Many factors come into play for building a successful voice over career, and one of the most important is your mindset. And your mindset goes much deeper than, say, having a positive or negative attitude.
I’m talking about the attitudes and beliefs outlined by Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck, who has done extensive research related to two main types of mindsets: the fixed mindset and the growth mindset. Each mindset comes with its own set of beliefs that shape the way individuals approach their VO careers – and their overall lives.
The Fixed Mindset vs. The Growth Mindset
Folks who have a fixed mindset believe they were born with a certain amount of intelligence, talent, and skills, and those traits are fixed in place. No matter what they do or how hard they try, there’s no way to increase those traits.
On the opposite side of the fence is the growth mindset. This mindset assumes the intelligence, character traits and creative abilities we harbor at birth are just a starting point, and they can all be strengthened and enhanced throughout our lives.
More on the Fixed Mindset
Because people with fixed mindsets think the hand they were dealt is as good as it gets, their mission in life becomes proving they were dealt an amazing hand. Every success confirms they have the winning hand, while every failure is a blatant sign of deficiencies.
The Fixed Mindset:
- Views success as validation of their inherent traits
- Views failures as proof of deficiencies
- Avoids challenges as they may result in failure
- Gives up easily in the face of obstacles
- Sees effort as useless since they’re already born with what they need
- Ignores constructive criticism
- Feels threatened by the success of others
More on the Growth Mindset
Those with a growth mindset believe hard work and targeted efforts can bring about significant changes in our level of intelligence, talent and skills – or even in our personality traits. Failures are not seen as proof of deficiencies but rather as valuable lessons that help stretch existing abilities to even higher heights.
The Growth Mindset:
- Views success as the reward for their hard work and efforts
- Views failure as valuable lessons
- Thrives on challenges and pushes to higher heights
- Persists in the face of obstacles
- Sees effort as the path to mastery
- Learns from constructive criticism
- Feels inspired by and learns lessons from the success of others
How a Fixed Mindset Might Approach a VO Career
Someone with a fixed mindset may go into a career as a voice over artist with high hopes of proving their innate talents and skills in the area. Since they were born with all the talent they need, they may not be interested in advanced training or putting intense effort into sharpening their skills.
They’ll instead sit at a microphone, send out audition after audition, knowing they’ll eventually be hailed as the highly talented and amazing voice over artist they feel they are. They may land a job or two, but then notice the majority of auditions they send get no response whatsoever.
Rather than trying to figure out why some auditions get no response, they look at the ones that do – then go for jobs that are similar to those they’re already landing. They may discover they have a strong, inherent talent for political voice overs, for instance, but notice they get no response when they send out auditions for commercials or e-books.
So they focus solely on political voice-overs, responding to calls for auditions, and also contacting companies directly to offer their services, whether the company called for an audition or not.
While they may have failed to land voice over jobs outside a specific niche, that’s perfectly fine with them. They’ll stick with a category in which know they excel and it’s easy to prove it again and again.
What a Growth Mindset Might Do
A person with a growth mindset may enter a career as a voice over artist with the same aim of success, but they’re likely to prepare with voice training, learning the necessary software skills, and taking a few marketing classes to help spread the word about their new adventure.
When the auditions they send out get no response, they may seek advice from voice over pros or additional training to improve weaknesses in their performance. While it may take some time to land a single gig, they’re learning a lot along the way.
The first audition they sent out is drastically different than the much-improved 36th audition they sent out, and their work keeps getting more refined and on target with consistent effort and hard work.
Over time, their career may be filled with ups and downs, but each down is a chance to look at how far they’ve come and where they want to go next with the development of their VO career. They learn new technology and techniques as the needs arise, keeping their skills aligned with current trends.
When they see others succeed in the same field, they get inspired and are eager to learn more about how the person is making it work. It reinforces that they, too, can enjoy success if they put in enough effort and work.
Mindset, of course, is just one of the factors playing a role in the outcome of a voice over career. Other factors are totally outside our control, and they can be working for or against an individual at any given time.
Someone with a fixed mindset may be more prone to giving up if they keep hitting a brick wall, then moving on to try something new. Someone with a growth mindset may keep pushing their limits to overcome the challenges that appear to block their path.
Tips for Cultivating a Growth Mindset
While the fixed or growth mindset can both lead to positive outcomes in different ways, the growth mindset can be an asset in certain situations to help increase the likelihood of success. Our mindsets are formed at an early age, but it’s never too late to change them.
Developing a growth mindset is possible for anyone, and a few tips from InformED may help:
- Trade the word “failing” for the word “learning”: Everything is a learning experience, no matter how it turns out.
- Admit, and even embrace, your imperfections: Acknowledging weaknesses can lead to overcoming them.
- Focus on growth over speed, keeping in mind it can take some time to learn or master a new trait.
- Focus on learning over approval: If your main goal is to get approval, you diminish your potential for growth.
- Make a new goal every time you accomplish an existing one: Those with a growth mindset tend to constantly set goals to keep themselves active and growing.
- Become friends with the word “yet”: Instead of simply saying you haven’t mastered something, tell yourself you just haven’t mastered it – yet.
Just like any other goal you set out to achieve, cultivating a growth mindset is going to take time, effort, and practice. Yet the small changes in thinking can result in larger changes in your attitudes and behaviors that notably improve your likelihood for success, whether it’s with a voice over career or any other path you choose.
Looking for success with your next voice over project? Contact Debbie today.
Denise Bowens says
I truly enjoyed this article!!. I’m in the infancy stage of Voice over. The growth mindset will allow me to soar!!!!
Peter Abraham says
This is such an inspirational post, Debbie. I totally agree that one needs to keep pace with changing times. Improving your skill level can only be done by challenging yourself to do various kind of VO works rather than limiting yourself to just a few. this will help you grow and be recognized.
Debbie Grattan says
Thanks for your comment Peter. I appreciate it very much! All the best to you!