Voice. This single word has been one of my greatest missions in life. No one else has my voice. No one else can express how I feel, what I am passionate about, what I create and envision better than myself. Only I can be my best self, and my voice is an intricate piece to this. And yet, it can often seem that the moment we set out to find our voice, we come against all the critics.
The outward critics are easy to point the finger at and blame. Some are well intending friends or relatives who just can’t see us living that dream we share. Never having found their own voice, they are unable to cast vision for all the possibilities that await you. They are much more comfortable with you not standing out. But even worse than the outward critics is the inward critics. They are the ones who have the power to stop us from finding our voice. You know the inward critics that I’m referring to, the ones who follow you in your thoughts throughout your day — scoffing at how ridiculous that creative idea is, or reminding you of how unqualified you are to ever go after that dream, or even playing the role as a “honest friend” in telling you that it is better to not risk, not set yourself up for failure, and just stay content with letting your voice blend into the static noise.
And yet, deep inside our hearts is a quiet knocking. It is our own creative spirit that knocks. She is asking for permission to take residence in our lives, to play a role, to have a vote, to be influential, and most of all be heard. For me, this creative spirit finds voice in my writing, photography and speaking. For Ryan, the guest in my video below, his creative spirit is expressed through singing and acting. Ryan is still a teenager, but he is an inspiration to me. His passion for theater has already come up against the critics, and yet he has found inspiration to not give up. When you hear his story and beautiful voice, you’ll agree that he is on the right path.
When I approached him with the idea of possibly sharing part of his story for Disney “Find Your Voice” contest, he shared how much he could identify with Ariel’s song “Part of Your World.” I was so inspired by what he went on to share that I think any middle school or high school student will connect with. Ryan and I hope that his story inspires you and any students who need to be encouraged to follow respond to the knocking inside you — to fully be who YOU are and defy the critics to find your voice.
I have a picture of creation being on the edge of their seat, waiting for you to step up to the platform and express your unique self. And when you do, those who are holding their breath, waiting with anticipation, will finally exhale and have breath to follow their own creative spirit’s knocking.
If you love to sing or have a child or teenager that has a beautiful voice, make sure to enter Disney “Find Your Voice” contest for your chance to share your voice!