How To Actually Achieve Your Voice-Over Goals

achieve_goalI‘ve learned a number of things about goal-setting over the years. Perhaps the most poignant lesson is this: how you structure your goals can set you up for failure or success. It‘s been my experience that action-oriented goals are much more productive than results-oriented goals.

For example, let‘s say I want to lose 50 pounds this year. Is that a goal? No! Here‘s why.

A result is something on which you can‘t take action. A farmer can control what he sows, but not necessar-ily what he reaps. A hard freeze could come in and destroy the crops. Locusts could feast on them. All he can do is nurture the crops—he doesn‘t actually make them grow. Furthermore, if your goal is to lose 50 pounds in 2011—and you only lose 49 pounds, is that a failure? Not in my book! But technically, it is!

But if your goal is action-oriented, such as adopting healthier lifestyle (exercise 30 minutes 5 days a week, cut out simple carbs, and get plenty of sleep—proven to facilitate weight loss) then you have control over whether or not you can achieve the goal.

So choose an action-oriented goal of behavioral change that will lead to the positive results you want. Then if you don‘t quite ―measure up‖ to the result you hoped for, but did drop 45 pounds, lowered your blood pressure and choles-terol, and increased bone density, I‘d call that a resounding success—not a 90% success (which is what 45 pounds would be to a goal of 50 pounds!)

Make sure the changes you plan are specific and measurable. Be specific. It‘s not realistic to schedule more exercise than you have time for, cut calories to an unsafe level, or expect perfection from yourself. More realistic is set-ting achievable goals that you ease into. ―I will cut out alcohol and walk three times this week,‖ is a good start. Then a month down the road, add something else. For example, ―I will increase exercise to five times a week and not eat after 6pm, and consume my largest meal at lunch.‖ This way you give yourself time to create new lifestyle habits (changing a habit takes 21 days) and you‘re ever improving! I learned a long time ago that Small Changes Over Time Produce Amazing Results… even in your VO career.

Measure not just your results but your actions. For example, it‘s been proven that keeping a food and exercise journal more than doubles your incidence of success. Planning your VO marketing activities will benefit you as well. But don‘t get tied up in the results!

I have a saying, ―Don‘t bow to the scale God!‖ You are not making your lifestyle change sacrifices to IT! Allowing a number the IT decides to bestow on you on any given day to affect your feeling of success or fail-ure indicates too much focus on results. Do the work and the results will come!

I used weight loss as an example because in this country it‘s something that we can all pretty much relate to. Let‘s translate that into VO.

Want to make an extra $30,000 in voice-overs this year? Don‘t put too much focus on the end result. Concen-trate on the action steps that‘ll take you in the right direction. And don‘t sweat the final numbers. If you make an additional $29,999 it‘s still a success! Like weight loss, you cannot always control how much you make. The results may not be affected by water weight, medications, or the gravitational forces of the Earth, but they could be impacted by a number of factors out of your control. For example, your income can be influenced by who auditions against you, the economy, how efficient you run your business, or an agent who collects from the client and doesn‘t pay you—then gets arrested for having a chop shop in her garage! (Hey! It could happen! That exact scenario happened to me! Really. The agent stiffed me $1200!)

  • Write a plan for Refining your craft. Continue professional development to get better at what you do. Train no matter how good you are! (I still do!)
  • Marketing yourself. Develop a plan and follow it continually.
  • Don’t make all the changes at once. Perhaps schedule out 12 months of changes.
  • Make a record to track the measurable actions you take. You can track results, too, of course, but definitely track actions. (―If you build it, they will come!‖)
  • Modify the plan as needed. You are not a slave to your plan. It works for you. Make it flexible.
  • And don’t overdo it! You need rest, relaxation, recreation, and down time, too—or YOU‘LL be the ener-gizer bunny needing a break!

This, I find, is the practical approach: Strive for a life of balance, plan, then implement the plan continually. You just might find that you actually reap far more than your original results-oriented ―goal‖ would have yielded!

About Julie Williams

Julie Williams has voiced thousands of commercials and narrations, and eLearning scripts, as well as many other voice-overs. She is an active audiobook narrator, and was a 2012 Audie Finalist. Julie has also taught at such notable events as VO2013, The VoiceLympics Cruise, and multiple VOICE Conferences. She is a nationally recognized voiceover coach, and has coached hundreds of talent worldwide to reach their full potential. Julie is available for private coaching via Skype for a limited number of students.

Comments

  1. Julie- I like what you’ve done with VoiceOver Insiders. It’s a nice layout. Good move!

    About goals – Great advice! I did the weight thing exactly how you described, focused on the process and not on the results, and the results came. Yay me!

    In VO, much the same has happened. I set a goal to improve my 2013 number by 25% and as of this the end of October I’m at 35%. I knew what I wanted to accomplish and scheduled items for me to complete every month. It worked!

  2. Julie, I’m loving the new format! And this article is fantastic! Action oriented goals always work better for me, too. Positive actions, done consistently, over time, really work. Thanks so much!

  3. John Davenport says

    Great article. The challenge for each of us is to grow and develop. Control what you can and leave the rest!
    We don’t get what we want but we get what we deserve based on our process or our steps or moves that make up our process.

  4. Julie,
    Great article and great advice! Focusing on action rather than results is the way, though I’m still working on that myself.
    Thanks!

  5. Great article Julie! You are so right, actionable goals are the way to go! I’m in!

    Thank you!

    • I am so glad this article is a blessing to you, Tom
      I developed the style of goal setting when I wanted to lose weight. Sometimes there are factors beyond our control …and I felt like a failure–even when I did everything right–because the “results” were just shy of what I wanted!!

      I hope you’ll join me in my webinar on Feb 4th. It’s all about stuff like this (with a great workbook to help you plan your year) You can check it out at http://www.voice-overwebinars.com/featured.html
      Scroll down to the bottom. Mine is the last webinar in the series.

      BTW… when you register also get a secret code that entitles you to a 50% discount on your choice of huge client mailing list from Sound Advice. I’ll be using their Industrial mailing list–which has about 865 client names on it. What you’d save on that is probably a good three times what you’ll pay for the webinar ($47!) Savings depend on which list you choose, of course, since they have different numbers of clients and are priced differently.

      Email me if you have any questions. I’m always here for you! [email protected].

      Julie

  6. I am so glad this article is a blessing to you, Tom, Paul, John, Jill, and Christopher.
    I developed the style of goal setting when I wanted to lose weight. Sometimes there are factors beyond our control …and I felt like a failure–even when I did everything right–because the “results” were just shy of what I wanted!!

    I hope you’ll join me in my webinar on Feb 4th. It’s all about stuff like this (with a great workbook to help you plan your year) You can check it out at http://www.voice-overwebinars.com/featured.html
    Scroll down to the bottom. Mine is the last webinar in the series.

    BTW… when you register also get a secret code that entitles you to a 50% discount on your choice of huge client mailing list from Sound Advice. I’ll be using their Industrial mailing list–which has about 865 client names on it. What you’d save on that is probably a good three times what you’ll pay for the webinar ($47!) Savings depend on which list you choose, of course, since they have different numbers of clients and are priced differently.

    Email me if you have any questions. I’m always here for you! [email protected].

    Julie

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