Finding Your Voice

Finding your voice isn’t always easy. Wouldn’t it be great if someone had a course or book you could buy that shared a magical formula for sharing the real you with the world? Sometimes it seems like expressing your authentic voice can take years of work.

In my post Don’t Rush To Be an Expert I shared the process people used to go through to earn the right to call themselves masters of their trades. Along the way they learned basics skills. They improved and refined them.  Eventually  they started earning a living from their craft. It sometimes took decades to be a master.

Building a platform today doesn’t take as long – Thank goodness! But it does require you to produce work that’s unique.  It requires you to find add your voice to it.

My guest today approaches his work much like a master craftsman from long ago. He teaches those who are willing to listen how to make their work a masterpiece.

His  books include  include

  • The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant At a Moment’s Notice
  • Die Empty: Unleash Your Best Work Everyday
  • Louder Than Words: Harness the Power of Your Authentic Voice
the-accidental-creative-by-todd-henry die-empty-by-todd-henry louder-than-words-by-todd-henry

His name is Todd Henry and his books and podcast (The Accidental Creative) serve as a workshop for those looking to build epic platforms and epic lives.

On today’s podcast we cover two topics: How to Find Your Voice and The Aspiration Gap

How to Find Your Voice

Your Voice is is an expression through a medium to achieve an impact. When someone encounters your work, they should know you created it. That’s your voice.

Three Elements of Your Voice
  1. Identity- It’s what drives you and what you care about
  2. Vision – Where you’re going with your work. Can people see where you’re leading them?
  3. Mastery – Developing a competence in the skills you need to bring your vision to the market.

Mastery matters when it comes to discovering your authentic voice. It doesn’t matter how strong the first two are, if people don’t see you as competent, they won’t listen to you.

It’s about maturing your perspective and becoming great in your field. It takes time. Even though It’s never been easier to get attention, you really have to ask yourself what impact do you desire to have through your work.

The Aspiration Gap

The idea for The Aspiration Gap came from Ira Glass, host of This American Life.  Todd was listening to an interview with Glass and was struck by something he said,

Peabody Awards -

Peabody Awards – peabodyawards/14098138507/

All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.


The Aspiration Gap Cycle
  1. Discovery – You see someone do something and think, “I can do that”.
  2. Emulation – You copy the people who are doing it well, trying to build a competent level of expression.
  3. Divergence – Putting your own twist on skills you learned by emulating others.
  4. Experimentation – You come from a place of credibility and then break the rules.
  5. Crisis – You are no longer getting the return on your efforts you once were. You must choose Start again or Stagnate

The Danger of Early Expertise

Finding Your Voice Too Soon

It’s great to see so many young people aspiring to great things, but danger lies in declaring yourself an expert or an authority before you develop the necessary skills that happen in the Discovery and Emulation phases.

Henry says it’s very easy for an inexperience person to fall prey to the Dunning-Kruger affect

“The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which low-ability individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly assessing their ability as much higher than it really is. Dunning and Kruger attributed this bias to a metacognitive inability of those of low ability to recognize their ineptitude and evaluate their ability accurately. Their research also suggests corollaries: high-ability individuals may underestimate their relative competence and may erroneously assume that tasks which are easy for them are also easy for others.”  From Wikipedia

Finding your voice requires you to commit to a path and work your way through the Aspiration Gap.

On the next podcast, I continue my conversation with Todd Henry. We continue our talk about finding your authentic voice as we discuss:

  • What holds people back from going after their dreams
  • What has to be in place before we take any leap of faith and
  • How The Brady Bunch and Gilligan’s Island can help you resonate with your audience.

Make sure you listen. The best way to do that is to subscribe the show clicking your favorite button below.