Last night, Drew and I had to pick up a few things, so we combined all of our shopping at the world’s largest retailer. I think you know its name, so I won’t mention it, much less give it a link. The people parked in front of us walked up to their car as we finished unloading our bags from the shopping cart into our car.
As I pushed our cart to the cart return area just down the row from our car, I noticed stray shopping carts abandoned all over the parking lot. People rolled the carts out of the store to their cars and just left the carts wherever they stopped. People couldn’t be bothered to walk a few steps to put their shopping cart in the designated area.When I walked back to our car, I noticed that the people in front of us were in their car. As Drew put our car in reverse, the people in front of us started driving forward. In other words, they couldn’t be bothered to put their car in reverse; they had actually waited for me to come back so that they could drive straight through!
Drew and I have made a promise to each other that we would not spread negativity. It may sound like I am breaking that promise to repeat this story now. I admit I was very irritated to notice 2 pieces of evidence of such extreme laziness. Since old habits die hard, I was ranting about the carts and the other driver to Drew.
I’m telling this story now for 2 reasons:
REASON #1 When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. (Wayne Dyer)
In order to stop my wave of negativity over the parking lot situation last night, I had to change my thought process. Rather than think that people are too lazy and irresponsible to return their shopping carts, I had to consciously choose another, better-feeling thought. I decided that having the carts scattered throughout the parking lot provided a necessary job to the strong person who had to corral them and run them back into the store.
Rather than think that the person in front of me was too lazy to put her car into reverse, I decided that maybe her reverse gear didn’t work or she was having transmission problems. In fact, I even thought that if she had put her car into reverse, she would have hit someone, which would have caused us to be a witness to the scene and made us get home at 3AM! Suddenly, it was easy to feel gratitude instead of irritation!
Sometimes it’s very easy to get mired in negative thinking, especially when it’s something really important like your voice-over career. It can be easy to be critical of yourself if you aren’t seeing the kind of break-throughs that you expected or the jobs are few and far between. However, keeping a positive mental outlook and being persistent in your efforts will get you where you want to be. The thoughts you think are a conscious choice.
Former talent agent Wally Amos, who invented the Famous Amos cookies, is credited with this quote:
Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words.
Keep your words positive because your words become your actions.
Keep your actions positive because your actions become your habits.
Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values.
Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.
REASON #2 Without ambition, one starts nothing. Without work, one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
I realize that I’m the only one who cares about my change in thinking last night at the store. (Okay, Drew cared, too.) However, the trend toward laziness is prevalent in our society, and I notice it constantly rearing its ugly head on all of the voice-over groups that I monitor. Every few days, someone will ask one of the perpetual questions:
“How do I get started in voice-over?” (I also frequently receive this question via e-mail. I always respond by asking people if they have read the information on my web site and suggesting that they start with a book. I refer them to my recommended reading list.)
“What equipment do I need?”
“How do I get an agent?”
“Which on-line casting web site is best? Do people actually make money from them?”
“What do I need to do for marketing?”
We live in the age of information and technology. The archives of all these groups contain an amazing bounty of information from a wide variety of people. In addition, plenty of free information can be obtained from my web site and many others on the Internet. Numerous books on voice-over have been written, and bookstore shelves are overflowing with marketing books that have brilliant ideas ready for implementation by the new businessperson.
My suggestion? READ. Read anything and everything that you can about voice-over, especially if you just getting into the field. Whether it’s an Internet forum on voice-over or some other subject, read the FAQ and the archives to see whether your question has been answered. Chances are excellent that you aren’t the first person to have the question. Don’t just jump in and ask the question because you’re impatient to be on your way and you want to take the easy road to get there.
There are no shortcuts to your success. You not only should do your own homework, but you will have to do some actual WORK (yes, even more than pushing a shopping cart to its designated area in the parking lot) if you expect to have a voice-over career. Even if I and other people told you everything we know just because you asked the question, we can’t do things for you. You’re trying to build a career, not a bologna and cheese sandwich.
If you want the prize, be prepared to work for it. By the way, the people who you think are overnight successes usually have been working diligently for about 10 years.