Have the Courage to Sing

Paper Scraps & Gel pen on Mixed Media Paper – Words: Henry Van Dyke

We work hard to build our skills in order to be able to produce better work. We learn, grow and challenge ourselves in order to become better at what we do to inspire ourselves and others. That being said it can be humbling to let our voice be heard when every other creature seems to be better than us. It is at this moment that I remember these words from Henry Van Dyke, who graciously tells us that all voices add their value to the forest, whether they are the best or the worst or a novice. All voices bring joy to the woods.

Things are not made better by only hearing from the smart people, the experienced people, the people who know how to get things done. Thirty years experience may be another way of saying one year of experience done thirty times…which is not the same thing. To get things done I want to hear from the person who has the radical thought, the unconventional idea, or the comment that may blow everything up before we even get started.

Different doesn’t just mean demographics. Truly different people THINK differently, even if they all look the same. It is how we think that makes us special because when we do not think like anyone else we bring value, diversity and uniqueness to the project. Our ideas force everyone else – those who are smart enough to listen – to take another look at what they are planning and change it to make it better. Unfortunately after offering ideas, suggestions or changes to the blank face or empty wall the ideas and comments stop. They SAY they want suggestions and yet every one gets shot down, so they want to APPEAR open to progress and change when in reality they like things just the way they are. That’s okay, simply stop asking for new when what is there is fine.

The forest needs all voices, even those that are off key or on a different octave. It is the chorus of the unusual and different that makes the world go around. If we all sang the same and only sang if our voice was best then there would be a great deal of silence indeed. Today I encourage you to speak up and use the voice you have and not worry if it is right, or wrong, or good enough. It is your voice so use it! Say what you need to say, say it loud, say it strong, just say it! The room, the project, the team, the forest will be a better place because you had the courage to sing!

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