It’s not the mic.
It’s not the audio interface.
It’s not how your room is treated, or which DAW you use. It’s not how much you practice and it’s not how much coaching or how reputable and effective your coach is.
The most important factor in the success of your voice-over business is your mindset.
Yes, of course, all of the factors I named are important in your voice-over business and career, but the one thing which will determine your success or failure is the mindset you bring to your business and your life.
Carol Dweck, author of the seminal book on the subject, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, says that mindset largely comes in one of two forms:
“In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort.”
“In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.”
Growth mindset essentially says, “ Whatever I need to develop, learn, figure out, improve, I can do that.”
Here’s the straight truth: there will be many times in your voice-over career when you will want to quit. Or you think you have no choice. Those times will happen. It’s not a question of if, but when.
When those times come, your mindset, not your mic, room, or DAW, is going to save you or sink you. Mindset will determine whether you find a way to stay in the game, or whether you toss in the towel. And staying in the game is everything.
Simon Sinek says in his book, The Infinite Game, that business is an infinite game, like life itself. The players come and go, the rules are changeable, and there is no defined endpoint. But the goal of an infinite game is not to “win,” but to stay in the game as long as possible.
You, Mr. or Ms. Voice Actor, are playing an infinite game. Your ability to stay in it is directly linked to the resilience and learning that Carol Dweck talks about.
Many of today’s influential business authors and entrepreneurial influencers are disciples of Carol Dweck. The title of Marie Forleo’s Everything is Figureoutable is a direct extension of Dweck’s influence and work.
Having a solid growth mindset means infusing it into every facet of your business and your life. It means that you don’t let little things like not knowing how or never having tried something before get in the way. You jump in, you figure it out. You make mistakes, you learn from them, you pick things up, you get better, you screw up some more, learn some more, rinse, and repeat.
A solid growth mindset means you get up early and do the hard work…the prospecting, the preparation, the accounting, the invoicing, the collections, whatever the hard work is for you…even when you don’t feel like it.
Mindset eats motivation for breakfast. At 4am.
To be resilient takes planning with the goal of staying in the game and the resolve and determination to figure it out, whatever “it” is, whenever “it” comes up.
Legendary voice actor, Kay Bess put it best for me in her keynote at VOAtlanta in 2019: “Trust and be brave.” Trust that you’ll figure it out even when the answers aren’t clear at that moment.
So many times in my career I thought “This is it. This is how it all comes crumbling down.” And every time, I remind myself to trust and be brave, and every time it works out somehow.
Here’s a good starter booklist to help you develop your growth mindset:
- Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck
- The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek
- Everything Is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo
- It Takes What It Takes by Trevor Moawad
- Rising Strong: How the Ability to Reset Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown
As always, I wish you all the best on your journey. Trust and be brave. Thanks, Kay.
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