Your Loudest Voice

The loudest voice should come from within

My girlfriend, Jacq and I went to see Moneyball last night (and I highly recommend that you see it- it’s not really a movie about baseball). One of several lessons and insights that I got from the movie was that, when you know with all your heart that you’re working according to your own plan, that you don’t need outside validation. This resonated with me. Your loudest voice, in support of you, must always come from within.

External Voices Can Be difficult

Let me set the stage a little.

In the movie, Brad Pitt plays Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland A’s, and in this specific season, he’s been dealt some tough cards. Three of his biggest “star” players have been taken by other teams. He’s got one of the smallest budgets in baseball, and yet, he has to do something to turn the team’s fortunes around.

Enter Jonah Hill playing Peter Brand, a statistical genius with a degree from Yale and with no previous experience in baseball. He works with Beane to figure out some statistical models that point to a way to do better with a very limited budget. It runs completely against what everyone else in baseball believes to be true. (This story, by the way, is based on a true story. This is the book: Moneyball – amazon affiliate link).

Art Howe is the manager, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, who has to make something out of the team that Beane and Brand have put together. Only, he doesn’t like what he sees, and so he fights against the changes. This leads to the A’s falling into last place early, and with that comes tons and tons of bad press, anger, and frustration.

Everyone is yelling. The press says they’re wrong. Their families and friends don’t see it. The players don’t quite get it yet. No one is on their side.

Your Loudest Voice is Valuable

But Beane and Brand get it. They believe it. Billy Beane is all-in from the very beginning of the concept, trusting Peter Brand with his future by believing that Brand’s modeling holds the key to what comes next. But they are the only two who believe, at least for quite some time.

The voice you should believe in the most is the one inside of you. No one outside of you should ever be able to drown out the belief you feel inside. If you’ve locked into a solid conviction about your path, your goal, your view of the universe, then believe in it, and make your voice the loudest, inside of you.

Critics Come and Go

Critics attack unique thinking. Critics attack anything that threatens the status quo. Critics quite often attack that which seems to simplified, explaining how everything is complex and can’t possibly be boiled down to something simple.

Critics also come from their own perspective, see things as part of a larger tapestry of the past, and rarely understand innovative thought when they see it.

Be Willing to Learn, but Believe in Yourself

I’m not saying that you should close out any kind of external insights, but what I am saying is that there will be many (not a few, but many) times when you’ll feel that you’ve faltered based on some external advice. Believe in you. Believe in you hard. Be willing to absorb other people’s thoughts, but weigh them against your voice being the loudest, at least in areas where you have the strongest of convictions.

And that’s the little kicker.

Be Willing to Be Silent and Listen

In all areas where you don’t have strong conviction, be willing to be silent and listen. Learn from those around you. Absorb what you can. Listen and observe and see what there is to know. Because in those areas where you’re not sure beyond belief that you’ve got the right idea, or at least the idea you’re going to pursue with fierce self-belief, then you can afford to wait, be silent, and see what comes from the world around you.

What Say You?

Does this resonate? Have you had those moments where everyone outside of you said you were wrong, but you still knew you were on the right path? Have you ever succumbed to the voices outside of you? (My answer to this is yes far more often than I wish, but I’m working on that now.) And how do you know when to listen to your loudest voice versus be willing to be silent and open? runs on the Genesis Framework

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  • Ivan Walsh, Media Writer

    I think the dilemma for many people is that listening is seen as ‘passive’ and, by extension, maybe a sign of inaction. 

    The alternative is to make noise and be seen… even if you’ve nothing to say. 

    I think the skill is to learn how to listen and then share what you’ve digested… at the right moment when others are ready to listen. 

    Takes practice. 

    • NEENZ

      Ivan: You’re absolutely right, it takes practice! It’s a delicate balance or imbalance because the scale needs to tip slightly towards your internal voice as Chris has pointed out. But, not so much that you’re not at the very least, as you put it, “learn how to listen and then share what you’ve digested…at the right moment.”

  • Anonymous

    I confirm with @ivanwalsh:disqus - 1st you have to learn that listening is not everytime ‘passive’. 

