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 essential.

There is no one right way of doing this but there are seven standard building blocks that you can combine and use in your own way.

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

Queen Elizabeth I of England provides a good example. Four hundred years ago she faced a difficult world. 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, seeing her weakness, a foreign power had decided to invade.

Faced with these perils Elizabeth, might simply have run away. Or she could have tried to bluff her way through. 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 with an escort of only six men and two page boys.

Having put herself at the mercy of several thousand heavily armed troops, she then 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. The invader was repulsed and Elizabeth has gone down in history as one of her country’s greatest rulers ever.

When we speak authentically, other people can hear it and they know who we are. Our words will 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 anything.

In your life and in your work, do you speak authentically what is true for you or do you say what you think you should? What outcomes does that create? 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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