I’d been thinking about getting another dog for a few years. After losing my dachshund mix, Molly and my Akita mix, Scout, I needed some time. Caring for elderly dogs is a sweet, heartbreaking experience. I was pretty worn out.

I’ve always had dogs and after getting settled into a new home, and recovering from an ankle break, the house just felt a little too quiet. So, I started to think about getting a new dog.

You might be wondering, what does this have to do with sharing your voice? Quite a bit, actually. Sharing your voice as a speaker, or in any capacity, requires much the same from us as deciding to bring a new little life into our lives. So, what are those considerations?

1. A desire to expand your life. I knew getting a puppy was going to take me new places – like the dog park! I knew it meant getting off the couch and walking the dog every day, which would naturally bring me in contact with new people. I wanted to open my heart to new experiences and all the things that meant.

Deciding to share your voice as a speaker will expand your life enormously. On practical terms, not only will you increase your network, you’ll gain visibility and recognition as an expert in your field. Becoming an effective speaker and thought leader in your community and industry positions you for new opportunities or promotions. As a human being, the effort to be a speaker will broaden and deepen you. You’ll become more self aware and able to share your insights in new and fascinating ways.

2. An investment of time, energy and resources. Any dog, but especially a puppy, is going to require focus, sacrifice and reprioritizing. I knew I would be repaid for that investment with a wealth of love, happiness and wellbeing. Learning to speak effectively requires a commitment too, and that commitment is repaid in confidence, leadership ability and personal fulfillment.

3. A support system. I asked my sister, Cyndi, to help me decide where to put the doggie door (it wasn’t obvious), choose the right crates for training, and select all the other doggie accessories I’d need. She’d done this recently and was up on all the latest information. Plus, we had a great time eating lunch and catching up. I also had a ton of support from the family who bred Bear. They gave him a great start. My son and his girlfriend, plus a number of friends, have already offered to pet sit when I need that. I’m so grateful!

Speakers need support too — someone who can assist them to navigate this adventure. You don’t have to go this alone! In fact, it’s better if you don’t. Others have gone before you. Take advantage of their experience and wisdom. You can get support through organizations like Toastmasters, or from a coach like me, depending on your time frame and preference.

Now that Bear has joined my life, I know I made the right decision. I’m so glad I prepared so I can enjoy this. I’m sure it will be an adventure of a lifetime filled with love and meaning.

You can choose to share your voice and have the adventure of a lifetime. I’d love to support you. I can be reached at Andrea@AndreaBeaulieu.com