Making Friends With Your Voice
I’ve talked about this subject quite a bit in my voiceover classes and if you’ve never seen those this may seem like a bit of a tangent, but bear with me. It’s all connected.
I believe that getting to the root of the things that hold us back and walking thru the fear responsible for them creates a clearing for unleashing our potential. Many years ago I was in a 10-day leadership seminar. One of the most important principles I gleaned from the seminar was to stop letting our environment (which includes other people and their opinions, past experiences, trauma, expectation, perceived handicaps, our own insecurities, etc.) stop us from realizing our full potential and/or being happy.
The facilitator saw something in each of us that I simply couldn’t see because of my conditioning, self doubt, and insecurity. He came up to me and wrote an imaginary letter “P” on my forehead. He asked me a powerful question: “When you eventually die, do you want to exit this body knowing that the legacy you’ll leave behind was simply unrealized potential?” It seemed like a stupid, overly dramatic question at first, until I realized that once I pondered this, a flood of other questions entered my mind. I had to ask myself whether the fear, frustration and anger that I lived with constantly was how I wanted to spend the rest of my life.
Though it seemed harsh, he was simply pointing out that there was another option! There always is. He was asking if I was willing to do something TODAY to explore what that potential actually is – and give myself access to the incredible joy and satisfaction possible. That required a choice that changed my life that day. I had to choose my own happiness – and make that more important than the fear. When we allow fear to rule us, we cut ourselves off from joy. It takes courage to feel the fear and do what you love anyway. But that may be the single most important thing you can do to ensure a happy life. You have this power. You were born with it! I truly believe that we all have a purpose on this planet. Yes, YOU too.
So how do we do this? Here’s what works for me. When everything else sucks in life, I find that creating something is the best thing we can do to reconnect with what’s important. In my case, it’s through my characters or music or writing or drawing or simply marveling in nature, or good deeds – which help to create gratitude. You may enjoy one of these things too, or not. There’s a million other ways to be creative, you don’t even have to be good at it! Just do what you love.
You may also have to support that thing you love with stuff that isn’t so pleasant. I worked three jobs at the same time to support my family and my Voice Acting “habit” back in the day, and will never for a moment regret any of it. Oddly enough, those jobs gave me (among many other gifts), an incredible work ethic, one of the key requirements to a successful Voice Acting career in this amazing business.
So when it comes to your happiness, be brave! Choose to do what makes you happy. There will be “dues to pay” along the way in your Career, but know that whatever you endure on your path to happiness will ultimately support the very thing that brings you joy.
So, how does all this relate to making friends with your voice? One of the reasons so many of us don’t like the sound of our own voice is that we don’t like ourselves and judge everything we do from that lens. I’m asking you to change the lens. When you’re happy, your entire perspective changes.
Finally, here’s a little Voice Coaching for you. Try this little experiment. Read a line from your favorite story (can be from a movie, book, play, anything), just choose one that you don’t think you do well. It’s ok if you even hate the sound of your voice saying it out loud. Then, go do something that brings you the most joy in your life. Whatever that is for you! It can be as simple as petting an animal. Come back to the line with that sense of joy and satisfaction and read it from that place of love and fulfillment and notice if it sounds different. Let me know how it works out.
Thanks for being here. I love you all and am grateful for you every day.