Humility and Your Voiceover Business
What the world needs now is something that’s in short order, not only in our daily dealings on the phone, by email or in-person, but especially on the social networks. This ‘something” is vastly overlooked and needs an image makeover. It is humility.
Humility Ain’t Sexy
But humility has a public relations challenge. It’s not as sexy as the popular “humble brag” or the outright braggadocio by those bold souls that air their highest triumphs in any social situation in a constant drumbeat that sucks all the oxygen out of the room. And the room can be the internet, too. It’s self promotion to endless excess. There’s no end in sight. We’re confident and bold, and happy to take the spotlight, oh yea. We’re the voiceover peeps. It’s all show biz, right?
Humility isn’t even as sexy as gratitude, even though it is tied to gratitude and optimism. Humility can effect positive change for the greater good of all in the community. When you don’t have to be always right and have all the answers, relationships are enhanced. And aren’t relationships where social media is really at?
Humility is an outlook that is other-oriented, rather than self focused. When one comes off as having all the answers, or know everything or act like they do, those around them will “check out”. If they don’t really listen they lose their connections to others.
You are Not the Hub of the Universe
In an article I recently read by Patty Onderko she advises, “Humility is realizing that you are not the hub of the universe. ”
CEO Dave Balter writes, “Dig a hole, throw your ego into it, and pour concrete on top. Find humility instead.” Read his tale of almost blowing a $60 million deal due to his own hubris. http://www.inc.com/articles/201106/the-humility-imperative-ceos-keep-your-arrogance-in-check.html
In this Forbes article, Writer David K Williams puts it this way, ” Some of our most significant successes in life and business come from learning from our failures. Our ability to remain accountable, committed, and open to learning from others’ mistakes can often be the difference between quick defeat and long-term success. Humility trumps hubris every time.
The Failure Factor
The big problem about humility is that it’s usually the result of getting knocked down a notch, or experiencing some kind of failure. Nobody wants to look like a failure. Today’s cultural narrative downplays failure and humility and appreciative perspective in favor of “what’s in it for me?” Psychologist Phillip Chard states that “Increasingly, societal messages suggest that unless we get our way and bask in the warm glow of societal affirmation. (“you’re special”), we’ve been screwed”.
What aspiring entrepreneurs and those in voiceover and related show-business types see are the champagne wishes and caviar dreams. Nobody wants to admit failure, even though it takes great strength and courage to admit it. Most just go about living in the world of their Facebook profile, where everything is always going great and they have life all figured out. But that’s not reality. And we let ourselves get sucked in.
There is way too much written about success, and way too little written about failure and its direct connection to humility. If nine out of 10 businesses fail, then why in the world are we not addressing the most important issue that’s staring everyone right in the face? What aspiring entrepreneurs need to know is the failure part because the secret to all success is hidden inside the lessons from the failure.”
A Final thought
We have two ears and one mouth. Yes, I realize that when we talk for a living we want to be heard. But if we just listened a little more, we may just move our businesses forward a little faster. In the words of C.S. Lewis, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself. It’s thinking of yourself less.”
Wow, this writing is chocked full of so many powerful truths & statements. I get so tired of constantly seeing those “humble brags” as you state, the statements that suggest so many are experts at pretty much anything voice over related. It has gotten to the point where I rarely visit the voice over groups on Facebook & LinkedIn these days, as they’re filled with so much authority & not too much humility. For those who really are humble and bring an honest question, they’re shot down with superiority that belittles the visitor. When I first broke into voice over in 2011, I constantly saw statements that VO people are some of the nicest & greatest in the world. That’s true in some respects. But the lack of humility seems to be more prominent, which doesn’t make for a very congenial community. You’re so right – we all need to practice – consistently – not part-time- humility. Defer to the other. In the end, we’ll all be happier & more fulfilled in our lives & what we do & who we are. Thanks for sharing this today, Bobbin.
Thank you very very much! Your kind words are truly appreciated.
