As I prepared for this year’s Annual New Year’s letter, I was surprised to discover that this note marks a decade since I began writing annually. Ten years is a benchmark of sorts and with that, I decided that this New Year’s letter would be a review of a few key thoughts from previous years, such as Time, Vision, Solitude, Discovering Your Calling… re-framed for today.

When I first began in 2008, the focus of that initial letter was time. I have often said that ‘Time is our most valuable commodity for when it’s gone, we never get it again’. When teaching Vocal Awareness techniques, I often explain to a student that it is not just the routine of the exercise, but the quality of how we do it—the time we take. The axiom is ‘The routine is never routine.’ With that in mind, please ask yourself, “Do I value time? Do I create time to be? Do I take time to discover how to live in balance? Do I make time to sit and just listen quietly to my Self? Do I take time to laugh, to be joyous, to live rapturously? Do I take time to listen to others? Do I make time to be compassionate? Do I make time to determine how I want to live my life and the contribution I want to make?”

A couple of years later I wrote about the importance of establishing a Vision for the life we want to live. I wrote about the Latin root of the word ‘vision’—videre—to see. One meaning is: the ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom. I closed that letter by saying, “Life is not a dress rehearsal.” We do not simply want to go through the motions getting our blocking down or merely practicing our lines. Reconnecting once again to the concept of time, I continued by quoting one of my favorite writers, Goethe, who said, “Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.”

I concluded with the following acrostic I created on Vision:

V—value, values, view, Voice

I—insight, inspire, indelible, imagine, imagination, imprint

S—service, significance, soaring, serenity, seeing

I—individual, important, intrinsic, integral, infinite possibilities

O—oneness

N—necessary.

Here is an exercise you may want to do. Reflect on each of the words above and determine how they may apply to your concept of your vision. In addition you may want to create your own acrostic and once again, make time to figure out how it can support and guide you on your own unique Journey.

The goal is to create a Vision that supports life on your terms to the best of your ability.

Another year one of the themes was identifying your Calling. Again, making time to identify your vision will really help you discern what your calling may be. For you see, the root of the word ‘Call’ is vocare—it implies hearing one’s inner Voice speaking to oneself.

An exercise to help you tune in to your inner Voice/your calling:

Commit to sitting quietly for a few minutes each day for two weeks with a notepad nearby. The point of the notepad is you will discover that, in this state, creative thoughts and bold new ideas often emerge. If you do not capture them, they can disappear. Ideally, I would like you to do this in the early morning or at night before going to sleep. Through slow, silent Conscious Loving Breaths, i. e. about 5 seconds for each inhale, you will begin to activate a state I call Deeper Listening. Next simply ask yourself, “Am I doing what I have been called to do? Am I doing all that I can to fulfill my purpose?” Then, simply listen. Part of the point in these solitudinal moments is we create the opportunity to be at one with our Selves/Source. Over time, this idyllic, creative state truly contributes to who we are and enhances the very quality of our lives.

Summarizing this letter and the theme of Empowerment Through Voice, many years ago in my first book, The Sound of the Soul, I created a character called the ‘Pragmatic Visionary’. I stated that all the dreamer does is dream; but, the Pragmatic Visionary dreams and does all it takes to make that dream come true. This is an important distinction that often goes unnoticed—doing whatever it takes to turn a dream into reality. So, once you have synthesized the concepts of time, vision and calling, employ the principle of the Pragmatic Visionary. Design your plan for yourself with action steps, timeline, key goals, and deliverables—to assure your success.

We are here to make a difference—what is the difference you want to make?

Arthur Samuel Joseph M.A., founder and chairman of the Vocal Awareness Institute, today is widely-recognized as one of the world’s foremost authorities on the human voice. A renowned teacher/mentor, Mr. Joseph’s mission is to Change the World through Voice. His trademarked, proprietary voice and leadership training program, Vocal Awareness,™ is designed to teach Communication Mastery through a disciplined regimen of highly- specific techniques designed to cultivate an embodied and enhanced leadership presence, as well as personal presence, through body language techniques, vocal warm-ups, and storytelling skills. What emerges is an integrative and integral communication style. read more