I don’t know about you, but I’ve learned that many changes and challenges have similar lessons. If you participate in sports, you know full well how sports can relate to business, even the voiceover business. With that, I’d like to tell you about my first adventure hiking. Hiking and voice acting are alike; you have to go with the flow and don’t quit.
The Adventure Begins
Recently, I went on my first real hike. Before the trek started, our leader asked us not to talk too much as we walked and focus our thoughts on nature. So, I was expecting a nice calming walk through gentle backwoods near Northwest Washington, DC’s old and historic neighborhoods. Instead, I experienced rough milled trails through wooded areas and dirt corridors compacted with sharp rocks, small and round boulders, hard stones, and bulging tree roots. Small streams were also in our path that ran under full, leaf-laden trees that shaded our two-and-one-half-hour walk.
The tree cover was fine, especially when a summer shower passed over us. But then, there were the steep inclines and descents. Someone (the U.S. Park Service, I presume) nicely positioned long wooden planks, like the ones you see on railroad tracks, as steps along the steep inclines. We walked up and down the vertical passageways over the planks with some protruding because erosion had washed away some of the dirt and sand that initially surrounded the wooden stepladders.
After about an hour, the hike was no longer fun for me. But, not wanting to show my unease about the terrain, I followed my group of hikers with a smile and kept moving. The leader, a well-seasoned hiker, strolled over the stone and dirt almost gliding as she took every step in a carefree manner. She seems to glance down only occasionally at the changing surfaces under our feet.
On the other hand, I had to carefully watch my every step to not trip over a stone or tree branch and break my neck! (No Uber here.) I was so happy for the occasional stop for a quick drink of water, but we were soon up and at it again.
I know we were supposed to be enjoying nature. But my primary thoughts were not to fall and keep moving. Each time I saw another steep climb or questionable ascent, I just told myself to keep going. Complaining was not going to get me out of this hike any sooner or stop the slight pain in my toes from wearing hiking boots that were just a little too snug. I tried to adjust my toes in my shoes the best I could and kept walking…and walking…and walking until the walk was finished.
After what seemed like hours, we ended our walk, which was just over two hours. We each reflected on our experience and what we thought of the walk. My comments were brief, but my primary thinking was I just had to keep moving and I would be all right.
Hiking and Voice Acting
You’re probably wondering what does hiking have to do with voice acting? Two words: keep moving. The path to voice acting success is never a straight, smooth path. Granted, some people find success quickly and consistently, but I don’t believe that is the case for most of us dedicated to finding our voice acting success. After the walk, someone said that we bump and hit our way through finding our right path to success. Sometimes, the trail is impassable and we have to try again or we find that our timing is off. So, we stop for a while, regroup, and start again. It can take years to find the right niche for our business. And it may take years for us to partner with stable clients with whom we can enjoy working regularly. So, it sounds like voice acting is a lot like hiking.
Life is a Mirror of Itself
Life takes us on many fantastic journeys if we allow it to teach us along the way. Our goals may point us to what we want, but our paths are usually never straight or smooth. We have to take each day as it comes and keep our most important things on top of mind. Today we may do our best and accomplish much or perhaps not. Either way, we must courageously walk these paths if we expect to carve out a life that we can look back on, and with assurance, know that we did our best and learned from the tests.
Keep breaking that lip.