    For the most people it’s hard to take “their own thing”. You have to bring much energie with you to stand in this storm. Many times I’m to brisk. You have this voice and you want to change the world – NOW. But you have to be patient. That’s possibly the time if you’re digesting what you hear in the last few weeks. 

    I think to have a feeling to do it ‘step by step’ is a good way to protect it. 

  • Peter Sterlacci

    This is an awesome post Chris and is EXACTLY what I needed to read today.  Have struggled with confidence in my business and have wondered whether I made the right choice to hang up the 9-to-5 gig and go out on my own.  Reading this just gave me the boost I needed on a rather bummer of a day!  THANK YOU

  • Anonymous

    Boy, you couldn’t have brought this up at a better time… Just yesterday an epic battle came to a close. A battle between good and darkness in the NFL … Yup, Al Davis, the king of renegades  .

    A dark cloud has passed in OakLand and the NFL. It’s like Star Wars loosing Darth Vader …. The epitome of love and hate and boy o boy, as they say, old warriors go down hard. This warrior has been squirming and tormenting everyone since Jon Gruden left. They say he was looking at game tap up until the night of his death ….  Captain Ahab right to the bitter end.

    Yesterday, one the very last play, they beat one of the best teams in the NFL. A day after his death.

    I think it is huge for the Team in many ways. Emotionally, they gelled, their schedule is down hill. The have a coach and now they can coach. They have the talent and I think they are finally back and pissed off.

    Al Davis is the epitome of what you’re saying. Say what you want, but he had vision and nothing was going to stop him.

  • Chris Keaton

    I agree. Sometimes I think our biggest challenge is listening for that inner voice through all of the daily chatter, but in the end you’ve got to go for what you know.

  • Susan Murphy

    My best friend and business partner has a great saying…..when voices, either external or internal, try to fill you with self doubt and insecurity, you need to out-shout them. Out shout the voices.

    Pretty smart advice from one of the smartest people I know.

    • Chris Brogan

      Sounds like something a singer would say. ; ) 

  • Anonymous

    I like “fierce self-belief.” Thanks!

  • Hannah Marcotti

    I tend to be a flow where my passion takes me kind of person and quite stubborn to others’ voices, but what I have noticed most in my coaching is that my women need me to be the voice that is louder than their fear. Those inside voices combined with lack of support can really do a number on you.

    So many don’t even have access yet to their own voice and in learning to find it and ‘feel’ it as the case may be crazy, beautiful things start to happen…

    • Chris Brogan

      It takes a while to find that voice, doesn’t it? 

  • Gil Simom

    Chris a critica é uma cultura,e vem de fora para dentro,penetra pelos olhos e ouvidos e pode 
    fixar ou não em nosso cérebro. A vitoria sobre si mesmo é muito difícil,e quem consegue isto 
    pode ser classificado como verdeiro Herói. 

  • Anonymous

    Chris-  I am going to see the movie today with my family (pre-planned, not cuz of your post!), so I will be excited to see my reaction in regards to your writing about this lesson.

    I agree with your point about the “nay-sayers” who seem to come out of the wood work and say that what you are doing will not work.  I believe some people fear others having success, and they fear change.  Thus they try to stop new ways of thinking.  I once heard it called “The Lobster Story” – that live lobsters in an open top box grab any lobster that tries to crawl out… and pull it back to the crowd (not sure if this is true, but the analogy works).  I have seen the “Lobsters” come out of the wood work when I started working on my own.  In the end I had to just keep crawling up the side.

    You said it well when you said “Critics come and go”.  Nothing shuts the critics up more than when you have success!


    • Chris Brogan

      You will LOVE the movie. Can’t wait to hear what you have to say. And yes about the lobsters. : ) 

  • Greg Cryns

    If you have IT you know it.

  • Andrea P. Howe

    My favorite lines in this blog: “Be willing to absorb other people’s
    thoughts, but weigh them against your voice being the loudest, at least
    in areas where you have the strongest of convictions.” I like this a lot because it puts others’ input in perspective–and relative volume.

    You asked if your post resonates and the answer is DEFINITELY. There are so many things that for me easily interfere with my firm, steady commitment to my own voice — wanting to be liked, a habit of accommodation, and more. I’m working on this too.

