Reading I Have a Voice will inspire you to show up fully, be seen, and live your life to the fullest.
I recently listened to the audio version of Tyler Williams’ book I Have a Voice. I enjoyed that Williams read the audio version himself (with a pleasant and slightly Southern drawl). The book chronicles his journey to regain his “voice” – his passion and his confidence.
In his early 20s, Williams found himself disconnected from himself, others, and his purpose. He had given up his dreams as a NASCAR driver, broken up with his girlfriend, and quit singing after an embarrassing performance where he forgot the lyrics.
Despite the fact that I have no interest in racing and can’t sing a lick, I related to Williams’ message. Like Williams, we’ve all had successes and failures. And yet, we tend to hang onto the failures and let them define us and hold us back. We get stuck in the fear of being our true selves and “being seen” in the world.
Give up perfectionism
I Have a Voice reminds us that life is about taking chances. If we play it small and safe, if we wait until we’re perfect at something, we’ll miss out on so many of life’s joys and opportunities. Williams shows his vulnerability throughout the book, encouraging us to move away from perfectionism and external validation and toward authenticity.
Connect with others
Williams is clear that he doesn’t have a quick fix or five-point plan guaranteed to solve your discontent. His own path involved years of intentional self-exploration including counseling, coaching, expressing himself through music and writing, and connecting with trusted mentors. He emphasizes that none of us find success and happiness in isolation. We need connection and support from others.
One of my favorite parts of the book was when Williams stood in front of a full length mirror and, at his therapist’s urging, tried to say, “I love you” to himself. He couldn’t do it at first. I took practice and patience. It was such a striking reminder that self-love doesn’t come naturally or easily for a lot of us. We’re not taught to love ourselves. Some of us are actually taught that it’s wrong or selfish or conceded to love ourselves. It’s hard, but very possible to overcome these negative messages from others and from ourselves.
Williams lives by example when he tells us to share our failures and painful experiences. “Vulnerability isn’t weak. It’s power and strength,” he told me in a recent telephone interview. Being your whole, authentic self leads to more passion and more strength.
For more information: Tyler Williams
I Have a Voice can be purchased on Amazon and other retailers.
Photo: Courtesy of Tyler Williams.
This essay originally appeared on PsychCentral.
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