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Falling on Deaf Ears: When Others Don’t Honor Your Voice

Falling on Deaf Ears: When Others Don’t Honor Your Voice

I recently had an experience where I tried to explain a business situation to someone who absolutely refused to hear what I had to say. This person, in fact, interrupted me and walked away leaving me feeling resentful, disrespected, and not wanting to engage with her ever again.

Honoring your voice doesn’t mean you will always be heard. Sometimes, your message cannot be received by the person you are communicating with because it is not something that can be accepted. Sometimes your message is out of the realm of their preferred reality. When this person walked away from me, I not only was insulted, I was also triggered with the emotional memories of people in my past who refused to accept the expanded version of myself and literally withdrew their love and attention from me when I dared to speak up or contradict their version of reality.

But what can you do when someone refuses to hear you?

For years, I wasted precious energy trying to convince people in my life to hear me out. Many times I was ultimately silenced, feeling exhausted and resentful. It validated my victim mentality that is so common with co-dependency.

Eventually, I realized that speaking my truth is my part but being heard is out of my control. That’s when I stopped wasting my breath on people who just couldn’t handle my truth.

In my personal journey, I have outgrown many people. But I have found that by remaining true to myself, I have attracted new people who are on a similar path. They are open and supportive and always willing to lend an ear. It is true that your vibe attracts your tribe.

 If someone has shown you that they are consistently unwilling to listen, they have shown you who they are in relation to your authenticity. If it is not a match, you might question if this person should remain in your life. But do not question your resolve to speak your truth! By doing so, your voice will find it’s way to those who eagerly want to hear what you have to say. And while they may not always agree with you, they will always appreciate you for honoring your voice!

Harmony or Discord: Why the World Needs Your Voice

Harmony or Discord: Why the World Needs Your Voice

Have you ever paused and wondered how so many things just work so naturally? I am amazed at the synchrony of nature. The solar system, my body, right down to the atoms that make up, well, everything, is balanced. Infinite features of our phenomenal world move in harmony resulting in the beautiful symphony we call Life.

The universe is made of frequencies and frequency translated is sound. So where does your voice fit into this equation? The world needs your unique frequency, your sound, your true voice so that it can be in harmony and expand. When you are not in your authenticity, you are creating a frequency that is in discord. Thus you are contracted, feeling small and insignificant. And you are dissonant, feeling misunderstood like you don’t fit in. This, in turn, contributes to the chaos you see in the greater world. You see this around you because it is vibrating within you. When you decide to be true to yourself, your voice will begin to vibrate at a frequency that naturally contributes to the harmony and well being of all. By speaking your truth, you will begin to resonate with other like-minded voices that together create more harmony and beauty in the world.

This is how important honoring your voice is! Each one of us is a part of the larger choir of life and each one is responsible for singing our part; our own unique tune so that we can create a life that resonates with the well being of all of life.

Are you using your true voice? Life will continuously invite you to tune yourself to your true frequency by the way you feel. Does your life feel discordant or harmonic? Are you in peace or strife? When you align yourself with your inner truth, your voice will reflect this. You will begin to live in harmony instead of discord.

Are you in tune with your true self? Does your voice reflect the depth of your soul or are you using a voice that will ensure you don’t get noticed? If so, the world is missing a melodic piece, YOU! Find the beat that is your own drum and share it with the world. Dare to be heard! Sing your part in humanity’s choir by honoring your voice.

 

Kristina Kelly is a holistic speech therapist and voice coach in Asheville, NC who helps her clients achieve personal and professional fulfillment through the use of authentic voice.

 

An Offer I Couldn’t Refuse

An Offer I Couldn’t Refuse

Recently, I was sitting in traffic listening to an interview on talk radio with an author who was promoting his book on politics. I was ready to change the station when the interviewer mentioned the author’s past career as a movie critic and asked about his favorite movie. The author’s voice changed and with absolute certainty, he replied “The Godfather”. He then went on to animately explain why and mentioned all the movie’s nuances of directing, lighting, musical score and of course the stellar acting. He had such passion and conviction in his voice, I was captivated! That weekend, I began a marathon of binge-watching The Godfather Trilogy. I did not, however, buy his book.

