How to be Heard Over the Herd

One thing that’s been true with every person I’ve ever met is that they want to be heard.  I mean really heard; not just add to the noise, not just politely stand in line to earn the right to say something.  But to be heard for who they are and the uniqueness that they bring to life.

At the same time, one of the greatest challenges is to figure out how to be heard among the herd. When I run out here in the Tennessee countryside, I pass by about four herds of cattle. The interesting thing is that in every one of these herds, they either have their heads down eating, or they are just standing there with some kind of weird, blank stare.

Day by day, I run past these herds of cows with little or no sound.  But on a brief occasion, I hear a startling sound that comes from one of those cows, daring to extend his neck and raise his head, and giving out a loud, “moo.”  Sometimes it’s a plaintive “moo.” But other times it’s attention-getting.

So here’s what I’ve learned.  It’s hard to get heard among the herd.  It’s those daring, brave souls who lift their heads, stretch their neck, and let out a loud “Moo!” that offer the world her music and reason for living.  The question about moo-ing out loud is not, “Do you have something to say?” It’s, “Do you have something worth saying?”  Are you adding to the load of cynicism, doubt, fear, hate, and trash-talk?  If that’s your “moo,” you can keep it to yourself.  But if you “moo” out loud some idea, some note of joy, some inspiration of grace; if you add to this world your music that helps us turn limping into dancing, sadness into rejoicing, then by all means “moo” out loud.

The second thing you need to “moo” out loud is not just something worth saying, but the courage to say it in your voice.  Yeah, that’s right.  You have a voice.  It’s not like mine or anyone else’s.  To you, it may sound shrill, high-pitched, and squeaky.  But to the rest of us, it might sound like a symphony.

So I dare you.  Stand up and “moo” out loud.  When you write that book, you “moo” out loud.  When you write that song, you “moo” out loud.  When you you go for another audition, you “moo” out loud.  When you refuse to work in a cubicle for slave’s pay and dare to live a life of your dreams, you “moo” out loud.  And when you “moo” out loud, that symphony gives us the courage so that just maybe we too, can rise above the herd.

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