Wow, there are lots of voices in the world, aren’t there? There are voices that you recognise, there are voices that are loud and force you to listen, there are voices that will help you and guide you, and, there are voices that will lead in the wrong direction, if you let them. There are voices that affirm you’re good enough and voices declaring you’re not. There are voices that will lift and encourage you and there are voices that will try to bring you down. Of all the voices you face every day, there is only one that will determine what will happen in your life. Yes, you know it… it’s yours!

Like you, I’ve experienced the good and bad of listening to my own voice. Good when it was on my side and working for me, and bad when it was working against me, yet, I was blaming everyone and everything else for the failure in my life. It is my own voice that I credit for a very unlikely athlete become a professional footballer. It is also my own voice that I know was responsible for an established professional footballer destroying his career.

From a young age, I had a dream to be a professional footballer, and, from a young age, I have been very influenced by the words, thoughts and opinions of other people. When I looked at myself, my weedy little frame, and my lack of natural footballing ability, I just intuitively knew that asking people for their opinion as to whether they thought I could play the sport at the highest level was a mistake. For some unknown reason, at that time of my life, I just listened to and trusted my own voice when is said to me; ‘You can play football at the highest level, if you work hard, persist and improve.’ And, contrary to my own natural tendency to listen to the voices of other people, I got to work, focussed on what I wanted, trusted my own voice and from the age of 16 to 23, against the odds, I played professional Australian football. All because I realised, the only voice that mattered was mine.

So, I understood the power of my voice to attain positive results. I didn’t even consider, however, that my voice could also, if focussed on the wrong things, lead me down a very undesirable path. After several years of positive thinking, hard work, blood, sweat and tears, I had become a regular senior player. Then, without even realising what was happening, I allowed my voice to head off to a dark place. I thought had made it, I thought I had done enough, I was getting sick of the hard work, I thought I could ease up on the effort a little, and, before I even knew what was happening, my performance suffered. I was not making the senior team as often, and when I did, I couldn’t keep a spot, and then the unthinkable happened. I woke up one Saturday morning, two weeks after the end of the season, to read in the newspaper that I had been de-listed. Yes, that means sacked!

May your voice be your servant, not your master!

The same inner voice that took a skinny, sickly, sooky and largely talentless kid, then drove and enabled him to do what was required to become a professional athlete, tragically also took him down the path that destroyed his professional football career. Why destroyed? Because I let the voice be my master. I wasn’t deliberate or rational, I reacted on my emotion and I just let whatever I was feeling come rushing, uncontrollably out of my mouth. I went into blame and victim mode and said some things that destroyed any chance of me continuing on at that club. My voice took me to the top, and it took me all the way back crashing down to the bottom, with a thud!

Make no mistake about it, the words you choose, formulate in your head and allow to come out of your mouth are significantly important. They will have far more impact on your life than what other people will say to you. The key truth here is; you choose the words that make up your voice. Even if someone says you can’t do something, it’s up to you whether you believe them, or, prove them wrong. This decision, and, ultimate outcome, is determined by your voice. The main problem I see is that people are not deliberate about their voice and allow it to broadcast based on circumstances, not on deliberate intent.

When, without deliberation, we allow negativity to come out of our mouths, we are imprisoned by our voice, and, will have to live with the consequences. When we are deliberate about choosing the thoughts and words we use, then we are the master and those words will serve us and move us towards the successes in life we are destined to enjoy. Make no mistake about it, your voice is the only one that matters, and it will be your servant or your master. You choose. Be deliberate about every thought and every word, and, watch what happens in your life.

You can train your voice to be your servant, and, lead you to an amazing life. It will just take some time, patience, focus and repetition. The first step is awareness. Over a few days, be conscious and become aware of your self-talk, and whether it is serving you or enslaving you. The second step is to re-train it, through deliberate daily positive input; positive affirmations, reading positive books, listening to positive audios and podcasts, and, associating with encouraging, supportive and uplifting people. Over time and deliberate action, you will train yourself to automatically choose your positive and empowering voice, as opposed to your negative and destructive one.

When I went through this daily process, it amazed me how, after just a few months, I was thinking, saying and doing things very differently. I can remember saying things, not even knowing where the ideas and words came from, that were good! I was coming up with solutions for problems. I was able to see the positive in seemingly bad scenarios. I was able to respond and not react. I was able to see the big picture. I was becoming a happier, more peaceful and successful person. I’m not special, I was just reprogramming myself one thought, one word, one audio and one day at a time. I can tell you today, no matter what is happening in my life, I can trust my own voice to lead me in the right direction.

Every second of every minute of every hour of every day, for the rest of your life, you will be listening to the voice in your head. As much as you might like to, you can’t escape it, delete it or switch it off. What you can do is train your voice to be your servant, so it stops being your master. No one has the power to control your life, unless you let them affect your voice. I have always loved the quote, ‘what other people think of me is none of my business.’ So, take a stand, and take control of the voice in your head so that it can take you anywhere you want to go. Please know that the only voice that matters… is the one in your head.