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By Katherine Kiang
KaTsZoNe Newsletters > KatsZoNe - Issue 89 - Voices

1 Jun 2012

Hi everyone,

It's been an unusual past month.  As you recall, my mom fell at the end of April.  I felt a bit helpless in the beginning.  I spoke to health care professionals, family members, and friends about my mom's condition, but, there were so many "voices" around me, it became confusing as I sifted through information and advice.  I could not let my mom get worse but at times, it was overwhelming.  I felt helpless when mom did not seem to get better, at first.  Thankfully, she is feeling better now.

Just the other day, I opened my dusty journal filled with my personal thoughts that I do not share anywhere else.  The last time I wrote in it was about 11 months ago, which shows that I have not "voiced" anything personal for that long.  I can assure you, I have ranted a lot during the past 11 months, but, I cannot say it has always been helpful.  The one thing my journal has offered me in the past was thoughtful reflection.  Oftentimes, it helped me work through problems and make decisions about life.  The fact that my journal did not have my "voice" in it for 11 months made me a bit concerned, so, I started to write.  I have not resolved all of my problems nor stop worldwide wars and hunger issues, but, it made me feel better that my personal "voice" started to come out again.  I had a quiet, cathartic moment which led to my writing about it now, on KaTsZoNe.

One of the activities I have been occupied with this past month is Twitter, a social media network that has really taken off!  Recently, I created a new Twitter account with the username "Goldkk88".  I have tried to focus on connecting with mining companies, mining/business/investment news, oil and gas, alternative energy, and world news.  I have also connected with NASA and SpaceX which led me to my fascination and excitement with the first privately funded space journey of the space capsule named Dragon.  I can only imagine the thoughts and feelings some of the people who saw the first landing on the moon could have been.  I did not see that first landing on the moon, but, I do remember the first launch of the space shuttle, Columbia!  I honestly did not think I would be so excited to follow Dragon, but, I was thrilled by the hour by hour, minute by minute reports from SpaceX and NASA!  It caused me to respect and admire entrepreneur Elon Musk, even more, and oh yes, I am also following Elon Musk on Twitter (surprise, surprise)!  If you have not heard of Elon Musk, read this article where the author  compares him to Steve Jobs -- surely, you know who Steve Jobs was (http://articles.businessinsider.com/2011-08-08/tech/30054676_1_tesla-ceo-elon-musk-tesla-stock)!  In the coming decade(s), I believe you will hear more about Elon Musk and his ventures from private space travel ("SpaceX) to solar energy (Solar City) to electric cars (Tesla Motors).  As an investor, I am keeping my eye on Elon Musk and entrepreneurs like him who will make huge contributions to our world.  It will be exciting to see!

While on Twitter, I also came across this article, "How to Speak More Strategically", by Peter Bregman, in the Harvard Business Review Blog at http://blogs.hbr.org/bregman/2012/05/how-to-speak-more-strategicall.html.  I could identify with the same mistakes mentioned by the author.  Although I would like to think that I have used my voice to help myself, help others, and to connect with others in a positive way, I know that oftentimes, I wanted to feel proud and make others see how superior I am - perhaps, more knowledgeable, more intelligent than others.  Isn't that what some of us try to do, to impress our colleagues, our family, and our friends?  We may not consciously think that we are trying to impress, but, frankly, we are doing just that.  Rather than trying to listen more and understand what others are saying, we want to feel like we already know it all and give ourselves a pat on the back.   

What happens when you lose your voice, like Peter Bregman?  I recall a few times in my life when I became sick and literally lost my voice, just like Peter Bregman.  I had to find other ways to effectively communicate or be very careful of the words I wanted to communicate.  The worse time to lose your voice is when you have to do a presentation or teach - it happened to me more than once!  Anyway, just when I really needed to have a voice (so I believed), I started to think about what was most important to me to express.  What became important to me was not simply to impress people with my actual voice, especially since my voice sounded like a bear -- definitely NOT impressive!  The actual messages I tried to convey became more important -- the tone of the "voice" which is really the message, became more important than my actual voice.  Some people told me that I had a great voice - meaning the sound of my voice was great.  I call it a nice "phone voice" or "radio voice".  It was quite tempting to seek out training for radio work....well, maybe in another life.

Based on Peter Bregman's article and my own experience, I would like to share the following thoughts and words of advice - just my two cents:

1.  You don't have to always "win" someone over to your point of view or "win" an argument. 

2.  You have a voice; I have a voice.  Don't be afraid to contribute your voice in different and creative ways. 

3.  Speaking your point can make you feel better in the short-term, but, it does not necessarily benefit in a long term relationship with others.
Remember this when you find yourself involved in gossipping, joking at someone else's expense, and when offering unsolicited opinion.

Have I perfected points 1 to 3?  Absolutely not!  These are points I have thought about for several months and since I came upon Peter Bregman's article, it is more food for thought.  I feel that he's more articulate than me on this subject and reinforced the message I wanted to share.

As we enter into the summer months, I hope all of you will experience plenty of happy voices with family and friends!  One of the most fun and rewarding times in life is to spend quality, fun times with your loved ones.  Take the opportunity to share good thoughts, good feelings, good times because time is precious.  And, if I can offer more advice, eat some ice cream!  Whatever dilemmas you may have in life, even sugar free, lactose free ice cream (even for those of us who are diabetic and lactose intolerant) is not a bad idea!  By the way, Chapman's makes the sugar-free, lactose free ice cream and I have Vanilla flavour in my fridge right now!




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