Which voice sells? When the author’s agenda of selling was interrupted and he stopped promoting his book, he relaxed and began talking about something he clearly had a passion for. He unconsciously changed his voice. It became natural and flowing. He loved everything about this film and it showed. No more agenda of promoting, just talking about something he loved. It was irresistible!

When you speak from a place of authenticity you light up and attract with little effort. The best sales pitch is really no pitch at all. It’s being so genuinely passionate and interested in a product or service that your voice and speech reflect this without the need for rehearsal and with little thought. So many in sales have been trained in a myriad of marketing and psychological strategies thinking “I can make a good living selling this even though I am not passionate about it.” To that I say, your voice gives you away and eventually, you will burn out. Stop the agenda of selling something which always has a little bit of angst. Make a genuine connection with your potential customers by talking about what makes YOU genuinely excited about the product or service. Then, to borrow a quote from Vito Corleone of The Godfather, you naturally “Make them an offer they can’t refuse”.

Are You Ready?

Are You Ready?

It’s the last month of the year. A time, among the many celebrations, that we often begin to take stock of what we accomplished over the course of the year and compare that with the intentions we set around this time last year.  But what if we considered a different intention? One that has its foundation in “Being” instead of “doing”.  Looked at in this way, the question changes from  ‘What did I accomplish?” to “Am I the person I desire to be?”.

Recently, a  young client, a popular local vocalist, was referred to me by her physician with the diagnosis of small vocal nodules. Vocal nodules are common among singers and after reviewing her heavy performance schedule it was no surprise that she developed them. The physician advised vocal rest and recommended therapy to learn vocal hygiene and ways to use her voice that would prevent recurrence. The diagnosis, though relatively benign and typically easily resolved, triggered deep anxiety for this talented young woman. Not uncommon when working in the realm of voice. This is because your voice is deeply connected to your self-perception, and in my client’s case, her livelihood and passion. She developed an extreme fear of using her voice and returning to the stage after an embarrassing incident that occurred while attempting to perform with acute nodules. This was the catalyst for seeking help.

Initially, she seemed extremely relieved when I explained that her prognosis was excellent and that with self-care and a few minor adjustments in the way she produced her voice she could quickly return to the stage and look forward to a long singing career. But that’s where the story took a turn. When I suggested ways in which she could sing as powerfully and authentically but with less strain, she became quite defensive. She was a self-taught singer with a beautiful voice and seemed to hear my instructions as criticisms instead of helpful. I believe it triggered a deeply held belief of unworthiness and no amount of my empathy, encouragement nor explanation could bridge that belief with the help that was being offered at the time. Eventually, she looked at me upset and bewildered and said: “I don’t like this and I don’t know why” and then politely said “goodbye” and left the session. She was not quite ready to address all the related emotional issues that were unexpectedly coming up for her as a result of this easily treatable physical diagnosis.

I tell this story because when you are addressing issues with your voice, it is often the tip of an emotional iceberg. One that touches upon unresolved grief, anxiety and deeply held negative beliefs that you may have been avoiding for years.  Often, changes in your voice are a warning signal and a calling for self-care. It’s a gift, really. An invitation to bring light and healing to past pain. It offers the possibility of personal freedom. But it takes great courage and a readiness and willingness to accept the invitation.

While this particular client was not quite ready, I have no doubt she will eventually accept the invitation to heal and resume her successful career. I have served many clients who have experienced personal transformation by deciding to let go of false beliefs and own their true voice. It’s a beautiful journey. One that I am always humbled to be a part of.

So as this year draws to an end, ask yourself: Am I the person I desire to be? Is my voice representing my true self?  If not, it could be inviting you to let go of all that is holding you back and to step into your personal power and freedom by honoring your voice! Are you ready?

Returning to Breath

I have been practicing yoga for about 15 years now. I was first introduced to yoga 20 years ago by my then sister-in-law. I remember feeling annoyed at the repetitive instruction of breathing, thinking “How redundant…just tell me how to do a pose. I know how to breathe.” I went on to other instructors who also kept telling me to breathe and my agitation continued.

It wasn’t until years into my practice that I understood the magic of breath. This was helped along by beginning a meditation practice where I once again was told to focus on my breath. “Again with the breathing.” I thought. Even though I had been teaching breath techniques to my voice clients for years under the lens of physiology, it was my own work with breath that led me to understand its gift.

