Creating inspiration, Part 1: Speak with your own authentic voice

Queen Elizabeth I

In this time of churning and change, your ability to inspire yourself and others becomes paramount.

There is no one right way of achieving this. But there are seven building blocks that you can combine and apply in your own way to create your own recipe for inspiration.

The first of these building blocks is to speak with your own authentic voice.

Queen Elizabeth I of England provides a good example. Four hundred years ago she faced a bigger challenge than you or I will ever have to deal with. Many of her own people thought she could not rule, simply because she was a woman. Some of them had tried to kill her. And then news came that a major foreign power had decided to invade and take her land.

Faced with these multiple escalating threats, Queen Elizabeth could have run away. Or she could have tried to bluff her way through, “There’s no problem. Everything’s fine.”

Instead, she chose to speak her authentic truth.

Wearing armour (unheard of for a woman) she rode “like some Amazonian empress” into the middle of her assembled army, accompanied by an escort of just six men and two page boys.

Here, at the mercy of several thousand heavily armed troops who could easily have killed them all, she spoke clearly and authentically what became her most famous words:

“I know I have the body of a weak, feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king — and of a king of England too!”

Her authenticity won her audience over.

And once they had decided to listen to her then they listened to what she had to say. And once they had heard what she had to say then they did what needed to be done. And when they did what needed to be done the invader was repulsed … and Elizabeth I has gone down in history as one of the greatest rulers her country has ever had.

Before people decide what they think of your message they decide what they think of you.

And when we speak authentically, other people hear that and know they can trust us. Our words then resonate most strongly with the people who will join us for the long haul. And when we have an inspired team, working together and pulling in the same direction, we can achieve almost anything.

In your life and in your work, do you speak out what is authentically true for you? What outcomes does that lead to? What would happen if you spoke more of your authentic truth — first to yourself and then to others?

Do we trust her?

Adapted from Inner Leadership: a framework and tools for building inspiration in times of change.

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Photo By mware2012 via

Photo By Vicki Burton via

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