Confidence and Self Care

So early on in our voiceover classes, and literally every time I talk to folks that want to get into Voiceover, I talk about building confidence, looking stupid and embracing it, and taking care of your voice physically, by warming it up and cooling it down. That’s because It’s all related, and the connecting thread is your well-being. I know. Dang it Steve, you’re gonna dig in again, aren’t you? Yeah. Might as well get used to it.

Your health – mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually – can affect your ability to perform. In life, relationships, work and yes, even in voiceover. Simply put, when you feel good, you’re better able to express yourself.

So when I suggest to my students to let go of the fear and judgment they’ve been carrying around (in many cases it’s not even theirs!) – and going back to that childlike place inside where it was ok to be dorky, I’m simply encouraging them to work on their health.

When you forget joy and forget to play and let fear run your life, it manifests in anxiety, anger and sadness, and sometimes even physical pain or illness. Let’s go back to the sandbox analogy… when you see children playing in a sandbox and one of them is sick… unless the sickness is so bad the kid physically can’t function, that child is gonna play uninhibited with as much joy and energy as he/she/they can muster. Doesn’t matter if there’s a river of snot pouring from their nose, or if they have a cast on their arm, or they’ve got a diaper full of doody – they’re gonna use every bit of that playtime they have before they have to go take a nap, or clean up, or go eat, etc.

Unfortunately many of us lose that enthusiasm for play as we get older and start becoming self-conscious. We focus on what isn’t working or on what others tell us is OK to feel, based on their ideas and often, their fears. When you stop playing, you stop living.

I met a boy with ALS a few years ago. He no longer had any use of his body. He couldn’t speak. His organs were shutting down and he could only communicate with his eyes through a series of yes/no answers on an alphabet chart his father created. Yet even in that state, when his hero, Kari Wahlgren (if you don’t know her – look her up) came to visit, he communicated that he was a huge fan of her work… he was excited to meet her and was bordering on flirty! He remembered, even under the most extreme circumstances – the things that brought him joy and it gave him something positive to concentrate on – when everything else in his life was a struggle for survival. His family told us that it improved the quality of his life and that of everyone around him.

Now that’s an extreme example, but the point is, no matter what you’re going through, looking for the joy, staying playful and finding the funny – only serves to improve the quality of your life and enhances the quality of everything you do and everyone you interact with.

So how do the warm-ups and cool-downs apply? Even when I’m doing something as potentially mundane as a warm-up exercise, I look for the fun. If you’ve tried the warm-ups and cool-downs I’ve suggested in other blogs here, you know that most of them require some pretty ridiculous faces and actions. They’re designed to help you physically loosen the muscles and structures involved in voice work, so you feel better. But they also help you unleash your inner dork so you’re less inhibited by fear! To help you feel less restricted and more able to perform at your best, and most importantly – to ENJOY THE PROCESS. All this, plus, they help you to avoid injury and to recover from stress after. Pretty good stuff for just making weird noises and faces, huh?

When you’re feeling better physically, and emotionally, your mental abilities improve, you’re more creative, your perspective changes and life just seems a little better. I’ll leave spirituality alone for now, because some people aren’t comfortable with that. But trust me, when you seek the positive, you’re already doing that work.

Be happy, be healthy and be a dork!

Love you guys!

Steve

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