I have finally created a business website that I am moderately happy with (after having been unhappy with it for a while, it IS an improvement). And I realized it was almost like a self-finding experience. And it all made me think: how can we find our unique voice? And once we do, how can we express it? Or better yet, how can we find the strength to trust it…
But let me start from the beginning. I spent about a week’s work on my “professional website” (the website I wanted to advertise my services) and I put it online in January 2013. And I left it there, Like some unwanted old sweater you once got as a gift, but don’t dare to throw away. Now that’s a great pre-requisite for a business site to attract clients?!
Months later (just a couple weeks ago) I got in touch with my dear friend who herself was in the process of finding her voice and writing content for her eagerly awaited Leadership.is website (at least I was eagerly curious what it would be like… and it turned out to be as glorious as I thought… check it out!) and this conversation inspired me to re-think my own website. Why? Because I was clearly unhappy with it and I finally realized why. Instead of making it my page, I had tried to create a page of what I thought a professional “business/consultancy” page should look like. And I realized that I believed that people would only take me seriously if I make the “socially accepted” thing. I modelled it on examples I found on the web. I wrote the texts in third person, as if I am this famous person who has other people write about them and I called it “Cartoon Consulting”… and for me it all fell completely flat!
Instead of starting work on that, I decided to re-vamp my Working Beauty blog page where I publish my weekly comic about women in organizations. I realized that I had energy and I was motivated. And I was thinking a lot about what my friend said, how she was inspired by my Working Beauty blog, how that page was completely me… the consulting page not so much, she admitted. And I also realized I had far less motivation to even change my consulting site… why should I? I just HAVE to make it, like anyone else does for their business… it needs to look professional, accredited, certified and it needs to sell stuff.
It had to end here. I started asking myself what do I need to create so that I can ignite the same passion for my “business” as I have for my comic. First I took the executive decision that I would change the title into “Cartoons for Change” and already I felt a lot more motivation to start working on my professional site again. Within one day, I created a new set of logos, a website header, fresher font colours and a facebook page to go with it. And I decided to start my own reflection blog. This is my first post, as you can see.
By no means do I feel this site is ready. It’s like life, a work in progress. But I finally feel I started to speak in my unique voice here.
Now coming back to the title of the post, I think what I am really trying to get to here is that often we find ourselves in situations where we do what we believe others want from us. We behave from our own belief that this is what others will accept, or what others expect. The downside of it is, we can crush our spirit with that. We can literally stop ourselves from being ourselves! And often these processes are not even conscious.
I am not alone with this, there are many people I have met recently who are working with others to align people with their soul purpose (Aviel) or help women create purposeful businesses (Quiddity). Also my cartoons are there to help people see different perspectives and to question the status quo… and hopefully also to find themselves a little more in the process. And as you see, I am not perfect in that respect either, and as my friend says “Sometimes you need to get lost before you can find yourself” and I had to go through that process. And I will again. So it’s a constant quest and I see myself as a visual explorer of possibilities.
So there are ways to find our voice. And often we know what it says intuititively, and as soon as we hear it, we better trust it. Only then will we start to express it. All I can say at the end is: a year ago I told someone about “Cartoons for Change” (I used the exact wording) and it is beyond me why I later overruled my intuition and decided to call my site “Cartoon Consulting”. It only shows me that I did not trust that my unique voice would be heard. … I still don’t know if it’s going to be heard, but I trust that I have to be myself to give it a chance!