A positive attitude is one thing that people always advise you to have when starting or pursuing a voice-over career. You probably even think you have one. I thought I did….until I realized just how pervasive our negative thoughts and words really are.
For instance, in one of the on-line voice-over forums, we were discussing an audio recording technique. Someone made a comment like “I could kick myself that I wasn’t smart enough to figure it out for myself.”
We think and say things like that all of the time without ever realizing the negative energy lurking in our words.
That particular example is a double negation of self. First, the “kick myself” part could cause you to feel actual pain in your body. Your ears are listening to every word that comes out of your mouth. Your brain is processing those words and may interpret them as commands.
Some very common phrases that people use without thinking can cause mental or physical pain, especially when repeated and said with emotion:
- Someone is a pain in the neck or butt.
- I’d give my right arm for that.
- That thing is to die for.
- I am blown away by that.
- That person is driving me crazy.
- That situation is on my last nerve.
- I love that person to death.
The “I wasn’t smart enough” part of the forum comment is the part I really want to discuss today. Saying “I wasn’t smart enough” re-inforces a negative belief system. If the person thinks they weren’t smart enough for one thing, maybe they start thinking they aren’t smart enough for other things as well.
When I’m around people who put forth such comments, I offer them a different perspective. I urge them to think and speak kindly of themselves. Rather than saying “I wasn’t not smart enough”, the person in the example could instead think something like “I had a good workflow but am happy to learn an easier way to do it.”
Vigilance is necessary when monitoring your thoughts. We can’t help that first, unbidden, unwelcome thought. Two steps are necessary to maintain a positive attitude after having it:
- Don’t say it! Saying the thought gives it a life out in the Universe. What you put out in the world comes back to you, probably in ways you didn’t expect.
- Think a different, better-feeling thought as your next thought. This is your life, and your thoughts and words are your script. As Joel Osteen advises, don’t use your words to describe the situation. Use your words to change the situation.
Lately, I started to question whether I have lost my ambition or motivation. This negative thought only came to me when I looked at this blog and realized that I have not written a post of substance in 3 months.
It was bad enough to think it, let alone say it. When I heard myself say these things about myself, I felt bad. I felt discouraged. That’s what these insidious negative thoughts do — they make us feel bad and may paralyze us from reaching our destiny!
The bad thoughts and feelings multiplied even though all other evidence about my ambition and motivation told me both were in overflowing abundance:
- I’ve been super busy recording and producing audiobooks this year and enjoying every minute.
- I’ve been creating a new web site to promote my audiobook work.
- I have a new agent.
- I attended the Audio Publisher Association Conference in New York.
- I continuously add ideas to my Evernote notebooks for blog topics, selections I could read for the Going Public project, artwork to accompany both types of creations, and more.
If I had repeatedly said “I am not motivated” or “I lack ambition”, those statements — like all words we speak — would have become a self-fulfilling prophecy!
I’ve been writing this blog for 6 years and previously had missed only 2 months (August 2009 and November 2011) when I didn’t have at least one new post. Those missed months followed major life changes for me — the loss of my mother in 2009 and an early retirement from the day job last year.
When I really thought about my motivation and ambition, I realized I have not lost either. Instead, I’ve gained new freedoms I previously had only imagined.
I’m still adjusting to being a full-time voice actor and audiobook narrator. My new role means that I can go to breakfast, shopping, or to a movie with Drew any day of the week. I can take a nap any time I want. With another big change in my life, it’s natural that other changes would occur, like writing less frequently on this blog.
This picture recently was shared on Facebook and nicely sums up this post:
The key is to keep reminding yourself of all the positive things you are. I have been writing a growing list of “I AM” statements, like I am talented, I am creative, and I am blessed. I pull out the list when I feel negativity creeping into my thoughts.
As you might have guessed, the last 2 statements that I added to my list are:
I am ambitious.
I am motivated.
If you’ll start keeping a list of “I AM” statements and repeating them to yourself, you’ll find that you’ll have more than a positive attitude. You’ll have a positive MINDSET!