have tremendous power. Continue reading

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Walk in His Shoes

“I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better.” (Abraham Lincoln)

In 1973 an accredited research project took place at Princeton Theological Seminary. A group of students were selected and had to prepare a talk on the biblical story of the Good Samaritan. This story reflected in Luke 10:25-37 described how someone had been attacked, robbed and left for dead next to the road. Religious leaders of the day hurried past the person, but a Samaritan seeing the young man beaten and bruised, picked him up and cared for his needs. Continue reading

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Seeing Your Shadow

“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see your shadow” (Helen Keller)

As we walk through life we are constantly followed by our shadow. As the seasons change in our lives the nature and look of that shadow alters, but we cannot escape it. Continue reading

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Who is Your Family?

“You can’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.” (Desmond Tutu) Continue reading

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Distracted in Business?

“At times the whole world seems to be in conspiracy to importune you with emphatic trifles. Friend, client, child, sickness, fear, want, charity, all knock at once at thy closet door and say,—’Come out unto us.’ But keep thy state; come not into their confusion. The power men possess to annoy me I give them by a weak curiosity. No man can come near me but through my act.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson) Continue reading

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Soul Food in the Marketplace

“If you are trying to create a company, it’s like baking a cake. You have to have all the ingredients in the right proportion” (Elon Musk) Continue reading

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