Investment

The Best Investment You Can Make In 2024

If your inbox is anything like mine, you are being bombarded with messages about how to ensure your success in 2024. My suspicion is that few of them are worth reading.

This one is different.

I am not selling you anything nor did I write this by using a cool AI tool. I offer here straightforward career advice gleaned from >20 years in C-level roles and ten years of listening carefully to those who navigated significant changes in their career and life.

In 2024, I invite you to leverage a key asset we all possess but grossly underutilize.

Our voices.

Voice for our purposes is not what you hear audibly when someone speaks. Voice is our truth, our essence. To unlock our voices, we need to pierce the taken-for-granted assumptions we all carry around and turn up the volume on what we discover.

Consider Pascal who joined the research for my 2nd book, Dancing with Disruption. Pascal described himself as a gay man who talked about coming out as a major transformative moment in his life. For a long time, Pascal lived as a straight man even though he knew he was gay. “Coming out was going from a point of exhaustion to relief,” he said. Pascal’s exhaustion stemmed from living up to expectations that were disconnected in many ways from his own truth.

“I was always dancing on the edge of being found out. Awareness took a long time,” said Pascal. “And then, I needed to prepare for acting on it.”

Even though Pascal’s circumstances differ from each of ours, his story offers important lessons about voice that we can all learn from.

Voice is not one single monolithic asset, as in ‘we have it, or we do not.’ Voice has two components; our awareness of voice, and our willingness to live in alignment with it. Pascal started out with a growing awareness of being gay. That awareness was separate and apart from his willingness to act on it.

So much of our experience in and out of the corporate world helps raise our awareness of our own voice. The unexpected layoff. A family member’s health crisis. The out-of-bounds behavior of senior management. The arrival of a new baby. A promotion. A break-up.

Awareness is only the beginning. Living in alignment with a growing understanding of our truth requires choice. How much of you are you willing to let others experience? For a long time, Pascal operated as a straight man even though he knew we was gay. He had spent many years working to establish credibility in his finance career. Initially, he wasn’t ready. He feared that his choice would jeopardize his career prospects. That perspective changed.

Why care so much about voice? My research and work has convinced me of one indelible truth: Our voice is our most profound and reliable success factor.

We use many labels to talk about the absence of voice. Code switching. Contextual Identities. Posing. Hiding. Potentially even discrimination when we find ourselves in an environment that denies our authentic expression.

For 2024, work to identify and act in alignment with your voice.

It sounds easy, doesn’t it? It isn’t. We get countless verbal and non-verbal cues that attempt to over-write, mute, or otherwise diminish our voices. It takes a real effort to even begin.

For this year, I invite you to take steps every day to understand YOUR voice more completely and learn how it feels to live in alignment with it. Allow your newfound voice to guide you on a path in the direction of YOUR dreams.

Here’s what I know. Real acceleration in a career – and in life – occurs when we close the gap between awareness of our voice and acting in alignment with it. A weary world awaits the incredible momentum available only from activating YOUR VOICE. Happy 2024!

If you would like to learn more about voice, listen to my podcast, Destination Unknown, or read my most recent book, Dancing with Disruption.

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