I don’t know about you, but sometimes, I feel like the world’s worst voice actor, comedian, and human being. While sometimes I can bat these thoughts down like JJ Watt swatting down a QB pass attempt, other times they’re as sure a thing as Jay Cutler making a stupid facial expression after throwing a costly interception (can you tell I’m excited that football is back?).
When my self-confidence takes a dip, it can be for any number of reasons. Maybe the client hated my take on their script. Perhaps the sketch I thought would get me on SNL was only funny to me. Or maybe I just woke up on the wrong side of the bed, and I’m feeling crappy for no good reason at all.
It’s days like these that got me thinking: I know that I go through dips in my self-confidence, but what about the heavy hitters who I admire? The ones I imagine are swimming in pools made of coins Scrooge McDuck style- how do they get through dips in self confidence?
I wanted to know, so I asked. I reached out to a few working voice actors that I admire, and asked them this question:
Keep working, take a class, tell yourself how wonderful you are.
I usually reach out for a coach to work with me. I get new inspiration and validation that I have the perfect read and that I just need to keep swinging because one booking resets the negative loop. Meditation help me as well, like the ‘Oprah Deepak 21 day.’ Break a lip!
When your self-confidence takes a dip, all you have to do is reboot. Call on all the things that gave you self-confidence in the past and add some new motivational tools to your arsenal. New horizons are always a cure for a dip in self-confidence. If in the past you warmed up with tongue twisters, add musical scales to your vocal warm-up. When you feel that you have mastered this new technique, tackle the old and new copy with a new confidence derived from your new-mastered technique. Remember, change is growth and growth gives you a new self-confidence.
Frankly, I never lose my self-confidence.
Okay … got that joke out of the way.
I go through it daily sometimes, weekly most definitely.
I just had to learn how to Skype while recording a video game at home a week ago. The technical end was daunting and they probably won’t hire me again until I improve my equipment and get more expertise. It was a cringe worthy day. It still feels lousy because I had to be my own recording engineer and time was a wastin’ and I caused them delays with my lack of knowledge. We got through it but it was tough.
What I did with that experience was talk to myself very kindly. I mean, I had told them I was not very savvy. I told them what I used in my home studio. They chose to hire me anyway and talk me through what to do and the problems were not all necessarily my fault. I had to remember to give myself kudos for saying “yes” to a new experience. The voice end was not the problem, thankfully.
It’s like an actor that says they know how to ride a horse and then falls off. I would say “good for you!” I mean, you have to take chances in this business and if you end up looking foolish … oh well. Ya win some, ya lose some.
When most of your work is about looking for work and you are the product, it is very difficult to stay centered and trusting all the time. Acting is such a Zen challenge being that your ego needs to be very active while you try to remain surrendered and unattached.
I am coming to the end of two series and there is nothing I know of that will be replacing them. Of course I wonder if I’ll ever book anything ever again! It’s normal. So, what I do is “keep on keepin’ on.” Do the next thing that’s in front of me to do. It is a number’s game. The best is not necessarily the one who gets the job and I also rarely know why I booked something or why I didn’t.
I just have to give myself a lot of meditation time and let the Universe provide and keep on saying “yes” to what’s in front of me.
I also have been remembering what I read in a magazine on a plane. Something like, “You don’t get what you are worth, you get what you negotiate.” I’ve been throwing caution to the wind lately and have been willing to “act as if” much more than ever before. It’s rather surprising that even if you “mock it up” a bit … you can fake your way toward the goals you set for yourself until it becomes more of a reality. It really can work.
At the same time when you get your self-confidence in check, keep it in balance. You also need to be honest about your talent. If you can’t do an authentic Gaelic 12 year old girl voice, either work your ass off to perfect it or tell the truth or ask to try and give it a shot but really know your weaknesses as well as your strengths.
So, what were my takeaways from the above quotes? Well, I found it really interesting that both Randy & Barbara mention meditating- so much that I’ve begun to look into meditation myself. Surely I can find 10-20 minutes out of my daily Hearthstone-playing time and practice some mindfulness, right?
The most important takeaway I had was that everyone mentioned working through it in some form. Dave says to take a class. Randy mentions looking towards a coach. Rodney wants you to add new tools to your arsenal. Barbara says go balls to the wall and take that risk.
So, when your self-confidence takes a dip, what do you do to bring it back up?
Close your eyes, take a breath, and move forward.
Much love to Barbara Goodson, Dave Fennoy, Randy Thomas, and Rodney Saulsberry for taking time out of their busy schedules to talk to little ol’ me. Eternally grateful.