    Thanks for the reminder on this Monday to stay true.

    • Chris Brogan

      Glad to hear it, Andrea. Thanks for your comments and your perspective. : ) 

  • Lisakippen

    Will you please send this to my email? Surrounded by negativity. Of exactly that kind.

  • Lisakippen

    Wow! I knew there was a lot more people who felt just like I do. I just didn’t know where to find them.

  • Ivan Bickett

    Today is my first Monday in full time self employment! I have conflicting voices in my head. One saying, “This is what you were MADE for!” The other saying, “What the HELL were you thinking!”

    I’m beating the second voice down and running with the first. This WILL WORK. I WILL be successful.

    I have been told by some that this was a poor decision. I’ve been told by more that it looks like I’m finally going after what I want in life!

    In the end, I think Henry Ford had it right. “Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t. You’re right.”


    • Chris Brogan

      Hustle, Ivan. Don’t stop. Never doubt that you have a lot of work. 

    • owengreaves

      It’s been 4 years for me out on my own, I describe it this way, the money sucks but the freedom is amazing. The money’s not as bad as that but the later is better than any amount of money could truly match.

      Unbelief is the #1 killer of great Entrepreneurs, surround yourself with like-minded people, follow and connect with people like Chris and you have increased your odds 95%!

      Good luck and I look forward to watching you succeed.

  • Anonymous

    Saw the movie twice (once with my daughter other time with my wife).

    I highly recommend reading the book which fills in many of the blanks and takes out some of the Hollywood in the movie (I won’t say what is what but reading the book helped me understand things even more but you may need to be ready for it being more about baseball).

    We are all products of our past, our present and our hopes for the future. Getting too caught up in any one of those can be unhealthy for sure and can sap our confidence. That’s a trap that none of us need to fall into.

    Best wishes to all.

    • Chris Brogan

      I’ll take a look at that, too. I think the movie did a great job of imparting business advice, but I bet the book would drive that home even better. 

  • JackieDotson

    Wow, great post and definitely something I really needed to hear! Yes, I spent years succumbing to the voices outside of me, that I’d never be able to be successful in a practice on my own, that I had to set my practice up a certain way, that I shouldn’t “be myself” that I was wrong for no longer believing in mainstream psychiatry. So I spent 6 years working in an emergency room doing work I did not believe in believe in (and essentially abandoning my own dreams) because it was “real work”. Fortunately, my contract ended and that was all taken away from me. 

    And now I am happy, every freaking day. And I am on the right path, I know it in my bones. I have NO IDEA where it will lead or where I will end up. But I have this sense of knowing like I’ve never had before. I am with the right people, headed in the right direction. I’m open, I’m writing and I love it. 

    • Rick Manelius

      Being happy ‘every freaking day’ is a great start! I imagine the percentage of the US population that has that level of enthusiasm on a daily basis is quite small… probably smaller than the percentage that work out every day!

      I’m excited for you.

      • JackieDotson

        Thank You Rick!

    • Chris Brogan

      I’m glad you’re back to where you are. Glad you’re happy. It’s sooooooo very wonderful to see you feel that, Jackie. Keep doing great work. 

  • SL Clark

    Yes. Yes. Yes this resonates!

    Traditional Publishing is dead. Our chosen genre destroyed. Yet, our company is all in, which I believe is the golden key. I know the audience is out there, so we must reach out to them, where they are; no longer in Borders, B&N, or headline du jour…

  • Becca

    Nice post. Yes! This certainly resonates. I have made some wrong turns -done the conventional things those “outside voices” like to press for.
    But I find I make better choices if I Ipay less attention to what I (and others) think and more to how I feel about a situation or choice.  I play the choices out in my head and observe how I feel about each one. The one that makes me feel the happiest is the right one.

    Just like in Moneyball, though,finding the right choice is much easier than making it and following through.

  • Ralph Hass

    I recommend the “Courageous” movie too! The stunt coordinator for the film, Jimmy Broyden, sat behind us last Tuesday. It’s an encouragement to being a better dad: Honour Begins At Home. My dad would have turned 84 today but he lost a courageous battle with cancer at the end of June.

