You Cannot Be an Original If You Don’t Find Your Voice First


Until we figure out who we are, we are always going to be an imitation of those whom we admire. While emulating our heroes and mentors is not necessarily a bad thing, it always falls short of the original. We must first find our voice in order for us to break away from merely being good at something to being great.

find your voice

I remember finding my voice as a writer. It was my second semester of graduate school and the long paper I turned in to my adviser was not the strung-together researched quotes with personal commentary woven in. For the first time in my English-writing career I had something to say in my own voice and the research quotes became a distance secondary focus. I noticed a difference in my writing and so did my teacher who wrote, “congratulations you’ve found your voice!” in bold red ink on the cover of the report.

The same process is true for singers, painters, doctors, designers, architects, managers, programmers and most professions. Greatness happens when you stop imitating your inspiration du jour and allow all your professional influences, life experiences, and individual talents to come together in your craft. When that happens, you’re no longer a copy, but an original.

Some discover their voices early in life, while others spend a lifetime imitating. Don’t get me wrong, a good imitation is not a bad thing, but it will never be a masterpiece.

Where are you in your journey in discovering your own voice?

  • Maurilio,nnThis is a great reminder for me today, a topic that is on the front burner at the moment… Thank you!!

  • Tami Heim

    Beautiful post Maurilio. Thanks friend.

  • Renee Rowell

    Maurilio,nnThank you so much for this beautiful post. There’s always safety in doing the things we already know work, like imitating those we admire. We see “it” works for them, so why not let “it” work for us? This may supply some success, but only on a temporary level, because doing someone else’s “it” makes us just like them, & our own uniqueness remains buried in the shadows. My life verse is Phil. 4:13, & I especially like the way the Amplified Bible says it: “I have strength for all things through Christ who empowers me. I am ready for anything & equal to anything through Him who infuses inner strength into me. I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency.” I believe the impetus within this scripture is to realize that there is a unique voice, or talent, within each of us, and we are the only ones who can pull it off, as it were, the way God designed it to be demonstrated through us. So then, it goes without saying that the more we engage our talent(s), the more the Father can shape our uniqueness, much like clay on a potter’s wheel, and before we know it, the voice He gave us becomes known for what it is, and the glory goes to Him. Hallelujah!nnI am very encouraged by this post and so grateful to you for sharing.nBlessings,nRenee Rowell

  • Dang it, Maurilio! Stop hitting all my hot buttons and let me get through at least one bowl of oatmeal.nnOn reflection, I believe this is at the very core of why I got of the music biz (well, that and the fact we lost our deal). I’d spent years growing up playing in cover bands, and when I got into my first “original’s” band, I was usually the backing vocalist, so I was mimicking and blending. When Diana and I did our first album, the producer had to give me vocalists to shoot for (try to sound little more like Don Henley here etc.) I’d spent so many years imitating I had no idea who I was.nnI might explore this theme in a future blog. But I promise to do it in my own voice. (My Brazilian accent is pretty sad)

  • Excellent thought. I loved what Ben Arment said on his blog that kind of goes in line with this… “You’ve got to “own” something. Generalists don’t get noticed. It feels like you’re limiting yourself. But with a narrow focus comes a larger audience.” Same thing… our “voice” is owning it.

  • What a great post! Thank you, Maurilio.nnThere are definitely some writers/professionals I admire and would be wise to emulate, but am also in the process of finding my voice through blogging and it’s been an amazing experience.

    • Blogging is a great way to continue to craft your writing skills.

      • Anonymous

        Blogging has not only helped in honing my writing skills, but it also has helped me define what I care about and the unique life message God has crafted in me.nnTwitter has helped me learn succinctness (something I struggle with), but blogging has helped me define who I really am. nnI find myself ignoring a lot of the advice I hear about how to build a successful blog. Since my blog IS my platform, I have to be true to my own uniqueness and trust God to build my audience.

  • When I first got serious about blogging a few months back, I was trying to imitate some of the more successful bloggers in style, voice and format of writing. I would highlight a line almost every paragraph, try to sound professional and succinct, and even tried tackling topics they wrote about.nnI didn’t enjoy it all that well. So, I just went back to writing the way I normally do, which is more like how I talk than anything else, and have enjoyed writing that way ever since.

    • I find there’s an audience for every type of writing. Be true to yourself.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Maurilio, I will remember this post for a long time as I blog away.

  • Great post Maurilio. I remember in 4th grade thinking it would be cool if I imitated the 3 stooges 24/7 … thank goodness that bright idea didn’t last more than a couple of days.

  • Barry

    Great post Maurilio. Question: are there books, materials that can help a person find his/her voice?n

    • Great question. I can’t think of anything off the top of my mind. Sounds like I need to write one.

  • I’m in a weird place where I wonder if I’ve found my voice but I don’t like the voice I found. Whether or not I can see the voice I have developing and take steps to change it into something that I think represents me more than the current voice.

  • Great post. I’m sharing this on Facebook. <3

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