You see we breathe in the absence of thought. Some say “we are breathed.”  Breath just happens. When I am focusing on my breath there is no need for thought because breathing does not require thinking. I was resisting this for many years because my thinking mind did not know what to do if it was not, well… thinking. It suffered a mini demise every time I observed my breath. And so my mind argued and complained to keep its puffed-up feeling of importance and in doing so it kept me from discovering my true nature …that of profound peace.

For years my clients had reported to me how working with their breath was helping them in all areas of their life, not just improving the sound of their voice.  It was through my own practices that I discovered how mindful breathing improved my focus, endurance, and reduced anxiety. But the ultimate gift is the quieting of my mind out of which a distinctly different inner voice arises. An inspired voice that brings forth a wisdom that can only be born out of silence. My true voice.

Ironically, it is when I am in this state I often have little or no desire to speak but if speech arises it is very different from my daily small talk. It is compassionate yet direct and spoken with an assurance that is absent the anxiousness that comes from thought. It is the result of me reconnecting to my true self and it starts with my breath.

I have moved several times during the last decade and in each new location I set out to find a new yoga home. Now I know If I try a class whose instructor does not emphasize breathing it’s not for me. Yes, IT IS as simple as observing your breath and that simplicity spells doom for your habitual thinking mind. And gives birth to your inner peace and joy that allows you to hear and honor your authentic voice.

 

Kristina Kelly is a speech therapist in Asheville, NC who specializes in voice therapy and voice coaching

I Didn’t Say That…

I confess. I do not have a “poker face”. My friends often describe me as “wearing my heart on my sleeve.” The younger generation, namely my daughter, affectionately refers to a certain look as my “bitch face”. If you see me wearing such a face, no matter what words are coming out of my mouth, your attention will be drawn to “the darts shooting out of my eyes” and you may begin to tremble.

Just look at all the colloquialisms in the previous paragraph that describe how much body language and facial expressions communicate. Expressions like “poker face” “wearing my heart on my sleeve” and yes even “resting bitch face” are all phrases that point to where most communication occurs and it has very little to do with words.

Communication is like a dance and like dancers, our posture and physical movements convey our meaning. If I am trying to drum up enthusiasm for a topic that I personally find boring, you may detect this in my slumped posture, blank stare, and neutral facial expressions. Picking up on this, you will lose interest in my topic quickly. But if I am passionate about my topic, I will become animated, smile, use gestures to emphasize points naturally and I will look at you with sincerity. Now you are interested because my body language has invited you to dance to the music of my topic.

Accomplished actors who can afford to be choosy with their roles know this. It is much easier to have a stellar performance portraying a character of interest than it is to act merely for a paycheck. The latter usually results in poor acting jeopardizing future roles.

Honoring Your Voice is about coming into the full expression of your authentic self. This makes “faking it” increasingly difficult if not impossible. I find that I have stopped saying what is expected or what others want to hear because my non-verbal cues will give me away. In doing so, I have learned to discern if it is best to say nothing or to speak truthfully about the way I feel. It’s risky because I know that what I have to say often is not what my listener wants to hear. But sometimes it has to be said and in those moments my words and body language will be aligned and this is powerful! My sincerity will not be called into question.

Dr. Albert Mehrabian, the author of Silent Messages, conducted several studies on nonverbal communication. He found that 7% of any message is conveyed through words, 38% through certain vocal elements, and 55% through nonverbal elements (facial expressions, gestures, posture, etc).  I have spoken about addressing vocal elements in previous posts but even with appropriate vocal elements, your message will miss the mark if you are not aware that your face and body are saying something different from the words that are coming out of your mouth. Often my clients have enthusiasm about a certain topic but lack the self-confidence to convey this by empowering their message with these non-verbal elements. They benefit from a few communicative dancing lessons.

I often work with my clients in front of a mirror so they can check in with their posture and facial expressions as they speak. I also video record them so they can become aware of their expressions and posture to see if these match their communicative intention. If not, they can make physical adjustments until the verbal and non-verbal aspects of their message are aligned. After this, the intent of the message will be loud and clear and without shouting.

Are you often surprised that you are misinterpreted or misunderstood when you speak? If so, your words may not be coinciding with your facial expressions and body language. They may be revealing that you are not honoring your voice.

Kristina Kelly is a speech therapist in Asheville, NC who specializes in voice therapy and voice coaching.

