How to Speak Your Truth in a Scary, Noisy World (Empath Edition) 

How to Speak Your Truth in a Scary, Noisy World (Empath Edition) 

On Saturday morning, I joined 500,000+ visitors in D.C. for the Women’s March on Washington.

It was awesome.

By 7am, I stood near the main stage, surrounded by hundreds of women and men. Every sign, every smile, every outrageous hat unlocked a feeling I didn’t know I craved: safety.

The energy of the crowd was potent. I felt a full-body rush—tingling skin and stinging tears—as layers of self-criticism and sadness fell away.

It was as if the heartbeat, the visceral pulse, of this massive throng reset my arrhythmia. As if empty fears shrank from mountains to molehills, to pinpricks against a brilliant horizon.

In a single moment, I saw the long stretch of past to present and witnessed my own potential with incredible clarity.

Which leads me, of course, to you.

My friend Abigail and me. WHAT UP DEMOCRACY?!?

My friend Abigail and me. WHAT UP, DEMOCRACY?!?

If you consider yourself a highly intuitive person, an empath, or an HSP, you absorb other people’s energy like a sponge.

The energy is volatile right now. You might want to retreat and hide.

You KNOW the world needs you—needs big-hearted artists, entrepreneurs, coaches, and healers—to shine a light and pave a path to a more equitable future.

And you KNOW that you can’t achieve your dreams unless you consistently show off your genius, share unique guidance, and take brave action to help your tribe.


If you hate conflict;
f you fear sounding like a fool;
f you feel sick whenever you see angry pundits and “alternate facts”;
the pressure to stay silent is enormous. 

Why add to the noise?

Why clutter more inboxes?

What good will it do to write a new blog post, or make a video, or create art?

Why bother sharing your truth?

Because you went into business to improve people’s lives.

Because your work is the gift you came here to give.

Because IF you came here to change the world, NOW IS THE TIME TO DO IT.

Yes, there is a lot of doom and gloom out there. (That’s why you should call your representatives, join action groups, and donate to causes you believe in.

Now that many of us can point to a specific person, we can personify and protest systematic attacks on the causes we hold dear. We’re newly united by a common foe.

But the issues that plague us—injustice, inequality, and climate change—didn’t flick on like a light switch.

We’ve already been here, for years and years.

But now we’ve woken up.

So stop battening down the hatches. Stop indulging your impulse to go dark.

If you’re wide awake—If you care too much—

If you care too much—

If you’re gasping and grappling for a silver lining and a burst of peace—

YOU are the answer you’ve been waiting for.

So go on, darling. This is your time.

Time for you to speak and act for the greater good.

Time for you to leverage your gifts to improve your business, your family, and your community.

Time for you to sell your soul with every spark you’ve got.

how to speak up in a scary world_elizabeth hope derby

How do you get started changing the world?


Start by speaking your own deep truth in the real world (not just in your head).

Have face-to-face conversations. Write and share blog posts. Pick up the phone and talk.

Approach your fellow humans with compassion. Everyone is struggling with something.

Share your skills, your talents, and your thoughtful opinions in a way that helps other people and the planet.

–> If you have no idea how to do this, email me! I can help.

If you struggle to speak up because you feel overwhelmed, afraid, or frustrated, allow me to help you out.

Just because you’re the sensitive type DOES NOT MEAN you must gut it out or suffer.

Instead, you need to build a foundation of clarity and confidence from which you can take action.

Here are 5 daily practices to help you raise your voice in a scary, noisy world. 


elizabeth hope derby_Create before you consume

There is a principle in human psychology that says we latch onto bad news like a dog on a bone.

We’re genetically predisposed to notice dangerous things (like a snake in the grass) before we notice peaceful things (like pink roses in bloom).

We can’t help but obsess over negative stuff. 

That’s why it takes 3 compliments to outweigh 1 insult. Why bad news sticks in your brain when good news does not. Why negative stories headlines get more clicks than beautiful reminders of love-and-light.

So if you want to focus on YOUR truth, avoid social media until you’ve done your creation for the day. 

  • Delete the Facebook app from your cell phone. (You can re-install it whenever you want.)
  • Install Kill News Feed into Chrome on your computer. This will remove your Newsfeed from (Voila! No more unfettered access to angst-streams.)

Keep your thoughts clean and your vibe high by prioritizing your sanity.

Side note about reading the news:

Please PAY for a subscription to an ETHICAL, HIGH INTEGRITY newspaper. Vote with your dollars and choose truth over fantasy.

No news source is free from bias (we’re all humans reporting from the front lines of life), but The New York Times and The Washington Post are great places to start


elizabeth hope derby_protect your energy

If you’re a highly sensitive or empathic person, the emotional chaos of others can be physically (and psychically) exhausting.

Even if you avoid social media and the news, you’ll likely encounter conversations or situations that deplete you.

(Maybe you plan to do something confrontational, like chat to your conservative in-laws or write about your political leanings for the newspaper.)

Before you engage in challenges, build an emergency shelter for your psyche.

Create a plan for those times you need to retreat or simply recharge your heart.

