I just saw a phenomenal movie last night, The King’s Voice-- an incredibly acted vision of a man in public life with a stammer whose overwhelming desire is to speak clearly and authentically. That he is the second son in the royal family of England who becomes its unlikely king just before the outbreak of World War II makes the achievement of his goal all the more remarkable. The story of how he does so is the story of his evolving relationship with his speech therapist, Lionel-- an undauntable coach who challenges Bertie to sing, dance, shout, and ultimately repair the traumatic disconnections of his earlier life by creating a healing bond of friendship.
So when the historic moment arrives, Bertie (now King George V)-- looking only at Lionel’s encouraging face and prompts, speaks to all the people in the British Commonwealth by radio, and is able to say what he needs and wants to say to hearten them for the perils and trials ahead.
In my blog post of December 9th, I shared my insight that a key ingredient in creating successful relationships is active engagement. In a healing relationship, one person-- the teacher, the therapist, the coach-- will usually need to take the lead initially in positively engaging the other. As The Art of Possibility expresses it, “The practice of giving an A allows the teacher to line up with her students in their efforts to produce the outcome, rather than lining up with the standards against these students.”
In this way, Lionel aligns himself with Bertie as a friend who fully believes in Bertie’s ability to speak clearly and express himself as the person he truly is. No one else fully understood the forces of custom and history that crippled Bertie’s voice. No one else was willing to stand with him against these forces and champion his speaking his own truth. In standing up for his client, his king, and his friend, Lionel came forth as the new force of truth who allowed Bertie to shine (and smile).
In wishing you all a Very Happy Holiday Season, I’d like to wish you a new year filled with joy, confidence in your own voice, warm relationships, and success defined in your own terms!
Join in the Discussion!
- What has made you hold back from speaking your truth?
- Who has helped you speak clearly or find your own voice? How did they do so?
- What is the quality of your relationship with these people?
- What is it to be a friend to someone?