Friday, May 30, 2008

Helping Others in Finding their Voice - Azara Feroz Sayed

I came across the below post from Steven Covey at

Isn't this similar to Peter Drucker's article 'Managing Oneself' (refer post 'Rising to the Top' on this blog or read Peter's article at

I have referred to this article from Peter more than once on this blog. I could relate to Peter's article very well and hence feel the need that I should take this to as many people as I can!

Steve talks about getting the self-feedback by asking questions about what is good for a person's heart, mind, body and spirit (the important aspects of life that is part of Steve's work - refer 7 Habits). I did find that my anwers to the Qs in How do you define “voice”? did overlap.

The interesting part in this post compared to Peter's article is, the Q about helping other's find their voice and is not covered in Peter's article. Do read the Q 'How can we help someone find his or her voice?' from Steve's blog in the post below. Now you know the reason for the title of this post, as this Q really got me interested in the article.

As Randy in his 'Last Lecture' (it is in a book form now - refer 'Professor's Last Lecture' post on this blog), talked, "Enabling the dreams of others is even more fun and being a professor helped it". Feroz too enjoys the mentoring aspect of teaching. His mentoring has helped me re-discover myself. Like me, his guidance, I am sure has been helpful to many of his students too. His ex-students stay in touch with him, looking for his guidance while taking on a new assignment.

Leading teams also provides us this oppurtunity to help people 'Find their Voice', as we work closely with people, providing them feedback to help them know their strengths.

The 4 Steps to Finding Your Voice
One word expresses the pathway to greatness: voice. Those on this path find their voice and inspire others to find theirs. The rest never do.

Key Message
The power to discover your voice lies in the potential that was bequeathed you at birth. Latent and undeveloped, the seeds of greatness were planted. You were given magnificent “birth-gifts”-talents, capacities, privileges, intelligences, opportunities-that would remain largely unopened except through your own decision and effort. Open these gifts. Learn what taps your talents and fuels your passion-that rises out of a great need in the world that you feel drawn by conscience to meet-therein lies your voice, your calling, your soul’s code.

Q: How do you define “voice”?
A: Voice is the overlapping of the four parts of our nature: our body, our mind, our heart, and our spirit. These also represent the four intelligences: our IQ for the mind, our EQ for the heart, our SQ for the spirit, and our PQ for the body.

To help you find this, answer these 4 question.
What are you good at? That’s your mind.
What do you love doing? That’s your heart.
What need can you serve? That’s the body.
And finally, what is life asking of you? What gives your life meaning and purpose? What do you feel like you should be doing? In short, what is your conscience directing you to do? That is your spirit.
People are internally motivated by their own four needs: to live, to love, to learn, to leave a legacy. When they overlap, you have voice-your calling, your soul’s code.

Q: Is finding your voice an evolving process, or can it happen all at once like a light bulb going on in your head?
A: I think that it can happen all at once, but more so, I think it is an evolving process. As people grow up, they are exposed to different fields of knowledge and different experiences. They don’t yet know what they’re good at or even what they will like doing. Once they have this exposure and education and they start getting involved, they start to find satisfaction, and that leads to success as it begins to give them a sense of their voice or what they really love doing that they do well. For some people, it does comes like a flash of light, but it is usually preceded by someone who really deeply believes in them-sees their strengths and affirms them when they don’t see their own potential themselves. This creates an opportunity for that voice to be developed and expressed. This happened with me.

Q: Is the process of finding your voice the same for an individual as it is for an organization that is trying to find its voice?
A: That’s a very interesting question and I think in a very real sense, it is the same. But because an organization is made up of many different individuals who have different voices and a different sense of what gives them meaning and their life purpose, it takes communication processes where people are genuine and authentic with each other in expressing what they really care about. However, people gradually get a sense of what the organization stands for, what it loves doing and does well, and what it feels like it should be doing. So, there is kind of a collective form of the four intelligences that overlaps and develops in an evolutionary way.

Q: How can we help someone find his or her voice?
A: I think if you care about people genuinely, you listen to them and observe them; because this is more than just hearing them speak, it is observing them-observing where their excitement is, where their enthusiasm is; observing where you sense they have potential. Sometimes it is very powerful just to say to them in sincerity, “I believe you have great potential in this area. I see real strengths in you that you may not see in yourself, and I would like to create an opportunity for you to use those strengths and to develop this potential. Would you be interested in that?” Most people are so flattered by someone who sincerely cares for them and affirms their work and potential that they are moved and inspired by that kind of input. It’s very powerful and it can make all of the difference, particularly with people who grow up with a confused lifestyle, bad modeling, and basic education. Often they have no clue as to what life is about or what they are about until someone becomes a teacher to them-a mentor, a confirmer, and a coach. This kind of mentoring is becoming increasingly important in education, in relationships, and in work environments. It can make all of the difference as to whether a person takes a higher road to his or her own voice or a lower road to where he or she is swallowed up by the priorities and voices of others.


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