We all have those days. The sun comes up, your alarm goes off, and you just want to pull the covers back over your head. You have no interest in getting up and facing such a tumultuous world. It could be the election, COVID, family fighting, social media vitriol, or a multitude of other things. Whatever the circumstance, you just can’t seem to face the day, much less run your Voiceover business. How can you be expected to be a BOSS in a world that seems to be falling apart around you? How can you take one more step when you’re just exhausted physically and mentally? First off, know that you are not alone. As a VO BOSS and CEO of my own business for close to 15 years now, I thought I would share a few helpful tips and tricks that I use myself when things seem dark and overwhelming.
Stand in the place that you are.
Before you think of trying to just “toughen up”, or “push through it”, stop. The first step is to acknowledge the fact of where you are and how you’re feeling right now. It’s worth taking the time to recognize how you’re feeling, and what the situation or circumstance really is. Staying in denial will only make it take longer to address and work through. I like to think of my emotions, feelings, or thoughts like a chair in an empty room. I could walk up to the chair and ignore it, or I could deny that it was there, or even analyze all the elements of the chair. But ultimately, I just need to sit in the chair. Really sit in it and be willing to experience and accept it. It’s only then that I can move on. As entrepreneurs and artists, sometimes we forget that if we don’t face a situation head-on, even if we can’t change it, it will color and taint everything we try to accomplish. As a good friend once told me, “The truth will set you free, right after it pisses you off.”
You got to move it move it.
This next step is very often skipped. It’s easy to try and think your way out of situations. And you may think you can think yourself free from your emotional state. However, your brain and body are connected, and all that pent-up energy and emotion needs an outlet. You need to move. Physically move your body. Break a sweat, go for a walk, do a little housework, anything that gets your muscles moving. Your body has to have an outlet for the buildup of stress or anxiety that you feel. The science behind this is clear, when you move, your brain releases endorphins, dopamine, adrenaline, all designed to help you to feel happier, more confident, and capable. As entrepreneurs, it’s not uncommon to sit in front of our computers most of the day. Without even knowing it, hours and hours can fly by and we haven’t moved. So unstuck yourself, and move. I cannot tell you how much better I feel after a spin on my bike (Fun Fact: Did you know that's how I met my hubby? Yup, he was my spin instructor 20 years ago!!!)
Kondo it up
What brings you joy? What is it that you do, maybe a hobby, a pet, chatting with a friend, that makes you smile? This next step involves doing something that brings you happiness. It can be small like sitting on your porch and watching the leaves blow. Or maybe you play an instrument. Or play with your VO StudioCats! :) Do something that when you’re done gives you a little bit of energy. A little bit of joy. It helps you understand that not all the world is darkness. It gives you just enough light and energy to help propel you forward. It’s said that happy people do things that make them happy. Sometimes we have to “do” something before we can “be” it.
Purge the system
Now that you’ve gotten your body going and you have created a spark of joy for yourself, it’s time to let it all out. Whichever way works best for you, either typing or writing with a pen and paper, write it all down. Start to journal. This is a brain dump kind of writing. Write with gusto, energy, and from the perspective of an emotional 4-year-old throwing a temper tantrum. Set a timer for 20 minutes and just start dumping your brain onto the page. Don’t censor yourself. Everything needs to come out of every dark corner. This is a great way to stop yourself from potentially overreacting or posting something you might regret on social media. Don’t worry about spelling or anything you would normally care about when writing (anybody that knows me knows I can't type anyway! I've long gotten over my self-consciousness about it). And, by the way, no one is going to see this. You’re going to delete it when you’re done. So just do it! Swear, curse, be emotional on the page. Write things that you would never in a million years say out loud to someone. You aren’t trying to be smart, or politically correct, or eloquent. Your job here is to blow everything out on to the page so that it doesn’t clog the drain in your head.
This too shall pass.
You’ve sat in the chair, moved your body, found a spark of joy, and cleaned out the cobwebs and gunk from your head. Now it’s time to breathe, soothe, and remind yourself that all of this is temporary. No matter what the situation or circumstance, it will pass. Everything you’re experiencing is transitory and a new moment is right around the corner. Your feelings are temporary, your circumstance is temporary, and if you want to go deep, even you are temporary. Life and time continue, what you’re worried about is going to pass eventually. When you can breathe into that idea, you will realize that you have a choice. You have your power and can rise above the noise to move forward. As voice actors, we have notoriously thick skin. We see rejection all day every day. Use that paradigm to realize that what you’re facing is just another moment where you get to do your best and move on.
Sit in the chair, move, create joy, let it all out, and then breathe into the ephemeral. The last step isn’t really a step. It’s to start doing again. I like to think that motivation comes from momentum, not the other way around. You will be surprised if you have worked through all the other steps and you just start doing the thing you need to do, your motivation will come to you. The effort of the thing will create the inspiration you need to keep going. You will find that running your business will keep you grounded and help you to feel in control. Once you get the engine started, it’s much easier to keep it running. As VO BOSSES, you’re going to have ups and downs, good and bad days, hard and easy times. You have the power and tools to rock your business like a boss no matter the circumstance. And please - Let me know if I can help - I'm a good listener! Now - Go get ‘em!
Much love and Keep on rockin' your biz.
About the Author: Anne Ganguzza is a full-time voice talent and award-winning director and producer who works with students to develop their voice over and business skills - including VO demo training and production. She specializes in Conversational Commercial and Narration styles, including Corporate, E-Learning, Technology, Healthcare - Medical, Telephony, and On-Hold. Located in Orange County, CA, Anne offers private coaching and mentoring services to students in person and via Skype, ipDTL or Zoom.