sign up for our
NEWSLETTER

Home Shop Subscribe Advertise Articles Directories Classifieds Calendar FAQs Contact Us Login
CAREER:
Feeling Stuck? How To Get Rid
Of Deadly 'Paralysis of Analysis'

By Maxine Dunn
Voice Actor & Solopreneur  

Do these scenarios sound familiar?  

1. You’re mulling over the colors to use on your new voice over website. For the 50th time. It’s been three months now and your new website is still not up.  

2. You’ve decided that to enhance your voice over marketing strategy, you’re going to start a blog, create a Twitter account, and a LinkedIn profile. But you can’t decide which to do first. Each one seems equally important. So you haven’t done anything.  

3. You’ve finally completed your voice over demo and website and everything’s ready to go for a full-on marketing push. But instead of getting busy, you’re having another "last minute session” with your coach and you’re "tweaking” your website or demo AGAIN to make sure it’s "perfect” before you start marketing.  

WELL ... IS THIS YOU?

If these scenarios (or something similar) describe you, then you’re probably caught up in what’s called the "Paralysis of Analysis.”

And if you’re a voice actor, this is one of the worst places you can be. If you stay here too long, this will literally kill your chances of having a successful career.

Not only are you leaving money on the table by not moving your voice over business forward assertively, you’re reinforcing the bad habit of not acting decisively.  

WHAT'S GOING ON?

So what exactly is the Paralysis of Analysis?   

It means that you are frozen in time, due to over-analyzing a situation.

It may "seem” like you’re doing something: you’re worrying, second-guessing details, getting more and more opinions, thinking hard - but you’re not actually moving forward.

Yes, maybe you’re mentally active, but your business is staying in exactly the same place.  

And this endless loop of over-thinking comes from:  
  • Creating too many choices for yourself, which results in confusion  
  • Being fearful of making the wrong choice, which then leads to inaction  
  • Taking advice from too many different people, which makes you doubt your own decisions 
  • Fooling yourself into thinking that you’re assertively moving forward, when in fact you’re barely inching forward at all  
ACT NOW ..

One of the keys to creating momentum in your voice over career is to take action and then course-correct as you move forward.

You can’t steer a car that’s parked at a standstill! You have to be moving in order to determine where to go next.

And again, analyzing something a hundred times over before coming to a decision is not "moving forward.”  

HOW TO MOVE FORWARD

So now that we’ve determined that being paralyzed by over-analyzing will derail your voice over business momentum, here are some steps you can start taking right away to get into action:  

1. Reduce Your Choices 

Paralysis often results from trying to incorporate too much advice from too many sources.

Decide on one, maybe two, coaches to receive guidance from for now, and tune everyone else OUT.

Take a deep breath and make a firm choice on whose advice, coaching, or information you’re going to listen to.

TOO MUCH GUIDANCE

If you ask 10 different coaches what you should do, you’ll get ten different answers. More information is not necessarily better.

Drastically narrow your choices and get firm on whose counsel you’re going to pay attention to.

The paralysis of analysis will be a thing of the past when you narrow your choices and get crystal clear on whose advice to follow.    

2. Create A Timeline

Create a timeline for the project or idea you’re working on and STICK TO IT.

This applies whether you’re updating your demos, re-designing your website, or establishing a new marketing plan. 

Are you familiar with "Parkinson’s Law?” It states that "Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.” In other words, the longer you have to complete a project, the longer it will take to complete it!  

CLEAR AND SPECIFIC

To avoid over-thinking something and thus having it drag on forever, give yourself a clear and definite timeline for its completion.
  • Set a SPECIFIC deadline.
  • Outline the exact steps for its completion.
  • Set specific dates to complete these steps.
  • Then stick like glue to these steps, timeline, and deadline.
The paralysis of analysis doesn’t stand a chance against a voice actor with firm deadlines.

3. Practice Making Firm Decisions
FAST
! 

If you’ve spent a lot of time postponing making decisions, your "decision-making muscle” has become flabby.

And the inability to make decisions is responsible for keeping you paralyzed in analysis.

The good news is that with practice, you can develop your ability to make decisions. And the more you practice making firm decisions quickly, the easier it will become.

You do this by taking disciplined action and making firm decisions, fast.

START SMALL

Start practicing with small things. For instance, at Starbucks, instead of pondering what you want to order, walk up to the counter and place your order within 10 seconds.

Start "practicing” making quick, firm decisions. From placing your order at a restaurant, to what flight to take on a trip, to what colors to use on your new voice over website.

The paralysis of analysis will be a thing of the past when you start flexing your "decision-making muscle” in as many areas as you can.    

4. Tame The Perfectionist

Let go of your tendency to be a perfectionist. 

One of the primary reasons that you’re paralyzed by over-analysis is because of your desire to do exactly the right thing. Or to have everything turn out perfectly. Or to not be wrong.  

Perfectionism is one of the most paralyzing tendencies a voice over artist can have.

You have to be willing to take imperfect action.

There’s a saying, "Imperfect action is better than perfect inaction.” Think about that.

The most important thing you can do is to take action. If it’s not exactly the right action, don’t worry! You can course-correct, improve, and modify as you move forward.

PARALYSIS WILL FADE

Let go of the feeling that you need everything to be perfect. Release the need to have every single duck in a row before you launch.

Of course you want to be well-informed and you don’t want to be sloppy, but the paralysis of analysis feeds on your mistaken idea that everything has to be perfect.

Be willing to take imperfect action and watch the paralysis of analysis fade into oblivion as you gain momentum.    

BOOSTS YOUR CONFIDENCE

Getting the Paralysis of Analysis out of your life will change your voice over business in ways that you never thought possible.

