Sometimes I just gotta stay away from Facebook these days. There is a documented phenomenon (I know it’s true, ’cause I read about it in Psychology Today) called “Facebook Envy”, and I must admit it hits me when I check my newsfeed and it seems like my VO Peeps are landing more gigs, way more impressive gigs, and making tons of money all the time.
Sigh. And – oh yeah- Yay! I truly am happy for your success. Really. But, sometimes, the old green-eyed monster rears up, and its name is Voice-Over Envy.
And it’s a really stupid monster!
Voice-Over Jealousy – or Admiration?
Yoko Ono is credited with saying: “Turn jealousy into admiration and what you admire will become part of your life.” Whoever originated that quote (Yoko, really?) , it’s really cool. I actually used that thought process to go from single Mom to happily re-married Mom/wife, from wanna-be-published author to a published one. And it’s useful in any life endeavor; it’s the backbone of gatherings like faffcon, of the VO social media groups, of the newly-forming industry association, World Voices.
So – why not just be inspired by the success of others? It’s that old realization: we compare others’ outsides to our own insides. Their seeming instant success to our own internal struggles. As I read recently (yeah, on Facebook), it’s others’ highlight reels to our own behind-the scenes.
So – what’s the antidote?
Abundance VO Thinking.
You know what? One other person’s success takes nothing away from ours. There is plenty of work for everyone in this business – everyone who is good, and who does the work to connect. And one person’s network career is another talent’s e-learning lock-in (we love your voice! can you do a few more projects for us?)
And we’ve got to stop comparing.
Truth is – I am damn proud of my voiceover career. And thrilled that I have been able to raise a family, pay my mortgage on time, grow as an artist, meet my clients’ needs, and adapt to an ever-changing business by doing what I love – and getting better at it every year.
In my companion career as a “visual” actor (you know, stage, film, TV on-camera), I’ve always been amused by the fact that most people are much more impressed by, say, an Under-5 I did on All My Children than by a 28-week run of a theatre show. And so it is in voice-over. I may have voiced a bunch of great stuff this week about global compliance, soybean rust, and “hits of the 80’s”, but the 5-second spot on NBC’s Fashion Star is the one that makes people go WOW – both in and out of the industry. But, as I’ve written before, I’m proud to be a bread-and-butter voice actor, happy to hear from my agents but not at the mercy of waiting for their e-mails to obtain work.
Yep – all true. But why does the less-sensible part of me have 2 reactions to the news that a colleague is up for a major TV spot? (send good thoughts that I land the gig!!!! – um, yeah, sure….really. I will). Happiness for their success (angel on one shoulder), and envy that someone else got the job I was up for (guess who, on the other)? Why him/her, why not me? You know, Wahhhh-mobile arrives.
The answer, of course, has to do with:
- uniqueness (which works for us when the match is right)
- opportunity (right place, right time)
- talent/skills (something we all work on, all the time)
- hard work
- …and a little bit of fate. Yes.
Sure, there’s more we’d like to accomplish in the field. But the standards must be ours, and not controlled by the careers we imagine others to have based on Facebook posts.
Abundance mentality. Abundance Thinking. (not Scarcity thinking). There is plenty of work, for all who work. And every single gig is something to be proud of – even if we don’t post it on the newsfeeds. But, sometimes, you just gotta. So go ahead. I will root for you and celebrate your success! But excuse me for a minute, while I slam the door on the little green monster who wants in on the party.