Whose Voice Is This? Voice and Identity

Recently one of my clients, a singer who came to me with vocal nodules, was making breakthroughs with her voice. She was discovering how allowing her natural voice to arise created a beautiful yet unfamiliar sound that was so abundantly powerful it caught her by surprise. Instead of forcing her voice with tension, she began relaxing and through the use of breath, she released her voice. This created an ease in which volume, pitch, and resonance were effortlessly synchronized resulting in such an amazingly beautiful sound she asked: “Whose voice is this?

Your voice is a combination of genetics and beliefs you have formed through experience. If you have developed a belief that you are small and limited you may suppress your voice by remaining silent or speaking quietly. Or you may demand to be heard and force your voice becoming loud and boisterous. In my client’s case, she felt the only way to be “heard” was by speaking loudly which she did by overly tensing resulting in vocal nodules, a condition that threatened her livelihood. To be sure, as a rock singer in a band she was often speaking in loud environments and mistakenly believed that the “edginess’ of her genre required extreme effort. The problem being she never adjusted her voice to match her changing speaking environment. When in a quiet one on one environment, she appeared to be yelling at her communication partner.

Through voice therapy, my client discovered her authentic voice had so much more depth and range than her habitual, contrived voice she admittedly found  “it” somewhat frightening. The discovery that she could effortlessly produce this beautifully flexible voice that was so naturally attractive she did not have to be demanding caused her to question her identity.

Are you ready to reveal your true power? There is a readiness factor in honoring your voice. In my client’s case, this was prompted by a medical condition which turned out to be the proverbial blessing in disguise. Your voice is tied deeply to your identity.  Uncovering your authentic voice helps reveal who you really are. And the opposite is equally true: the journey of self-discovery leads you to uncover your authentic voice.

Can you accept the limitless depth and range of your true self and allow that to be naturally expressed through your voice?  Oh, It will change things guaranteed but aren’t you tired of playing small? I know it’s hard to believe but it requires much more effort to play small.  Why waste your precious energy when you can create a more expansive and easier life by honoring your voice?

Kristina Kelly is a speech therapist in Asheville, NC who specializes in voice therapy and voice coaching.

The Art of Communication: Embracing Your Individual Style

 

Throughout my career, particularly in my early training, I have been immersed in the scientific nature of communication. I took a communication science course, learned the physics and physiology of sound/voice, and behavioral analysis taught me that just like Pavlov’s dog, human behavior can be shaped by positive and negative reinforcers like delicious treats or electric shock. Even my professional title, “Speech Language Pathologist”, sounded quite scientific and indeed I wore a lab coat at my first job after college. I was young and it made me feel “official”.  I was also clueless that it might have felt intimidating to my clients. It was sterile and to add to that I carried a clipboard so I could record lots of data! This approach dissuaded intimacy, the primary reason we communicate.

Over the years, I drifted away from this strictly clinical approach as I became increasingly aware that the way we communicate is a unique expression of our individual perceptions. Perceptions created by our innate tendencies and shaped by life experiences. People bring with them a variety of individual realities resulting in an infinite array of communication styles and each one is valid. I began to see immense beauty in the individual forms of communication. I fell in love with the art of communication and this began to shift my practice.

My work with clients on the autism spectrum showed me that the way we communicate is tied deeply to the way we perceive the world. The reason why many autistic communication attempts seem odd is that those on the spectrum are often living in very different, frankly, fascinating realities that make finding common experiential ground with others difficult. This interferes with their ability to engage in meaningful communication with the conditioned “typical” world. Their communication attempts are a reflection of their unique perception and when not understood nor responded to by well-meaning caregivers, frustration sets in, usually followed by adverse behaviors that further impede communication.

When working with voice impaired clients, I often discover a personal perception that life is inherently dangerous and that expressing your true self may make you stand out and puts you at risk to be punished. This is usually the result of some early form of trauma. The belief  “I will be safe as long as I’m not noticed” underlies many communication disorders. In getting to know my clients, I uncover hidden treasures of artists, performers, and outside the box thinkers whose gifts were not valued by significant others but are exactly what this world needs!

My therapeutic approach focuses on discovering and honoring your unique perception of the world. This is like a joint adventure. Once I know where you are “coming from”, we can relate with the “language” associated with your point of view. From this place of mutual understanding, we can play with communication like artists, exploring ways to relate to the “typical” world that incorporate your individual style and do not sacrifice your personal integrity.

