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How To KILL Your Fear Of Rejection
And Failure: 8 PROVEN Methods

By Paul Schmidt
Voice Actor & Coach

"Everything you've ever wanted is on the other side of fear."

That's a quote from George Addair. And it's so true for voice actors.

I talked to almost 70 voice actors face-to-face. And by far the biggest fear we have is the fear of failure. That one root fear permeates everything we do.
  • Fear of auditioning.
  • Fear of rejection.
  • Fear of standing up for our worth.
  • Fear of pushing back on a client.
  • Fear of demanding pro rates.
  • Fear of annoying people.
  • Fear of not executing the audition spec.
And the list goes on and on and on. So today, we're going to give you eight proven methods to kill your fear of failure and rejection.


One of the best ways to kill your fear of failure is to desensitize yourself to it. In other words, seek it out.
  • If you fear failing in auditions, then do more auditions.
  • If you fear annoying people or not hearing back from prospects, reach out to more prospects.
  • If you fear standing up for your worth and demanding fair rates, then confront that fear and stand up for fair rates.
There's a fantastic book I recommend called Go for No. At its core, it's a sales book, but it's really a book about desensitizing yourself to failure and rejection.

Here's an excerpt from Go For No:
There was an insurance company in Chicago that called in a consultant to analyze why their profits were declining.The company was averaging only two and a half sales per agent per month.

So the consultant came in and immediately put his finger on the problem. He told them, "Your only problem is that you're not reaching out to enough people."

This solution was way too simple for the top executives at the company. So the consultant said, "I'll prove it to you."

He took a group of their salespeople, a cross-section of the sales force from best or worst, and told them, "Effective today you're going to start selling policies door to door in neighborhoods where you don't know a soul. There will be no leads provided. There will be no qualifying of prospects. And when the person does open the door, you must start the sales call with the following words: 'You don't want to buy any life insurance, do you?'"

Their mission was to simply see how many people they could repeat that message to every day. That was it.

Needless to say, the salespeople were a little skeptical. The approach failed. 59 out of every 60 people they approach declined.

But one out of every 60 said, "As a matter of fact, I do need insurance. Come on in and sign me up."

Now, if you said one of 60, is it a very good closing ratio? You'd be right... If it took a month to see 60 prospects. But with the consultant's approach, the average salesperson found that it only took about 8 hours to approach 60 people.

As a result, they immediately began averaging about one sale per day (or about 22 per month), up from two and a half sales a month.
That's almost a 10X increase.

Look, if you're taking an hour to audition, somebody else is knocking out 6 to 12 auditions in that same hour and, many times over, increasing their chance of booking a gig.

Get your audition process down to a science where you can do an audition in minutes, not an hour. The more auditions you do, the more people you reach out to, the more conversations you start in the better chance you have to book work.

You're not going for batting average. You're going for hits. And the more plate appearances you can create for yourself, the more hits you will get.

Again, everything you've ever wanted is on the other side of fear.


My dear friend and phenomenal voice actor from Toronto, Canada, Emma O'Neill, has a great way of reframing rejection.

She says that when you don't put a gig, it's not that you're being rejected. It's simply lack of selection.

Just because you didn't book a specific job doesn't mean you didn't submit a great audition, maybe even the best audition. It just means they chose somebody else.

Your job is not to book the gig. Let me say that again. Your job is not to book the gig.

Why? Because you have zero control over that. Your job is to turn in a fantastic audition. That's what you have control over.

Your job is to make the casting director or producer go, "You know what? They weren't the best person for this particular job, but they clearly know what they're doing. They're very good and I want to work with them in the future."

My current coach is a prominent casting director and in one recent coaching session, we went over an audition that I did for her agency. Turns out she loved it and I got shortlisted. Did I book the gig? No. Can I control that? Also, no. Did she take notice? Yes.

I could control that by doing a great audition. And I did. There were A-list Hollywood celebrities on that casting call, and they didn't book it either. Were they rejected? No.

They just like me, simply weren't selected.


If you lack confidence in your audition, it's often because you're not prepared and you know it.

Preparation breeds confidence - and a lack of confidence in your training breeds a lack of confidence in your reads, which in turn makes your book even less. And it's a downward spiral from there.

Conversely, when you're confident in your training and confident in your process and your reads, that breeds more booking.

This is also true, by the way, on the marketing side. If you've been trained to market your VO business and you have confidence in your process, that leads through to your messaging, how you deal with clients, how you set expectations with them and set rates, and that breeds more direct opportunities.

If you're well-trained, trust your training. And if you're not well-trained, get good training.


Ever audition for that perfect gig? That big one, the one you really want, and maybe you even get shortlisted and maybe even you get put on hold... and then you don't book it.