Very nice, Bobbin. You’ve inspired me to put more humility in my life. It can be a challenging road to navigate in our current world, and keeping up appearances is not only important to our professional image, but also keeps us focused on what we WANT. While learning from our mistakes is key, I think keeping the vibration on the goal and not the failure is what allows us to move forward. But no doubt we can do so in a humble way. Thanks!
I’m with you that I need to remind myself to be humble. Remaining focused on what I want and need to accomplish is my agenda, and not relying on someone else’s is key. Funny thing…Sarah Blakely, the founder/inventor of Spanks, who is now a multi-millionaire, stated in a recent interview that while she was growing up, her Dad used to ask her, “how did you fail at something” each day, and would high-five her. She said it prepared her for her thought processes that enabled her to keep going and learn from mistakes that made her better.
Bobbin, I love this post. Everyone’s career looks awesome on Facebook, and it’s as if success doesn’t become real until someone posts it. Not true. I’ve started to skip posts that begin with “I’m thrilled to announce that…” – unless it’s a new baby of course!
Our lives have become public, yes…but we choose what to highlight. A recent NPR podcast (I listen to so many I forgot the title…something with “Screen”?) reminds us that since we are constantly being watched, we can either hide…or perform. But the best “performances” make us laugh, or think, or feel a flaw in common.
Love that Randye, about the best performances. They are the ones closest to truth.
Boom! Bobbin nails it.
Decades ago, when I decided to pursue a career as a radio DJ, something I was disappointed to discover was that many air personalities had ego issues. I made it a point then to avoid that at all costs. Instead, I decided to do the best work I could to at least meet (and, hopefully, exceed) what was expected of me, and have always let my work speak for itself. Now in voice-over, I try to convey to my clients that they can always, without reservation, tell me if there’s something I can do to fulfill their needs better. And I am not one to constantly be “in their face;” they know how to reach me when they need me and I’ll simply say hello every so often.
If my clients are happy, I’m happy.
Thank you, Bobbin!
Sounds like a solid philosophy to me! Thanks for adding to the conversation.~BB
Nice thoughts, Bobbin! Humility surely does get lost these days… in our businesses and in most everything happening all around us.
And we may all use a little H to help celebrate the spirit of the season.
Merry Christmas to you and your family!
Thank you Rick!And a Merry Christmas to you and your family as well. Thanks for stopping by!
Well said Bobbin! A good dose of humility is good for the soul and keeps one grounded in reality. Thanks for the post.
Many blessings to you and your family this holiday season!
Really nice to hear from you. I hope you’re doing great. I’ve been humbled by all the warm and receptive responses to this post. Thanks for the affirmation.
ps- Missing Sunny California these days.
I like to link humility with two other self-effacing traits:
*service to others
ALL of those factors free you from anxiety-ridden introspection.
Thanks for saying what we all know, but choose to put on the back-burner.
This morning Pete said to me about my post, “You had the guts to say it”. I got my anxieties out too. Thanks for you and all you do. I admire and respect you tremendously. An Merry Christmas to you and the family!
I love this! Thank you so much for this awesome humility reminder.
So honored to have you drop by . Thank you!
The constant noise online about how wonderful life is, how many jobs / auditions / bookings / ratings / rave reviews / Audiobook sales etc., that folk are landing often leave me lacking in confidence and unmotivated – if not feeling like a downright failure. Common sense tells that I’m probably not doing so badly – and I am almost always able to shrug off the negative thoughts and just get on with it. Comparatively easy when you’ve been around for awhile – tougher when you’re starting out – and it can be very hard not to succumb to insecurity and self-doubt. Your insight about humility really struck a chord! I know from my early career in theatre that the best actors are always the most generous and far from bragging about their career are often somewhat surprised by their achievements.
Thanks for chiming in here.The best way to stop comparing yourself to others contributing to the noise out there is to realize that it’s making noise in your head. Simply do a digital detox and don’t allow yourself to go there, physically and mentally. As my mentor Jim Rohn says, “Winter always comes. And it always ends”. Peace!