Your self-confidence will explode, your decision-making abilities will expand, and your bottom line will most certainly grow as you learn to get moving and take action.

ABOUT MAXINE ...

Maxine Dunn is a top voice over artist and on-camera spokesperson who has been seen and heard in hundreds of commercials, documentaries, corporate narrations, voice-mail systems and websites. She is a British native and her ability to also deliver a perfect American accent gives her business a wide range. She works with Fortune 100 companies, award-winning creative teams, and maintains an extensive clientele - locally, nationally, and internationally. Best known for her voice over and spokesperson expertise, she is also an avid writer who enjoys bringing stimulating and motivating material to her readers. Her free weekly e-zine, The Creative Business Advisor, is available at her website (below).

Web: www.maxinedunn.com
Email: Maxine@maxinedunn.com
Complimentary newsletter sample: http://conta.cc/MaxineNL

Your Daily Resource For Voice-Over Success
Tell Us What YOU Think!
Please Note: Since we check for spam, there will be a slight delay in the actual posting of your comment.
Your Name:
Your Email Address (will not be published):
Your Comment:
Your Comment:
Security code:     
Comments (8)
Maxine Dunn
12/22/2011 at 12:51 PM
Hi Everyone!

Thank you Patrick, Pearl, Philip, Dan, Juan, Glad Faith, and Celia, so much for your wonderful comments! I think this is something we all deal with at some point or another and it does take strength and focus to “push” through the inertia.

I believe that simple awareness can sometimes be curative, so just “actively noticing” that we’re doing something which isn’t helping us is the first step to moving beyond it.

I do think overcoming these challenges is an on-going process, and we may have to tackle the same hurdle again in the future. But each time we do it, it gets easier. I also think that focusing on the BENEFITS you'll receive if you get over the paralysis of analysis will spur you onward.

Wishing everyone a wonderful and prosperous New Year! Let’s galvanize our strength and make 2012 the best year ever!

Love,
Maxine
xox
Celia Lynn
12/21/2011 at 2:43 PM
Wow! Thanks, Maxine!

I read this and felt you were talking right to me. Excellent info. And just knowing that others have gone through this idiocy gives me some hope that I can overcome it. I KNOW I'm not getting enough done in my career. And I DID take forever to get my website up (years ago, now) and one of the reasons WAS the colors, etc. Unbelievable. And now, I'm getting more into audiobooks and I've been trying to record them with the same precision that I put into :30 and :60 commercials! Logically, I KNOW that's impossible, but I still have been trying to and it drives me crazy. I've already written out your reminder phrase: "Imperfect Action is better than Perfect Inaction" and I've got it here in front of my monitor so I will see it when recording and doing all my other work here in the booth.

For the moment, I feel I can conquer this, but I'm sure I'll have to re-read your tips. So I'm very glad they're there and glad you wrote this piece! I truly appreciate your insight and advice.

Have a Merry Christmas & a Super 2012!
Celia
CeliaLynn.com
Glad Faith Klassen
12/20/2011 at 4:09 PM
Thanks you, Maxine!
This is just what I needed to hear today!
Have a wonderful Christmas...and the best new year ever!

Glad Faith Klassen
thatgirlsvoice.com
Juan Aramayo
12/20/2011 at 11:38 AM
Maxine,

You know what? Synchronicity is part of life. Just yesterday I spent some 20 minutes going over some of these symptoms-items at the psychotherapy session trying to answer the psychoanalyst's question: "Why did you say that your VO marketing, training … is going in circles" and today I see your posting.Yes!

So, for me part of the list is real, I feel they follow me every day filling my moments and yet I know that I'm not going anywhere.

I just wanted to share this moment of mine with your right-on-the-point words.

By the way, you have a special touch for choosing topics and turning them into words and articles. This is my way of saying thank you for your sharing your sensibility and your time.

Wishing you and your readers a very nice Holiday time and a 2012 full of personal and professional success.

Juan Aramayo
Spanish VO
Brazil

PS Pat Fraley - as always, is right.
Dan McComas
12/20/2011 at 10:41 AM
Couldn't decide where to start reading, Maxine. :)

Very wise and valuable article, Sensai. Thank you for holding up the mirror.

Merry Christmas,
Grasshopper Dan
Philip Banks
12/20/2011 at 4:17 AM
What a genius deconstruction of "the illusion of activity."

People love to overload themselves with information and chores which enable their heartfelt desire to avoid doing the things that really need doing.

How bad does it get? My dearest friend has spent the last couple of years fighting the world, tackling issues, moving forward and taking a journey of self-something or another. Woot awesome? No. In 2 months the bank will take away her home because she has not been making the mortgage payments. It's the fault of the entire world, ask her and she'll explain. Guess what, this is the second time the world has done this to her.

If you do not believe Maxine's article is about you, be an actor and pretend that it IS about you. Change something today, you'll amaze yourself.

Well done Max x
Pearl Hewitt
12/20/2011 at 12:36 AM
Oh my goodness Maxine, when did you install secret cameras in my house??

You always have the BEST advice and I will be continue to follow it into the New Year as an integral part of my recent action plan to grow my business. Plans have been made and targets. I just have to make sure I stop being too much of a perfectionist and just get things put into ACTION.

Thank you!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you!

One of these dayS we will meet up and I have a big hug waiting for you. VOICE 2012 maybe?
Pat Fraley
12/19/2011 at 12:48 PM
Max-What valuable and needful information. Don't know if you are up for it, but the missing ingredient to help performer's and their paralysis if YOU to guide them. PF
Back to Articles
Inspiring interviews help your VO career
With Sean Daeley and Paul Stefano - check it out!
Terry Daniel and gang - lotsa info and laughs!