I found this article by James Clear to be very insightful and thought-provoking. It is relevant for voice artists and anyone who “creates” for a living, which includes a lot of people beyond our typical definition of what an artist is. He opens with a story about a very famous choreographer named Agnes de Mille…
“Agnes de Mille had just achieved the greatest success of her career, but right now the only thing she felt was confusion.
She was a dancer and a choreographer. Early in her career, de Mille had created the choreography for a ballet called, “Three Virgins and a Devil.” She thought it was good work, but nobody made much of it.
A few years later, de Mille choreographed a ballet named, “Rodeo.” Again, she thought her work was solid, but it resulted in little commercial fame.
Then, in 1943, de Mille choreographed “Oklahoma!,” a musical show from Rodgers and Hammerstein that enjoyed nearly instant success. In the coming years, “Oklahoma!” would run for an incredible 2,212 performances, both around the nation and abroad. In 1955, the film version won an Academy Award.
Continue Reading James’ article about the hidden dangers of comparing yourself to others.
I especially enjoyed this passage of his article:
“If what you write on your paper doesn’t meet someone else’s expectations … it is no concern of yours. The way someone else perceives what you do is a result of their own experiences (which you can’t control), their own tastes and preferences (which you can’t predict), and their own expectations (which you don’t set). If your choices don’t match their expectations that is their concern, not yours.
Your concern is to do the work, not to judge it. Your concern is to fall in love with the process, not to grade the outcome. Keep your eyes on your own paper.”
Avoiding Self-Judgment as Voice Artists
We can put this into some perspective as working voice artists, where we are in competition daily and constantly judged by our work. I think the key takeaway here is to stay strong in the belief of our inherent talent, no matter whether we win the next voiceover audition or make the monthly income goal every single month.
Of course, it is pretty important that SOMEBODY out there is liking our voice and hiring us for jobs.
Even though you don’t win every audition you send in, it is important that you feel you are winning your fair share and have recurring voiceover clients who contact you regularly for repeat business. If that is not happening, then you are getting clear feedback that indicates something needs to change.
It’s important to notice the feedback and take appropriate action. Life is all about “course-correction” based on feedback.
While it is good to have measures and goals, it’s also necessary to value one’s gifts and express and share those gifts with the world. Most of us (I hope) became actors and voice artists because we have a genuine love for the craft and doing the work. That’s the core that we must always revisit, when the bookings or income are not in perfect alignment with our expectations.
Do you find yourself being too judgmental of your voice or voice over skills, abilities and talents? How do you deal with that and turn it around?
I would love to hear about your experiences and ways of approaching this very common artistic dilemma. Please share comments below!