I got this inspiration for this post while meditating on the following verse of scripture:
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” ~ John 10:27
I began to think that there there is a link between the shepherd’s voice and his sheep. When the sheep hear the voice of the shepherd, they listen and obey; but they’ll not obey the voice of a stranger!
At that point, a thought flashed through my mind…Your voice and your sheep.
Instantly, I recognized the relevance of that scripture verse to the concept of self discovery and personal success – the primary emphasis of this blog. It suddenly dawned on me that until you find your own voice and use it, your sheep will not respond to you.
Within the context of mission, roles, responsibilities, and personal success, each of us can be likened to a shepherd. In that sense, you have a voice, and you have your own sheep. Your sheep refers to your natural audience – the community of people on earth whose problems you were designed, suited, and wired to solve. Your sheep will only respond to your voice.
I’m convinced that personal success has a lot to do with attracting your sheep. Your sheep will respond to your voice, they will listen to what you have to say and appreciate your content. Your sheep is your natural constituency, so you really don’t have to struggle to convince and influence them with your product. They respond naturally and effortlessly to you, and to what you have to say and offer. If you want to achieve a fulfilling and enduring measure of personal success with minimal effort, you must have the capacity to attract your sheep.
This is possible only if you can find and use your voice.
To achieve a fulfilling and enduring measure of personal success, you must find your voice and use it, for then when you speak, your sheep will hear and respond to you.
You see, true success is attracted, not pursued. I do not think that success is a goal to be pursued; I think it’s the resultant effect of self discovery – of finding and using your own voice. There are things to be pursued, and there are things to be attracted. When you find and speak your own voice, you attract your own success.
You have a voice; everyone does.
Your voice represents the uniqueness of your content and style. It’s the embodiment of your passion, your talents, your gifts, and so on. It refers to your core beliefs, your convictions, and your personal message.
Everyone has a voice.
Unfortunately, though, in a world of many voices, it’s easy to become a mere echo of others.
When I first started blogging, for instance, I was fascinated by topics like ‘blogging’, ‘marketing’, ‘use of social media’, probably because of their popularity and their relevance to me as a writer. I even wrote a couple of articles on these, but they sounded so hollow and empty to me!
I knew then that wasn’t my voice, so I stopped using it.
When I started using my natural voice – the stuff I write on in this blog, challenges to self discovery, inspirational and empowering messages, motivations to personal success, and so on – my natural sheep began to respond! Today I have thousands of visits per month, blog interviews, radio talk-shows, and even a speaking invitation to an international conference, all from less than five months of blogging!
It’s so tempting to become mere echoes of other people’s voices. This is because those may appear so popular and more profitable that we allow them to drown out our own natural voices.
The problem is that when you speak a voice that is not yours you place yourself in something of a dilemma: on the one hand, your own natural sheep will find it difficult to respond because they question your integrity, on the other hand, the sheep whose shepherd’s voice you speak will perceive you as an impostor, since in reality you can only speak your own voice.
Due to the fact that every voice has it’s own sheep, when you try to be what you are not you’ll be attended by failure and frustration.
Your sheep will not respond to the voice of a stranger.
When I say, ‘find and use your voice,’ it’s another way of saying, discover yourself!
Do you really know yourself?
A common trap we fall into from time to time is the assumption that we know ourselves. It’s so easy to assume that familiarity with ‘me’ equals a specialized and expert knowledge of ‘me’.
This assumption is flawed and is a major cause of frustration and failure. This assumption is one reason people function from without rather than within themselves – and unwittingly become mere echoes of other people’s voices.
When we look at others, we feel like we don’t know them and we want to put in the necessary efforts to study and understand them. When it comes to ourselves, however, we adopt a different approach; we think that because it’s ‘me’, I know ‘me’.
In reality, only very few people have accurate and expert knowledge of themselves! These, interestingly also happen to be those individuals that achieve phenomenal personal success. This is because it’s to the extent that you know yourself, that you also enjoy personal success without stress.
First of all, discover yourself!
I’ve read several books that counsel preachers and ministers to determine and define their target audience before they venture into ‘pastorpreneurship’ – a modern terminology referring to church planting. According to these books, before starting your ministry, decide on the kind of people you want to reach, then develop the style and content that will satisfy that particular audience.
I’ve also come across similar counsel in other areas such as in blogging, public speaking, business, and so on. You are told to:
- Define who you want to reach.
- Understand what their needs are.
- Supply those needs.
The result, of course, is that most people look for the largest, most popular, and most ‘profitable’ market and begin to target them in their efforts. Naturally, this is often preceded by some form of self delusion – the thinking that ‘these are the people I should be reaching…so I’ll do anything to reach them.’
It all sounds cool, except for one basic problem – the fact that you might not be suited, designed, and wired for that particular market, audience, or ‘sheep’. You may be able to reach them; the more important issue, however, is whether or not they’ll listen and respond to you!
Think about it. You are unique. So the best you can be is the best YOU.
You have strengths and you have weaknesses.
You have attractive qualities, and you have repulsive qualities.
The qualities in you attract certain groups of people and repel others.
There are certain natural gifts and talents in you; these gifts and talents are relevant to certain groups of people with certain needs.
The right approach
When you ignore your basic design in your quest for personal success, the result is that you become disconnected from your inner core. This disconnection means that you’ll always be playing catch-up with those in the arena you’ve stupidly, or arrogantly positioned yourself in. Eventually you become a victim in the rat race of life.
The right approach is to find your voice and use it. When you do so, your sheep will begin to get drawn and attracted to you; they’ll respond to you in ways that will amaze you.
Begin with personal questions such as:
Who am I?
What do I really believe in?
What am I convinced of?
What do I really enjoy doing?
What am I very good at?
What provokes me to anger?
What stirs violent hatred in me?
What makes me cry?
These are what I call self discovery questions. They are questions designed to help you discover yourself.
It’s more important to me, for instance, to blog about what’s natural to me, what I’m passionate about, what I’m really convinced about, than to write on the latest and passing fad in the blogosphere!
When you understand your core – your content, message, passion, style, and personality – you will discover that certain people are drawn to these qualities in you.
These are your true sheep.
All you need is to then become a better and better version of yourself. Then you can only have an ever increasing circle of your natural sheep.
Don’t struggle to be what you are not, start from within.
Your sheep will naturally follow when you find your voice and use it.