I recently heard about a philosophy Oprah has shared with her readers over the years about whispers and what it takes for the Universe to get your attention.
If you know anything about 12 step programs, you may have heard that you have to hit “rock bottom” before you can take even one step on the road to recovery. Oprah turns this whole idea on its head. Instead of waiting until the whole house falls around you, maybe you can get it when it’s just a brick wall coming down. Or better yet, just one brick. Maybe even just a pebble will hit you, or you will actually see the storm before anything hits you at all. However, the best way to get it, says Oprah, is to get it in “the whisper”. Here is what she said about this in an interview for the Academy of Achievement:
“So now my goal in life is not to have to hit the eye of the storm, but to catch it in the whisper. To get it the first time. ….. the one thing that has allowed me to certainly achieve both material success and spiritual success, is the ability to listen to my instinct. I call it my inner voice. It doesn’t matter what you call it — nature, instinct, higher power. It’s the ability to understand the difference between what your heart is saying and what your head is saying. I now always go with the heart.” 1
Where do I find the whisper?
Oprah goes with her heart. Most of the time we are told to use our head”Use your head”! The “still, small voice”, angel on your shoulder, your conscience, whatever it is that guides your feelings. You have a hunch, an idea, a moment of inspiration….whispers, all.
Think about what made you decide to pursue your current dreams and goals. Where did that move come from? Did you get it in the whisper? Or did it take your house falling down?
Keep up the pace as you move through your short term goals, making sure you stay “in tune” with your whisper. It is okay to be different, as long as it makes you feel right, and you will know, if you listen, if it is right for you.
Keep a “whisper” journal
Too many thoughts can cloud our task at hand. One way to keep your whispers from becoming a schizophrenic mess is to keep a journal. I have one I keep just for that. An idea pops into my head which I want to follow up on, I get it down in the journal so that I can come back to it later. Your journal can consist of lists, one word entries, notes to visit a site, phone numbers, names, whatever it takes to jog your memory later when you can get to it. Your whisper is yours and yours alone. Do not look at it as something you intend to publish later, thereby adding unnecessary baggage to the issue. Use whatever is comfortable for you…your Day-Timer, Blackberry, or yellow pad…same difference. You get the whisper, you get it down. Then act on it before it becomes a storm => pebble =>brick => wall => etc.
Confide in your Team
Here is a profound way to build trust and bond with your team. Let them in on your whispers! (Well, maybe not every single whisper….but the ones that can help them personally, or would pertain to the common goals you share). Your team is probably on your mind a large percentage of the time, so it is highly likely you will get whispers which relate to them specifically. Do not be afraid to share these with them. Let them know you think about them. If your whisper is a concern, let them know. If it is a curiosity, wonder with them. They will appreciate your thinking of them and exposing your personal vulnerability. Remember, as a leader, your goal is not to direct, but encourage them to emulate you, as their own best self emerges, and to take your leadership in as a way to help them find that best self.
Find motivation in the whisper
Maybe the reason we ignore these little messages so often is because it doesn’t exactly knock us upside the head. No big deal, just a little whisper. Not even audible. Who cares, right? Would you rather come in with a Bang than a Whimper? The Whisper (Whimper) always comes first. You do care, and your inner voice need not ever be louder than can be heard between your own ears. It is your higher power/ higher self/ God who guides your actions. Get excited about little things, and small accomplishments for you and for your team. Set easy and short-term goals to support your big dreams. Let your team share these little dreams and work together in achieving them. Who can bring 3 new ideas to our next meeting? Do you have an object that motivates you? Post a picture of it on our team board…..etc.
Your inner voice speaks and you are ready to focus on it. Now is the time for you to let the universe take your message out there. Project your whisper into the hearts and minds of those for whom it is intended. Allow the voice to speak through you, and develop the leader in you. Your whisper becomes part of your identity, and who you are is a project of your whisper.
1. Academy of Achievement, Oprah Winfrey Interview (page 4/8)”America’s Beloved Best Friend” retrieved June 12, 2007 from http://www.achievement.org/autodoc/page/win0int-4
Copyright (c) 2007 Karen Kay