The Big Idea: Louder Than Words

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How certain are you of how people actually perceive you? Because chances are, if you haven’t done the work to develop a unique voice, they might be encountering an entirely different you than you think you’re showing them, and it might be limiting your effectiveness in life and work. On today’s episode, we’ll begin to talk about the three drivers of a unique voice, and why they’re critical to your success.

One of the most important distinctions to learn to make about work is the difference between occupation and vocation. Your occupation is your job. It’s how you make a living. It’s what you spend most of your waking hours doing. However, this is very different from your vocation. Your vocation is your calling, and it finds expression through your occupation, though not exclusively. It will spill over into all areas of your life. Your vocation is what is being called out of you. It’s what makes you unique. And clues to your vocation are all around, if you pay attention.

As I wrote in chapter one of Louder Than Words:

“Have you ever felt especially alive at the end of a meeting, task, or project? Maybe it’s because something went really well, and you know that it simply wouldn’t have happened without your efforts. It’s more than just the rush of relief for having checked something off your list; it’s that the value of your unique perspective and skills has been affirmed and that you’ve done something no one else could have. You experienced the thrill of operating in your “sweet spot.” In these circumstances, your vocation, or calling, has found expression through your occupation. This is often when we feel most alive and contributive in our work. However, for many people, it’s difficult to bridge the steep gap between who they are and what they do each day. Instead of heeding their intuition and taking risks with their work, they do what is expected, and play it safe by taking the tried-and-true route, trying not to stand out. As a result, their impact is limited, and they experience less of the joy that comes from pouring their unique and authentic self into their work.”

Unfortunately, many people spent their energy trying to grow their platform — their occupation, or sphere of influence — but they spend little time trying to figure out precisely how they want to use that platform, or what they want to do with the influence once they gain it. As a result, they end up with a lot of attention or responsibility, but their work is hollow.

On this episode, I share the big idea of my third bookLouder Than Words, and a few ideas for how to develop a voice that resonates with the people you lead and serve.

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