There are 7.8 billion people on the planet — and there is only one you. Every moment in your life, every experience you’ve had, and everything you think and do has the power to impact others. Yes, you are that important. Yes, you are that impactful. Yes, your voice matters that much.
I truly believe that we all have something powerful and important to say. Your story matters. Your voice matters, and by sharing it, you can change and even save a life. I know this to be true, because of using my own voice. I was in Los Angeles premiering my film: You’re Gorgeous, I Love Your Shirt, An Inside Look at Bullying and Mental Health, a short documentary featuring a young girl’s journey through multiple suicide attempts. After the screening, a stranger came up to me and shared that he was bullied as an adult, in the middle of a divorce and was contemplating suicide. He shared that the film made him feel less alone and he wanted to live.
That is why I’m so passionate and serious about this work. You can absolutely change and even save someone’s life by sharing your powerful story. This is how you leave a lasting legacy of good.
When you understand how to communicate effectively and authentically, whether it’s from across the table with your family, from across the boardroom table, with your colleagues, or from a big stage when you’re speaking to 15,000 people, this is how you have lasting legacy and make the kind of impact you want to make.
Trust, courage and willingness to be criticized are three key factors in speaking up when it matters.
First, trust that your unique point of view has value to offer — and it does. The life you’ve lived, the experience you have is meant to be passed down so that we can learn from you — and the only way for you to pass this down is to speak up. Trust requires us to tap into our credibility and vulnerability. Remember: being credible does not mean we need to be a published author or have a Ph.D. It simply means, our lived experience is enough.
You are enough.
Being vulnerable inside the trusting of the power of our voice is also important. The tenderness with which you trust yourself is important when you share your truth with others and speak up. This also allows the person receiving your message to be more open to receiving it.
That takes me to courage. It’s terrifying to speak up, especially when it matters. One of my speakers, James Lucas, who’s terrified of public speaking, came to me and said, “I need to talk about animals. I’m a vegan and people need to know what they go through”. He wanted to speak about all the ways animals are not treated well inside of the food, clothing, and entertainment industry. I told James he needed to be the voice of the animals, because they could not speak for themselves.
And that is why speaking up is our responsibility.
There are so many voices out there who are not heard. So many women and girls who do not have the right to speak. Think about all the people in Russia right now, who’ve become silenced. We cannot take our voices for granted.
Finally, leaving a lasting legacy when you speak up also means being willing to be criticized. It means being willing to trust that of the 7.8 billion people, the one person who’s meant to hear from you will — and all the others who are unable to receive your message or story or insights, don’t need to. And that is not your business. What is your business is having the trust, courage and willingness to speak up, no matter what.
Speaking up requires your keen understanding of how to have impact at home, at work and in the community — and that every single word you speak can affect someone beyond what you can see in the moment. When you use the power of your voice, and speak up when it matters, together we can amplify, elevate, and lift each other up to become better human beings on the planet.
Tricia Brouk is an International Award Winning Director, Producer, Founder of The Big Talk Academy and Author of The Influential Voice: Saying What You Mean For Lasting Legacy.