The way you communicate is as unique as you are. How can you express yourself authentically in a way that connects you to other people with differing personal realities yet honors your unique perspective?

By looking at communication as an art form, you become less rigid and abandon the idea that there is a “standard” form of effective communication  You can relax in your individual style and express yourself with integrity. Not everyone will speak “your language” so you must be willing to let those who do not validate your authenticity fall away. Trust me, when you embrace your uniqueness and the artful way you communicate, you will attract your “tribe”. People who share your worldview and speak “your language”.

This is not to say that you don’t adjust your communication style to fit a particular audience. Communication, like art, is very flexible and you can learn how to alter your style so that your message is more easily received. We see politicians and salespeople do this all the time. And while the world may be a stage and we are all actors, you don’t want to spend too much time outside of your true element. Continuously adjusting your communication style to meet other people’s expectations puts you at risk of losing your most valuable work of art, yourself.

Your personal perspective is valid and the way you communicate from this perspective is valuable. You are a work of art, unique and beautiful. Express yourself authentically from your unique perspective and marvel at the people who show up to join you. Add beauty to the world that only you can offer and inspire others by honoring your voice!

Kristina Kelly is a speech therapist in Asheville, NC who specializes in voice therapy and voice coaching.

Speechless: How the Stress Response Keeps You Silent

Speechless: How the Stress Response Keeps You Silent

Most of us have had the common nightmare where you are being chased by something horrifying and malevolent. You feel in imminent danger but when you open your mouth to scream, your voice does not come out!  You feel doomed because the danger is closing in and your one hope for rescue: your voice, has left you. This is typically when you wake up in sheer terror gasping for air, relieved to find you were only dreaming. While this common nightmare has many metaphorical interpretations, the part that can be frighteningly real is how extreme anxiety and panic can literally rob you of your voice.  

Another “lighter” example of this is often portrayed in teenage angst movies. Here we see the young male character has finally worked up the nerve to speak to the girl of his dreams, only to open his mouth and squeak like a mouse. He stutters over the words he rehearsed a thousand times in front of the mirror. Alas, he is overcome with embarrassment and walks away humiliated.

The anxiety produced over real or perceived events (the brain does not know the difference) is detrimental to the communication process. This is because the speech process, beginning with your voice, involves the same process that is essential for your survival. Your voice depends on your respiratory system. If, as the saying goes, something has “taken your breath away” you probably won’t be able to talk about it at that moment. Breathless = Speechless.

When you are triggered into fight or flight aka the stress response, your breathing becomes rapid and shallow. In the absence of adequate breath, you will resort to using muscle tension to turn your voice on resulting in squeaking, croaking, or other embarrassing noises you did not know you could make. Upon hearing these strange noises, you become more anxious. Now you have forgotten what you were going to say but the silence is awkward so you try to say anything and you end up saying something that makes no sense and on top of that you stutter.

Your body has become pumped with survival hormones that are good for helping you run away from the boogie man or lift impossibly heavy things to save a life but are not so good for your longing to authentically communicate your desires or tell someone you care about how you are feeling. This often results in the use of that fallback phrase “What I’m trying to say is…” But if you are communicating authentically from your true self, no effort is needed. Your message will flow from you with confidence and ease.

People who suffer from anxiety disorders (who doesn’t these days) such as generalized anxiety, phobias and/or panic attacks often have the stress response to everyday life occurrences such as being in a crowded restaurant or walking in late for class. Simple communication tasks like giving the waitress your order or explaining to the teacher why you are late become monumental and are set-ups for potential embarrassment. This is more common than you think and is the reason why public speaking consistently makes the top 10 human fear list. The sad repercussion of all this is a vicious cycle where the stress response accompanies most communication attempts. This, unfortunately, then leads to increased social withdrawal. Because of this, you can begin to feel less connected and increasingly isolated. Anxiety now introduces you to its cousin, depression. Depression falsely tells you that this is the way life is and it’s not going to change.

