This Date In My History is an ongoing series of blog posts taken directly from my private journal entries written at least 10 years ago.
TDIMH — Friday 16 April 2004 1:20pm
Sometimes I just feel like giving up.
No, I don’t mean on my life — just on this whole voice-over dream. I allow myself to feel confidence and think that I am talented and a capable engineer until things happen that make me think I am deluding myself.
This week, I’ve had 2 incidents — one minor, one major — that have really made me question myself and make me wonder whether I should quit. Yes, I know that:
- These stresses are temporary, a reaction, and something that will pass.
- I don’t want to get to my later life and think “what if I had kept going with voice-over” or “I wish I had followed my dream”.
- [I was reminded of] the story about the gold miner who sold his rights after years of fruitless search and frustration, only to discover the next day that the new owner found gold just 3 feet away from where he stopped. You never know how close you are to the gold.
- And remember Mel Fisher and the Atocha — 17 years before he found it.
However, I also know that my life would be sooo much simpler if I just went to work, came home and watched TV like everyone else.
The minor thing that happened was that [Client A] at [Company A] had some unflattering comments about one of my reads for the commercials. He said it had an accent and asked “where ARE you from?” Since I’m in the speech class to improve, I could laugh at this exchange, especially when he told me that he knew it wasn’t a Southern accent. [My teacher] listened to the read and told me that any time someone hears something different that they label it as an accent.
The major thing that had me questioning this career choice occurred today. The girl at [Company B] called today and said that my files contained way too much sibilance. She said it was distracting to listen to for an hour, and she couldn’t use it the way it is. Great. I had only spent 7+ hours in creating it, and now it has a problem. I told her I’d try to experiment with software to reduce the sibilance.
I was somewhat relieved that she called back a short while later to say that someone has told her it was fine the way it was. On the first call, she said another person said they could hear the sibilance but didn’t find it troubling. She’s working with a contractor who had previous experience with TV, and apparently, the contractor is the one who said it was sibilance and caused by microphone placement.
Of course, these conversations made me feel extremely stressed. Not only am I being told about 2 problems — my incorrect placement when making S sounds and an hour-long presentation that is full of them — but I’m hearing about it while on my day job where I can do absolutely nothing about it.
I had already planned to take 3 hours of leave today so I could [run a bunch of errands] and then find some way to spend an enjoyable few hours…. I did NOT intend to rush home and start working on fixing this sibilance problem.
All the way home, I felt upset thinking about the situation and wondering if I should just forget my whole dream. I’m tired of struggling all the time. I know that it all should be a learning experience, but I’m tired of learning. When will I be considered the master? I love the voice-over part and wish I could leave the audio engineering to someone else. When will that happen?
I downloaded a de-esser plug-in for Cool Edit and experimented for over 2 hours with it. I forgot to say that when I turned on my computer, I got an email message that seemed to be a direct answer to my thoughts, today’s motivational quote of the day:
You are where you are today
because you’ve chosen to be there.
True, but I didn’t choose to have all these problems.
I sent her a couple of MP3s with the sibilance reduced. I’ve decided that I will send a CD of everything on Monday with the sibilance reduced, with another CD with the files in their original state since I have to record some slides over due to script changes.
I talked to Drew when he got home. Of course, I’m not going to give up. I truly believe that I am destined to be a star. I’m stressed, exhausted, frustrated, needing a vacation desperately, and depressed about Daddy [who had passed away 6 months before this entry], but I’m not willing to give up on my dream.
I think — no, I KNOW — that all of these other factors have made me feel so overwhelmed and cause me to react so negatively to a problem. I need to keep in mind that a problem is just an opportunity to learn something (even if I don’t want to).
1. BREATHE. When you feel overwhelmed or stressed, take a moment to take some good, deep breaths. Chances are that your problem is not as big as it first seems.
2. At the time, I didn’t understand how much my grief over the loss of my much-beloved dad infiltrated every part of my life. I looked like I normally did. I acted like everything was normal. Inside, though, everything was NOT normal. If you’re grieving, go easy on yourself and postpone any life-changing decisions until you feel stronger.
3. You also don’t want to make life-changing decisions based on one bad day. Problems are inherent in any job. You have to take the bad with the good, and problems can steer you off course. However, with determination, you can make course corrections and get back on the path of your dream!
4. You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t occasionally have doubts. It helps to talk to someone you trust and/or write in a journal to remind yourself of all your good qualities and capabilities that will lift you up when you feel like giving up.
5. The real take-away here is that I was much too critical of myself. I could’ve let the OPINION OF ONE PERSON keep me from my dream and my destiny! Don’t give away your power to another person. When it comes to your dream, yours is the only opinion that matters!
Bonus Round of Comments for Voice Talent
I was writing about a problem with sibilance. I actually went back and listened to that 10-year-old file. While I did hear some sibilance on a few words, I’ve heard much worse sibilance issues in new audiobooks from experienced talent! And when you consider the script was as overrun with S sounds as trees in Georgia are choking in kudzu, I’m amazed that I didn’t end up sounding like Sylvester the cat! 🙂
I added a sample here for your reading pleasure; you really need to read it aloud to get the full joy from it. Note that the full script had dozens and dozens of occurrences of Sarbanes-Oxley!
Sarbanes-Oxley aims to increase investor confidence by introducing a whole new level of accountability for senior corporate executives by holding them personally responsible for their company’s financial statements….The Sarbanes-Oxley Act is comprised of 11 distinct areas or titles. Each title contains additional sections which clearly outline responsibilities, requirements, and penalties.
Susan Opsahl says
I am new to the VO world and already beginning to feel like giving up. My coach, Nancy Wolfson, warned me it would take quite a bit of time to get anywhere. My VO business is always on my mind and some days I am second guessing following my dream. Thank you so much for sharing your own struggles and how you persisted in making it all happen! It is comforting and motivating to read your journey into this world.
Many, many thanks!
Karen Commins says
Greetings, Susan! Thanks for the kind words. In this day of increasingly instant gratification, it’s easy to think that nothing is happening in our careers if we don’t have bookings every day. In reality, though, most people who seem like an overnight sensation are really those who have been working their tails off for 10 years or more!
You just need to keep focusing on the end result you want to achieve and taking steps every day to move in that direction. Don’t worry if the steps seem small or insignificant. Their cumulative power is amazing!
Don’t worry about how or when your success will happen. That kind of thinking is actually very negative because it makes you focus on what you DON’T have instead of the life you are working to create.
Whatever you focus on is what you will continue to see in your life. If you focus on what you think you lack, you will continue to see lack show up in your life. If you focus on gratitude for what you have and excitement and enthusiasm for what you want while continuing to do your best to move toward it, you will see your life gradually change to match the picture you have in your mind.
I hope these thoughts are helpful. Best wishes for your health, prosperity, and success!