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Monday, April 23, 2018

Trust your own voice

I’ve always considered myself a fairly confident person; extroverted, happy in my skin and comfortable in my social interactions with people. 

However, when it came to work I found myself in awe of the professionals that I worked with. I didn't think I measured up to them. As I listened to them speak with such talent and wisdom, I was often too intimidated to offer my opinion, afraid of sounding stupid. I was often so frozen in thinking about how to articulate my point that I was often beaten to the punch by another colleague. 

Working my way up through a traditionally male-dominated profession and industry, I often found myself as not only the only woman at the table but the youngest person at the table. In an industry, like so many others, built on experience and influence, why should anyone listen to a young woman? 

All I knew about IMPACT before I registered for the Core Program was the fact that Gavin De Becker, author of the Gift of Fear, had cited IMPACT as the best self defense program for women. In. The. World. I assumed I would learn some physical moves, but I was not expecting my voice to play such a vital role in the process. 

Using your voice to say what you think sounds simple, and perhaps for many people it is, but putting it into practice takes, well, practice. 

Through IMPACT, I learned how to say what I wanted, with power, with authority, and without fear of any repercussions. We practiced using our voices, repeated our words, louder when necessary. Learning just how loud I can shout was a surprisingly satisfying while also chilling discovery. Most importantly, I learned to trust the words that came into my head and practiced verbalizing them. Not just thinking the words. Saying them. 

Gradually I found myself more confident speaking at work, sharing my opinion, contributing to conversations with what instinctively came to mind. Moreover, I found that I had a new well of power within me - I knew where my voice could go if I needed to speak with more authority or to a larger group; I had practiced at IMPACT. 

IMPACT taught me to believe in myself, to trust my instinct and trust my voice. When you trust your voice, others do too. 
Victoria, 2013 IMPACT grad

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