VoiceI was thinking today about a man I worked with years ago (Max*) and how he worried about what other people said and thought about him. What others thought was more important than what he thought.

Max surrounded himself with people who were happy to judge him and tell him what was best. Sometimes they even convinced him that he was worth less than he was. That wasn’t hard to do because Max didn’t think he was worth much. He barely give himself a chance to think about what he wanted or believed.

Strangely (to him) in the midst of all this advice and knowledgeable opining, Max was unhappy. He felt there was something more out there but instead of exploring the unknown he thought, ‘What would I know anyway? Other people know better than me.’ So he stayed where he was. He stayed in the same job, surrounded himself with the same types of people and did the same things he’d always done.

And yet inside Max a quiet voice whispered, ‘There is more for you than this. You are worth more than this. Take a chance, follow your heart’s desire wherever it takes you.’

When I last saw Max he was doing a great job of drowning out his inner voice because, if he listened to it, he would have to change. And the very thought of change and the courage it would take to believe in himself (instead of others) brought up a tidal wave of fear. How can one person suddenly decide to live a different life, one that will make them truly happy, and risk the judgement of others? What would people think of him?

The implications of such actions were diabolical to Max so he struggled on.

I have been like Max. I have resisted listening to my inner voice. And I know how hard it is to back yourself and risk the judgement of others. But over time I’ve come to realise that my inner voice knows best even if it flies in the face of other people’s opinions.

It can hurt when other people judge you or say you’re making the wrong choices.

But they are not you.

They cannot hear your inner voice urging you forward to a better place, a place where you are happier and can be the person you are truly meant to be.

I hope Max decided to listen to that voice whispering deep inside him and I hope you decide to listen to yours too.

*names changed.

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