How To Make Lemonade When Life
Throws You A Bunch of Lemons
By Maxine Dunn
Voice Actor & Solopreneur
We're all going to go through challenging times in our voice over business: times when customers leave, cash flow slows, we have to move and try to conduct business during the upheaval, equipment breaks down at a crucial moment, or some other stressful event takes over.
If you're running a voice over business (and are a human being), there will be times when keeping your business going seems all but impossible.
You can sometimes feel almost incapable of keeping your thoughts focused on day-to-day business activities and client relationships when you're feeling frightened, depressed, overwhelmed, or totally frayed at the edges.
And you ARE your voice over business. You can't just call in sick and hand your responsibilities off to someone else.
This is especially true for you if you're a voice actor and creative entrepreneur because your business, quite literally, IS you.
BEFORE, DURING, AFTER DIFFICULT TIMES
I'd like to give you four pillars of strength that you can use when life throws you a bunch of lemons. These are ideas that you can use before, during, and after a particularly stressful event - whether business or personal.
And these pillars are:
BEFORE IT HAPPENS
Acknowledge that there WILL be times when things don't go your way, you'll make mistakes, or have to deal with circumstances beyond your control. Trust that you will have the strength and wherewithal to deal with these inevitable occurrences.
Start paying attention NOW to your systems, your organization, your communications and your business practices.
If you work day to day to make your business run as smoothly and efficiently as possible, you'll reduce the amount of dilemmas that are bound to appear.
WHILE IT'S HAPPENING
Make every effort to keep this event in perspective. Don't blow it out of proportion and think of it as the end of the world.
Force yourself to slow down. Stop rushing. Breathe. Don't panic.
Reframe the stressful event to reduce its emotional impact. For example, instead of seeing it as a huge mountain to overcome, visualize it as a pile of gravel that you'll be able to sweep away and handle easily.
Allow yourself a meltdown or two. A really good cry is like a pressure-release valve and can make you feel much better. And calmer.
Put a time limit on your meltdown, though. Cry for a while if you need to, but then shake it off and get back to thinking in a productive and constructive way.
Don't let the negative emotions take over so you become completely helpless. Don't be afraid or hesitant to ask for help and support from your friends and loved ones.
And accept help when it's offered. Don't think you have to "go it alone."
RIGHT AFTER IT'S HAPPENED
As quickly as possible, focus on the very next thing you can do to improve the situation - no matter how small. It might even just be a phone call. Breathe, and focus on "the next indicated thing."
Take a moment to dissociate and objectively analyze the situation.
Step "outside yourself" and look at the situation as if you were an observer, looking in from the outside, almost as if you're watching a movie. This helps you get a different view of what's happening.
You may notice as you watch yourself that you've been impatient, unprepared, disorganized, had unrealistic expectations or been procrastinating, and perhaps one of these has contributed to the situation.
Or you may also discover that you've unnecessarily taken on someone else's issue as your own.
Try to look at the situation objectively and think what you could have done differently.
Find a creative diversion for a while. Dance, sing, read, write, color in a Mandala or a coloring book. Go for a walk or spend time in nature. Watch the bird feeder or the aquarium. Delve into the right side of your brain for a little while.
Write a list of your accomplishments to remind yourself that you are capable, accomplished, and strong. Remind yourself that this situation is temporary.
MOVE FORWARD WITH POWER AND FOCUS
Immediately look for "the seed of equivalent benefit." (A Napoleon Hill term.)
In any adversity there is always something you can learn, something positive that can result, a lesson to be learned or a better way of doing things. Look hard to see the positive (it's there!) that can come from this situation.
Take an honest look to see if this was a one-time event or if it's a recurring problem.
If this stressful situation is something that occurs over and over, it's an indication that there's a flaw in your systems, approach, or communication that needs to be addressed. Determine if there's a habit you need to change, a way you could communicate better, or if you need to be more organized or learn new technology.
BE HELPFUL AND KIND
Decide to let go of the pain of what didn't work out or the mistakes you made or the stressful exchange you had with someone else. Forgive those who've hurt you and forgive yourself for not being perfect.
Release the past and turn towards the future with renewed optimism.
Take time to do something helpful or kind for someone else while you're recovering from a bad time yourself. Get out of your head and walk away from the immersion in your problem by giving your time, your love, and your wisdom to someone who needs it.
We're all going to experience bad times. Stressful times. Times where we just want to cry.
But if you take these experiences step by step and walk yourself through the difficulties with your eye on creating a positive outcome, you'll feel so much better, much faster than you expected.
Maxine Dunn is a full-time voice over artist, author and award-winning motivational business writer. Her voice has been heard in commercials, documentaries, corporate narrations and voice-mail systems, and she maintains an extensive clientele locally, nationally and internationally. Maxine is a British native, and her ability to also deliver a perfect American accent gives her business a wide range. She is the author of the eBook, The Voice Actorís Tool Box Ė Beginnerís Edition. Get started in your voice-over career with these step-by-step, low cost strategies, a comprehensive manual for launching a business in voice overs. She also offers a free weekly newsletter The Creative Business Advisor, where she provides business success advice, motivation and resources to voice actors and creative entrepreneurs.
The Voice Actorís Tool Box eBook: www.thevoiceactorstoolbox.com
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