Yeah, that stinks. It's like going to the championship game and losing.

It hurts even more than not even getting to the championship game, which is stupid and silly and I don't know why, but that's the way it is.

The truth is, every failure, every rejection is another opportunity to collect people that you can later tell, "I told you so."

The great Michael Jordan was famous for this. He was also famous for getting cut from his high school basketball team. And he went on to become the greatest NBA player of all time. Jordan took every slight, every snub, every tiny little sign of disrespect and used it as fuel.

Collect haters, stick them in your pocket, then show them what you're made of.


Look, we all have failures and rejection, some bigger than others.

The great quarterback Russell Wilson once threw an interception that lost the Super Bowl, but he resolved right then and there on the field to not let that failure define him. And he didn't.

Part of not letting failure define you is understanding and recognizing that you're human and you're never going to stop making mistakes. You're never going to stop failing. Somebody will always reject or not select your work.

Your mindset determines what defines you. Will it be your effort? Will it be your relentlessness? Will it be your consistency?

Or will you let failure define you?

Number 6: GET IN THE GYM

Now, wait, just hold on a minute here, Paulie. We're talking about voice acting. Why are you telling me to get in the gym? Alright, stick with me on this.

Giving yourself a physical challenge is, in reality, giving yourself a mental and emotional challenge. Your brain experiences mental and emotional pain much the same way it experiences physical pain.

So giving yourself a physical challenge and being able to train yourself to push through physical discomfort also trains your brain to push through mental and emotional discomfort.
  • Training your body to adapt to a stressful situation.
  • Lifting a weight, running a certain distance.
  • Increasing your joint mobility.
That also trained your mind to adapt to stressful situations. It builds resiliency and grit and it makes you mentally tougher.

Some of the best lessons I've learned in business and in voiceover have come from the gym. Lessons like Trust your training. Don't let failure define you. Fear as fuel, and so on.

All of those came from training in the gym, and they're all applicable to voiceover, to business, and to the rest of your life.


The fact is, we all have failure and lack of selection. It's part of voice acting, part of business, part of life. Hell, it's even part of love.

Building your community of fellow voice actors around you will help you understand that you are not alone.

Join the Facebook groups, join an accountability group or get an accountability partner. Find a local workout group. Go to the conferences. Develop friendships with other voice actors. Support them. Build them up. And I promise you they will do the same for you many, many times over.

We're all stuck in our tiny, little padded rooms talking to ourselves, and it's the easiest thing in the world to get squirrely and up in your head, especially if you're having a slump.

Having a community of voice actors to talk to during those times will remind you that all slumps come to an end as long as you keep putting in the work.


This is a big one. Stop comparing yourself to others.

There's always going to be somebody better with better equipment who has better training and a more on-trend sound. Somebody with better access. Somebody with a better agent. Somebody with better followers, and so on and so on and so on.

Stop comparing yourself to other people. The only person you need to compare yourself to is yourself.

Your job is to get 1% better every day. You know, if you do that mathematically at the end of one year, you'll be 37 times better than you were when you started out.

The only thing you can control is your mindset and your actions. You can't control how good other people are, how much competition there is in the marketplace. How many people answer a casting call? You can't control how hard and smart anybody else works except yourself. You can't control anybody else's training and dedication but your own.

Control what and who you can control, and fuck the rest.
Paul Schmidt is a successful voice actor, community builder, and voiceover business coach. He's also the creator of the VO Freedom Master Plan (see link below), a voiceover marketing program designed to take voice actors from part-time income, relying on the pay-to-plays, booking inconsistently, to having a plan and system to grow relationships at-scale that lead to consistent business, booking, and income. Paul has been a voice actor for over 20 years and full-time for the last several. He lives in beautiful Richmond, VA with his son, Robbie.

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Comments (3)
11/17/2022 at 4:19 PM
What I needed to read today! And I shared it with my accountability group.
Paul Schmidt
11/3/2022 at 12:41 PM

Thanks for sharing this with your readers. I'm super grateful.

If anyone would like to learn more, go to

Many thanks,

Judy Fossum
11/3/2022 at 12:05 PM
Wowza. This post hits it "right where it hurts" (and I mean that in a good way). Fantastic, great insight, awesome tips, and I love the gym analogy. Yep, there are certain things we have control over and those we don't. Realizing and accepting what and who those are is imperative. Then it's taking those action steps, being decisive (of course first comes proper training and research from reputable coaches, courses, books, sites, etc.), taking that proverbial leap and going for it. This is one of the best posts I've read in some time. Super helpful, spot on (at least for me), and all around awesome. Thank you.
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