You can establish your safe space a few different ways:

  • Meditation. Connecting with your breath, your body, the planet, and/or God/the Universe anchors you into the world that exists outside your own mind.Let the immensity and continuity of something greater than you calm your heartbeat and ground you in capital-t Truth: that you are safe in this moment, alive in this moment, and infinitely blessed to be here.
  • Visualization. Now that I’m hip to the fact that I soak up other people’s feelings like a sponge, I do my best to manage the way crowds of people affect me.Before I went to the Women’s March on Washington, I used this visualization by Amanda Foy.
  • Designation. Designate a place where you can retreat at the end of the day (or when you feel exhausted or overwhelmed).Fill that space with things that make you feel safe, cozy, and loved. Maybe that’s soft blankets, or pink salt lamps, or great books, or stuffed animals. (I don’t judge!)Ask for support from your loved ones as well. Tell them what you need when you go to this place; explain that you want to be given privacy, or extra hugs, or just a big mug of tea and a pat on the head. Whatever you need to feel loved, ask for it.  

elizabeth hope derby_spill your guts

If you’re building a personal brand, then you need to share your TRUE feelings, impulses, or ideas.

If the thought of getting personal makes you uncomfortable, you just need to practice. 😉

Fortunately, you can do this—by talking to a friend, free writing in your journal, or speaking out loud to yourself while walking in circles around your house.

Think of it as zero-pressure performance. Or writing a shitty first draft.

The more difficult or insurmountable a task appears, the greater the likelihood you just need to practice.

Get comfortable spilling and spewing and JUST SPEAKING, and learn to trust your creative impulses.

When brainstorming topics to talk about, make sure you visualize your audience. What will be helpful for them? Will this topic educate or inspire them? If not, how does it provide value?

If you’ve rambled and written something you want to share, take a moment to review through the lens of your ideal peeps. Ask yourself if these subjects or sidebars move your peeps closer to achieving their dreams…or if you just needed to rant.

Your gut instinct will have an immediate, honest answer. Follow it.

elizabeth hope derby_catch and release your feelings

When you’re a sensitive buttercup, your emotions are BIG.

The BIGness of your feelings may swallow you up sometimes.

Maybe you get blocked because you’re lost in overwhelm.

Maybe you get stiff and tight because you’re pushing them away.

If this sounds familiar, repeat after me: You are not your emotions.

In The Untethered Soul, Michael Singer shares this practical advice, “Just decide that no matter what the mind says, you aren’t getting involved.”

For me, that means noticing when I get caught up in the melodrama of my mind.

When I catch myself feeling things, I take a breath, witness the whirl of my thoughts, and release my identification with those feels.

By acknowledging emotions when they happen (instead of bottling them up), I’m free to move on and take action from a place of soulful intention instead. 

If you find that fear and sadness swallow you up like a wave, you might need more time to acknowledge them.

If you feel like crap, let it out. Scream or cry or write about it. But give yourself a time limit. And when those minutes are up, release those feelings. It’s time to get back to the business of speaking your truth.

If you can’t seem to snap out of a funk, I recommend physical activity OR sharing your expertise with someone in need.

Go for a brisk walk. Go to boxing if you’re weepy or yoga if you’re angry. Or just deliver kickass service to your clients. That always makes me feel 100% better.

If you want to dig deeper into this topic, check out my friend Gregg’s Simple Emotional Mastery tool.

elizabeth hope derby_escape proof your action

This practice is the moment your rubber meets the road.

It’s also your ticket to freedom.

As Gloria Steinem said during her speech at the Women’s March, “Sometimes you need to put your body where your beliefs are.”

The #1 reason we don’t share our ideas is because we think they/it/we aren’t good enough.

But “good enough” is an illusion. A false belief that keeps you small.

Maybe it shows up as perfectionism: obsessing over tweaks, updates, and improvements until your content is “good enough.”

Maybe it shows up as procrastination: waiting until the last possible second to fulfill a deadline or do the work.


You can only banish the ghost of “good enough” by doing the thing that scares you.

By posting that blog post.

By submitting that e-book.

By opening your mouth and talking.

That means trusting yourself. Digging down to find the faith that you are good enough already.

The fastest way to get there is by leaping boldly into trust.

Sign up to take action—the kind you can’t escape. 

Try Facebook Live. Say yes to an interview. Commit to a deadline with someone you respect.

Short-circuit the fear that prevents your growth. Feel the thrill that follows.

Build your action-taking muscles over time. Give yourself permission to fail.

Someone out there needs your voice, just as it is, right now.

Unless you show up, they will never find you.

So be brave.

Be bold.

Love yourself and this world enough to do what you came here to do.

Ready to speak upBUT DON'T KNOW WHAT TO SAY-

You aren’t the only one!

I help creative entrepreneurs (like you!) to get clear on their message, confident in their value, and excited to share their genius with the world.

If YOU are ready to find your voice, attract ideal clients, and increase your visibility, check out the ways we can work together or contact me right here.

  • Love, love, love this post, Elizabeth! I really needed to hear about protecting my energy. Even though I’m an extrovert, I need a lot of alone time.

    This was such a great reminder.


    February 1, 2017 at 1:36 pm
  • Elizabeth, what a thoughtful and supportive article. Just what I needed to hear, as I begin to speak out more and can feel the fear creeping in. Thank You!

    February 1, 2017 at 6:45 pm

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