Five steps to find your voice in your 40’s

Do you find you struggle to speak up and be heard?  You try and speak only for someone to interrupt you and finish off your conversation. Do you feel like no one is listening? It feels like your opinions, ideas and thoughts are not important enough.   When you feel like no-one is listening to you it can make us feel unvalued, unappreciated, and just damn right fed up.  It can affect our self-esteem and our confidence. We scream inside our heads ‘why won’t you let me speak?’  We hear voices in our own head telling us not to bother; it’s not worth it as no-one listens anyway.  But it doesn’t have to feel and be this way.  All you have to do, is make a few changes and you’ll be amazed the difference that it will make. 

Step 1: Control your thoughts

Be in control of your thoughts; they can either help you or hindebr you.  Your thoughts can either empower you or disempower you, encourage you or stop you.  Your thoughts can change your life now and for the future.  Choose them wisely.  When negative thoughts pop in your head; challenge them.  Are they true?  Really true? Ask yourself is it true or are you just scared of the outcome?  Do you fear failure is that why these negative thoughts appear?  If so, challenge that thought. Turn each thought around, upside down and inside out until you feel it’s truth.  Challenge your thoughts to get the lifestyle that you want. 

Be brave, push yourself and the changes can really happen; it’s all in the power of your thoughts. For example, you’re heading to a meeting at work and you want to talk about an idea but your thoughts are; ‘no-one will listen to you’, ‘They will just interrupt me anyway’, ‘it probably won’t work’ and before you know it you decide to not even bother speaking up.  What if you changed your thoughts to; ‘I’ll explain all the reasons why this is a good idea’, ‘if they interrupt me, I’ll ask them to let me finish’, ‘this idea is amazing and will make a real positive difference’, ‘go on girl, you can do this’.  Can you see the difference on how you will feel when you turn those thoughts around?

Step 2: Be passionate, not emotional

Doesn’t it just make you crazy when someone says this to you ‘you’re being emotional’!  Your feelings of frustration get higher and higher, and things just got a hell of lot worse.  When this happens its crucial to flip back to Step 1.  Control your thoughts.  Most of the time we are being passionate about a certain subject only when we feel we are not being listened to does our passion turn to emotional, either upset, frustrations and anger.  Let’s not forget that our hormones will certainly be raging at this point when our emotions kick in.  When this occurs, tell yourself to stop.  Stop speaking, inhale a deep breath of calm and exhale the stress. Reflect and remind yourself why this important and start again.  Interrupt the emotion and get back the passion.

Step 3: Call it out

If someone interrupts you; talks over you, shuts you down, call it out.  Ask them to kindly let you finish the conversation without being interrupted.  Most of the time people don’t realise that they actually do it.  If it’s during an argument I think we are all guilty of this from time to time, so just be aware that you don’t interrupt too.  Let people speak and then you can challenge them to let you speak too.

Step 4: Listen to understand, don’t listen to respond

Sometimes we react and respond too quickly because we want to get our point across but when we do that our minds are not fully listening to what the other person has actually said.  They may have a totally different perspective, but they may not be wrong, and you can respond too quickly before you fully understand the other persons reasoning.  Think about the number 6 and 9.  If one person is viewing it upside down you can see why they would be adamant that they are right when they believe it’s a number 6 versus the view the other persons sees which is a 9.  Again, our changing hormones won’t help us as we can get easily fired up.  When we sense this happening, this is when we must tell ourselves to stop.  Take that breathe, check your and theirs perspective, and start again.

Step 5: Know that there is always a way

Decide and know what you want, challenge those beliefs that are getting in the way. Trust and believe that there is always a way because seek and you shall always find.

Sara Harling author of ‘Why Won’t You Let Me Speak?’  Available at Amazon, Waterstones and The Hive.

Photos by Polina Tankilevitch and Pexels