In today’s article, I want to show you how you can begin to discover your Royal Voice.
Looking back on what I’m about to share today, it’s little wonder why and how I wound up so self-conscious.
Eighth grade – that might’ve been my most awkward year I ever had in school. And considering the h*ll that was my high school years, this is a huge statement.
Our band director liked to sneak away quite often. Truthfully, I think he was an alcoholic, but I don’t know this for sure.
Here’s my journey through Tuscaloosa schools. See if you can keep up.
I went to one elementary school from kindergarten through fifth grade – six years. A building the Tuscaloosa schools have recently shuttered and is either tearing down or has already torn down. After leaving elementary school, we were sent to one school each for sixth, seventh, and eighth grade. You can’t really build relationships with teachers that way, y’know?
And then you had 9th and 10th grade in one building and 11th and 12th at another.
Anyway, eighth grade…that was a fun year.
Mr. H had escaped to the teacher’s lounge (I’m asserting) and he left a bunch of 13-year-olds to their own devices. Not wise…
We were instructed to work on our homework while he was away. Yeah, that was gonna happen.
I had no friends in these days. Or at least, this is how I saw myself. Friendless, fat, big headed, and with a voice that still hadn’t dropped.
Yeah, here’s why I get to share this story.
That afternoon, two future felons of America started laughing in my general direction. And being a hyper-sensitive kid – who has become a hyper-sensitive man – I was positive they were laughing AT me. I turned around and one of them says this to me.
“Yo Ryan? What size bra you wear?” And they both laugh lecherously.
Something snapped. I don’t know what it was, but something snapped.
I shoot out of my chair, get in his face, and squeaked “what did you just say to me?” I wanted to fight that little jacka$$!
This already six-foot tall kid gets up and he’s laughing at me. And his little felon buddy is also laughing and making fun of me. Imitating my squeaking voice.
I immediately thought better of it, and I sat down.
This event was the start of something pretty disturbing from my past. My voice actually had dropped, but I didn’t show it because I didn’t want people to make fun of me. Yet, it opened up other avenues for ridicule.
I mean, I could turn amateur psychologist and talk about my survival mechanism and unhealed parental wounds and why my mom wanted to put me into vocal therapy after this and I know this is a run-on sentence.
Long story short, I had no Voice. I had no Voice in the world. Yeah, I was a kid. What do I know about the troubles and the drama of the world? I was just a stupid kid.
Flashing forward almost 30 years, I recently had a speaking engagement that reminded me of how far I’ve come.
The mere fact that I’m embracing public speaking is proof of this in and of itself, y’know?
Before I go in for any kind of speaking engagement or anything where being present is crucial for me, I do three things.
First, I listen to my “get your mind right, Ryan” songs. Those being EWF’s In The Stone (I mean, I DID title my first novel after that song), and Yea Alabama. You know, because Crimson reasons.
After I listen to those two songs, I sit in quiet reflection for 5 minutes. At this reflection, I had the vision of all visions about how far I’ve come.
I was maybe 12 or 13 years old, around the same age as I was when the incident happened in the Eastwood band room.
I’m watching my little 13” Sony TV that Santa brought me a few years prior. Like clockwork every summer Saturday, I’d watch Georgia Championship Wrestling at 5:05 Central #turnertime, followed by the Braves at 6:05.
When other kids were playing with friends, my only friend was a little TV. And when I wasn’t watching wrestling or baseball, I was either watching SportsCenter or playing my NES.
I was straight up terrified to have a Voice in the world! I was scared of the world. I was scared of my family! My door was always – always closed.
This is what makes the event I spoke at last week all the more powerful. I was able to remind myself how powerful my Voice really is.
My talk was to a networking group about…wait for it…how to grow and nurture your Voice and using podcasting as a medium to share that Voice!
We’ve come full circle, my Royal subjects.
Before we dive headfirst into growing and nurturing your Royal Voice, I want to ask you a few questions.
- What are you passionate about? “It’s hard to hear you speak about something you’re really passionate about without you sounding like you’re crying.” A friend recently acknowledged me for this, and it really stuck. If you’re speaking from your heart, people will listen. What you passionate about?
- What sparks joy? At the risk of this reading like that Marie Kondo meme, what sparks joy with you? Joy and passion go hand in hand. If you think about it, all joy as an adult is, is your inner child running wild with the intelligence and life experience of adulthood.
- Case in point – Dr. Katie Bouman. She’s the scientist and professor who ran point on the project that culminated in the first ever photograph of a black hole. In the picture of her that’s gone viral, she’s in front of a monitor with her hands over her mouth barely able to contain her joy. That was joy and that was passion in one really awesome picture. That was also 10-year old Katie on full display.
- What do you love? If you love something enough to speak out about it, or to create a podcast about it, that combines passion and joy into one beautiful package. Is there an issue you want to speak about? Is there a cause that speaks to your soul? Do you just want to be a better leader? Come at that from a place of love and I guarantee you that your Voice will be shouted from the mountaintops. We’re talking sounding your barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world, here.
Before we go, I want you to take a look at something. Every time I used the word “Voice” when speaking about your presence in the world, that capitalization is completely intentional.
For example: I didn’t let my voice drop until late in puberty because I was scared to have a Voice in the world.
We need more passionate, joyful, and loving people in the world speaking out about what makes them tick. And I believe we need way more heart-centered men speaking from passion, joy, and love.
That’s having the Voice of a King!
My friends, that’s the Royal Voice!
Chew on these questions before our next piece:
- What would finding your Royal Voice look like?
- Do you even WANT to find your Royal Voice?
- How would your life look if you discovered your Royal Voice?
What’s your take on what you just read? Comment below or write a response and submit to us your own point of view or reaction here at the red box, below, which links to our submissions portal.