    • owengreaves

      I took my wife to see Courageous on Thursday evening, we enjoyed it very much. I lost my father to Cancer in 1998, we are currently days away from losing my wife’s Father to Cancer, she lost her Mother when she was 3 to Breats Cancer. We know the drill, many Blessings On You.

  • Acne Treatment

    I totally agree that a person believe in himself. The best thing i have ever read here is “Critics come and Go” . This is something that makes you different from others. 

  • owengreaves

    Poor Sef-Talk is the enemy, and many who are close to us will not understand, but surrounding yourself with smart people is the only shortcut I know to success. But keep in mind, there is no shortcut for persistance and hard work, never give up!

  • Ashley

    This is so empowering!

  • Marjorie Clayman

    Many people, believe it or not, thought that Abraham Lincoln was really stupid. They thought this because of the way he talked. Instead of using the high-brown, Jeremiad type language that was so common in the 19th century, my man Abe said things like, “A house divided cannot stand.” How could you encapsulate everything that was going on – the slavery issue, the expansion issue, all of that stuff, into one dumb statement about a house?

    I dunno though. I think he was pretty okay.

    • Suzanne Vara

      Not being a history buff nor knowing a smidgen as much as you Margie, we can look at how Lincoln being stupid was not so far off. He thought differently. He challenged people to think about a house and how it could be divided. At the time a house was not divided (and if it was it was not spoken about very openly/widely; technology was an issue). But if we think about how yeah he was stupid for thinking deeper and saying very profound things that did not resonate. That, my dear, is marketing in so many ways. It is the “we have always done it this way” mentality that stagnates. Twitter was stupid. Facebook wound never pass MySpace. Hmh. The loudest voice was the most silent in not making a peep about the feathers ruffled when it came out and just moving along to ultimately become the loudest voice. Lincoln was louder in his legacy. While in his death his voice was silenced, it was actually heard and considered.

      In the end, you can have the loudest voice and it is heard but if it is considered, it matters most. You can have the loudest which sometimes can be the internal but so long as it is considered for you and when exposed to others it becomes louder but yet softer. The roar of the crowd inside you never stops but the outside noise does. The fire may smolder outside but deep down inside there  is always that spark. That spark ignites and is the voice.

  • Ann Becker-Schutte

    Chris–Are you sure you weren’t a psychologist in an alternate life? Like several of your posts recently, this is solid mental health advice. Learning to trust that inner voice is one of the biggest gifts we give ourselves.

  • Jghethe

    The worst voice to ignore is that little one that scratches at the back of your mind –

  • Cathy Presland

    Yep – I’ve listened to voices that told me to do something and those that told me not to! And sometimes when I look back I wonder what on earth I was thinking… I don’t know that I can say experience (and age) adds wisdome because sometimes I think we lose that crazy self-belief that young people seem to have more of. But I’ve definitely developed better strategies for managing those voices and staying true to what I believe.

    Great post ;)

  • Jane Pellicciotto

    I finally started paying attention to when I’m feeling “on” and energetic and excited and interested in something. I used to ignore it because I couldn’t figure out a way to incorporate it into my existing business. But it has been through sites like this and a number like it that I’ve been able to bust out of some limited thinking. Now all of a sudden, I’m thinking of partnerships and workshops and info products that a year ago I wouldn’t have considered. And not ironically, this new thinking is making me also feel better about closing doors that don’t work for me anymore. They’re stifling the best me.

  • Waymon

    Chris I remember seeing beautiful pics of your family. Why do you have a girlfriend only weeks removed from posting pics of your daughter and talking about your wife and mom and dad? Has traveling cost you so much?!!

  • Rosemary


    I really like your point about being willing to learn and believing in oneself. These two points are especially important in this world with lots of gadgets and social media changes. Take care Rosemary

  • Osayi

    I “accidentally” saw Moneyball a few weekends ago.
    I say accidentally because I don’t like baseball, but we picked it because we were late for another movie and it seemed interesting…

    anyway I saw Moneyball and it was Amazing, so many things to learn from it.

    1. Never make decisions solely based on the financial benefits
    2. When you make mistakes, don’t dwell in the past, dust yourself off and move on
    3. Winning isn’t everything, but it sure beats losing 

    Thanks for sharing this post :-)

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