Using Voice Values to Deepen Work and Life

VoiveValuesI recently came across the concept of Voice Values when I stumbled on Abby Kerr and the Voice Bureau. You can read a little bit about them there, or you can subcribe to her newsletter and take the free self-assessment, which will tell you what you emphasize in your work: Excellence, for example, or Enthusiasm. Or perhaps Community, Clarity, Playfulness or Power.

Personally? I scored highest in Enthusiasm, followed by Helpfulness, which pretty much sums up my approach to the world. It would have been nice to see adjectives such as Excellence or Power, but frankly, those don’t really describe me that well. I want to help, I want to share, and I want to do it right now.

Of course, I write for a living, so these values make sense to me. Then I got to thinking: can you apply them to non-writing work? What about your art? Your boutique Italian grocery? Your home? I spent a lot of time mulling that question over, wondering how far Voice Values really stretch. Must you use words to transmit them? Or will pictures, photographs, products, attitudes work just as well?

I can’t say, but I’d like to try. The idea of blending the values that already stream through my written work into the rest of my life is irresistible. Now that I’m aware of the vibes I’ve been unintentionally putting off all along, I love the idea of trying to instill them into my life intentionally as well. I’ve always known what I want to accomplish with my life; now I know how I’ve gone about accomplishing those dreams so far. If Enthusiasm and Helpfulness are my platforms, then I might as well use them to their fullest extent. Thank you, Abby!

Male and Female Dreams

Cuddling_CoupleIn our society, women are much more comfortable talking about their dreams. Certainly they’re more comfortable labeling them “dreams.” If men do talk about what they want in life, the word used is usually “goals.”

“Dream,” after all, is very femmy. It doesn’t help that the word is forever and inextricably linked with our nighttime wanderings, but it’s more than that. You see it in the self-help section. You see it in the blogosphere. You hear it at the coffee shop. While men might want to make things happen, achieve, accomplish, dreaming is largely for women.


I was so curious about this I spent some quality Internet time trying to get to the bottom of it and came across a few interesting things. According to TIME Magazine, men and women do have similar goals in life: they largely agree on the importance of physical health, financial security, career fulfillment and children. The largest divide concerned religion: whereas 58 percent of men valued it highly, 68 percent of women did. Still, across the spectrum, dreams matched up pretty squarely.

According to the Daily Mail, men and women generally hope to accomplish their life goals before the age of 40. (Which is interesting when you think about it. I do this too, but seeing it in print highlights the silliness of calling something a “life goal” when you can reasonably assume to live twice as long as the time you’re giving yourself to do it in.) Some small differences did emerge: men rank marriage fifth on their list of goals, women rank it third. Their ideal ages for having families, achieving financial security and having successful careers differed by only two years in each case. Mostly, it seems, men and women are on the same page.

So why does it seem to me as those guys are so often left out of the conversation? Are they? Am I just missing the venues in which they’re conversing, or does it take surveys to reveal what men aren’t revealing on their own? I don’t have the answers yet, but I think asking the questions is a good start.