Do you know where you’re going to?
Do you like the things that life is showing you
Where are you going to?
Do you know…?
Do you get
What you’re hoping for
When you look behind you
There’s no open doors
What are you hoping for?
Do you know…?
— Diana Ross when singing the theme from “Mahogany”
Those song lyrics have been floating in my mind after reading another voice-over blog in which the author wrote, “I have no idea where this is going.” While I have taken the writer’s words out of context, the face-value of that thought inspires today’s post.
Do you know where you’re going to in your voice-over career? When planning either a trip or a career in voice-over, it’s important to know your desired destination. You don’t need to know HOW or WHEN you will get there, but you do have to decide where you want to go. When you make that decision, you might as well decide to have the very best outcome you can possibly imagine.
True, even deciding on the destination can be very difficult. You have to take some time to analyze what’s important to you and find a destination that fills those characteristics. If I were planning a trip, I might say it’s important to me to go to a romantic place that is full of art, music and interesting architecture. When I decide that Paris fits my description, I now have a destination — a place that I can point to on a map.
Any number of ways exist for me to get there. It’s not up to me to decide every aspect of the trip. Life has a way of presenting delicious synchronicities that enable us to get further along our path. In fact, I previously wrote an entry about trusting your gut instinct. You may think your heart leads you to do things that are fun but unimportant in the long run. To quote myself: Your intuition will guide you to make choices and take action toward building your career that you may not totally understand at the time but will make brilliant sense in retrospect.
My voice-over career is just like a trip to Paris; I have a map and can point to my pinnacle of success. It’s important to me to voice projects that utilize my creativity, mean something to people, and are of lasting value. Audiobooks meet all of those criteria. I know where I’m going even though I have no idea when I will arrive.
You may be surprised to know that I am a Grammy award-winning voice talent for an audiobook in the Best Spoken Word category. You look perplexed and scratch your head as you think over this bold statement. “But Karen,” you finally say with great hesitation, “how is that possible when I haven’t seen your name on the Grammy awards list?”
Just because something hasn’t shown up in your reality doesn’t mean it isn’t real.<
When you use one of your 5 senses, you gain information about something in your world. No man-made thing that is in the world just magically appeared. It was first a thought in someone’s mind. They had to visualize its existence and know it was achievable before it ever became part of reality.
Athletes and entertainers often have related stories of visualizing their success for years before it was known to others. I love a quote from Barry Manilow in the 70s after he hit it big. Someone asked him what it was like to be successful, and he replied, “I’ve always been successful, but now I’m famous.”
Once you have a destination, you can create a map for getting from point A to point B. With your voice-over career or anything else, work backward from point B until you reach your place at point A. At each step, ask yourself, “in order for this to happen, what has to happen before it?”
I followed that process to create my map for achieving that Grammy award. I know certain things have to happen for my quest to be successful, and they inspire me to take action, whether marketing to a particular audiobook publisher, creating new demos, talking to others about audiobooks, etc. Sometimes the journey may seem stalled or going in a different or unexpected direction. Even in those times, I always have the inner knowing that I will arrive at my destination one day. It’s just a matter of time and consistent effort on my part in order to make this dream a reality. In the meantime, I know that the success I envision is on its way.
One of my friends described this kind of thinking as “a bunch of woo-woo”. In case this blog post sounds like woo-woo to you, you might be more likely to consider this advice from celebrated voice talent Nancy Cartwright. In an article for Animation World Magazine, Cartwright writes:
At any rate, if you are planning on being successful at what you do, no matter what it is you decide to do, you should be sure to envision having the greatest success in your chosen field. Don’t just decide to get a job, decide to win an Emmy. I did. Don’t just decide to be a background voice, decide to be on the #1 animated show on television. I did. Don’t just decide to make enough money to pay your bills or quit your day job, decide to make an abundance of money so your attention can move on to greater and more important areas. I did.
It is not about just dreaming. It is truly about making the decision, and thinking big!!!! Only you can decide what is best for you, so sit down right now, and make some decisions, who knows? It might change your life forever!
So, about my Grammy award — just remember you read it here first!