When I work with clients who are caught up in this vicious communication anxiety-depression cycle, just identifying what is happening often gives them a sense of relief. As always, the solution comes down to basics, and in the case of communicating, as it is with life, that basic is breath. I teach my clients how to use breath to effortlessly communicate with intention. It is with breath that you release the voice that is your unique sound fingerprint, the musical signature of your true self. Through deep breath awareness and practice, you reduce anxiety because when you are breathing slowly and deeply your body gets the message that “everything is ok” and it does not initiate the stress response. From this natural place of well being, my client can produce his/her authentic voice. Now communication can begin to flow fluidly instead of being forced and sounding choppy.  As my clients gain more positive experiences with fluid communication, they begin to build confidence in their ability to express themselves authentically. I can honestly say that nothing gives me more joy than watching my clients experience this transformative process!

Does the stress response interfere with the way you express yourself? Are you frustrated and depressed because you are not showing up in all of your glory? Would you like to experience communicating your true essence with ease and confidence? I would love to help you! Contact me and let’s get started. The world is waiting for you to honor your voice!

Empowering Yourself Through Voice

Empowering Yourself Through Voice

One day when my now adult son was in kindergarten, I was waiting at his bus stop for his school bus to arrive. We lived in a pretty rural area and I had to walk up the road to an intersection that was central to most of the neighboring children’s homes. On this particular day, the school bus arrived as usual, the doors opened and my son emerged excited to see me. As he began to rush off the bus and cross the street to give me a big hug, I heard a motorcycle rounding the corner at a high rate of speed. It was clear the driver was unaware of the stopped school bus because the corner temporarily blinded him. Realizing that my son and the motorcycle were on a collision course, I  had to make a decision; put myself in the path of the motorcycle and possibly leave my son motherless or yell! I chose the latter and yelled at my son to STOP! 

Now I know that does not sound all that remarkable except that the voice I summoned in that moment had all of the power and the urgency that the life threatening situation commanded and my son who had never heard this voice before froze in his tracks, stunned! He didn’t step a foot off that bus. The motorcyclist slammed on his brakes and skidded perilously close to where my son would have been. I am happy to say that all were safe albeit rattled and after that incident the town changed the location of the stop to a much safer area. I tell this story because that voicemy voice, prevented a possible tragedy. Changing my voice changed the situation!

 Your voice is the current that your words ride on. More than words, your voice conveys your belief in your message and more importantly your belief about yourself! Voice reveals your mood and emotional state. If  your voice doesn’t match the emotional intent of your message then the message you want to deliver will be misinterpreted or dismissed. This can lead to frustration and feeling misunderstood. If you want to deliver an uplifting and encouraging message but your voice is barely audible and monotone, your message won’t be believed. My son responded to my voice not my words.

If you are identifying with a false sense of being powerless or a victim, your voice will reflect this. When you make a commitment to personal growth, aspects of your life naturally begin to change.  As your income grows, you might get rid of your old clunker of a car for a newer, reliable car that represents your new found sense of security and self worth.  Likewise, as you learn about yourself and develop confidence in your personal power, your voice may no longer represent who you have grown into. The way you use your voice is a habit and as the saying goes, old habits die hard. Once you are comfortable in your own skin you will want to uncover your unique vocal quality that allows you to naturally express your newfound love and acceptance of yourself so you can extend that to others through your authentic voice.

Your voice is a revealing instrument of self expression. It is amazingly flexible and and has the potential to be very impactful. It has the ability to soothe, inspire, encourage as well as irritate, anger or annoy. The reaction you want to elicit depends on your awareness of how your words are being delivered, the awareness of your voice. But how do you develop vocal awareness? 

When I am assessing my client’s vocal quality, the voice that is authentic is easily recognized because it is produced effortlessly. It swells with volume and can easily be sustained. This is where your voice wants to be most of the time. This is your true voice. From this place, a range of pitches and loudness levels are easily achieved. When you are speaking with your true voice, your words will literally begin ringing true and your listeners will start resonating with your message. You will gain attention without having to repeat yourself or manipulate the environment. You will convey meaning without having to explain. Your voice will empower your message!  

Once your authentic voice is uncovered, I provide a variety of feedback tools to help you develop vocal awareness so you can practice your voice until it has become integrated. You will also be given a variety of practice opportunities in a multitude of settings and scenarios until your authentic voice becomes natural, effortless and unshakable even under perceived stress.

If you are on a journey of self growth and feel your voice is not reflecting your unique confident self, consider voice therapy or vocal coaching. I can help you find and use the voice that reflects the powerful being that you are. Honor yourself by honoring your voice.