Lessons in Learning to Lead Myself

3 Months.

By May of this year, we’d been living in the Dominican Republic for 3 months.

Coaching other VO talents was going really good!

But my own voice over career was hitting one hurdle after another.

First off we’d moved into an open air jungle bungalow. The windows were screened teak slats that allowed a lovely cross flow when there was one. The inside of my studio was just as hot and humid as the outside, however. As it turned out, my microphone doesn’t like humidity.

After almost exactly 3 minutes of recording, you could actually hear water gurgling in the mic! I could still do small jobs that only needed me in the booth for a couple minutes. Any longer jobs I would have to do in 3 minutes chunks, then open the booth and turn all the fans on until the mic was aired out enough that I could begin again. It suuuuuucked.

Time for a new mic, right? I mean I’d had the Neumann TLM-103 for over 17 years now. After some research and asking around, I knew I wanted the sennheiser mkh -416. But they are not available in the DR from what I could tell, and if I ordered it online, it’s $1000, slapped with over 40% in import fees.

But it’s not just that!  I ordered it and had it sent to my parents house so I could pick it up when I came back to Seattle in august. Then, American Airlines canceled so many flights it was nearly impossible to reroute home and that trip was canceled. So my parents sent me the mic in the mail.

Customs held onto my mic for five mu%%EDITORCONTENT%%amp;@f*^ckn weeks before they released my mic! I learned after a few google searches that they are notorious for any electronics— tablets, laptops, or whatever. The only way to get your stuff required constant daily badgering. You have to call them and email them multiple times a day to get your *^shhhh.

So I knew in May that either until my mic was replaced with one that could handle humid, or until we moved into a place with a climate controlled studio, my voice over work was extremely limited. Which meant our income was about to be as well.

I mean, I know that moving to the other side of this planet comes with its challenges and that I just need to roll with the punches but, like,

I worked more on my voice over business coaching.

I held regular office hours and lit my soul up teaching one gal all the tips and tricks possible on Adobe Audition and its keyboard shortcuts additional plug ins. Another guy hired me to strategize his path into VO with video games as his main focus. And another gal made a campaign under my guidance to land a top commercial agent in LA.

Among all but one of my current students I noticed an undeniable theme. Nobody had any decent branding established for themselves. No logo, no slogan, no tag line, no colors. Nothing that represented their story and how they want to be remembered as a voice over talent in the minds of people in a position to hire them.

I knew I had one more lesson to teach. One more mini-product to make that could help people on their path to their best year ever in voice over. That was when my mind started to write Outstanding VO Branding.

Here I have all these things to teach to help a voice over talent make the most progress ever in the next year for themselves. The Workflow of VO shows you how to set up your entire business. The Campaign Creator shows you how to design a campaign about yourself that’s aimed at people who can hire you. But how can you do any of that if you don’t have your branding in line?!! You can’t.

I felt good that I knew my next move with what I can teach. But it would be a while before I could make that product.

It would also be a while before I could be fully operational again as a voice over talent.

"A woman that learns how to lead herself can lead other women"

        1. First off, I took a class on how to eat better, called The TQI Diet (To Quiet Inflammation).  Taking the class was so helpful in understanding the science behind what happens when you eat manufactured foods vs. what happens when you eat fruits and vegetables.  Seeing what really goes down inside my body helped to shift my perspective.  The addictive candies, cookies, and treats that I ate every night began to look like the actual drity, chemically, addictive, upper-like substance that they really are.
        2. We (have you seen pics of my husband??! He’s down 13 pounds PAST his goal weight) COMPLETELY cut out sugar for the first three weeks.  Something I’ve never done in my life.  Sure I’ve switched from one kind of sugar to another.  From C&H pure cane sugar to honey, from sugar in the raw to Stevia, from agave nectar back to honey.  But this class preaches that your sugar craving will not fade unless you completely cut that shit out.  I didn’t believe it but I felt like I had to try it.  The ONLY sugar I ever eat now is in 80%+ dark chocolate.  I thought this would be torture.  But cutting it all out was WAYYYY better than cutting sugar back.  Also cutting back on sugar has never once worked for me.  Cutting sugar out all the way is batting at 100%.
        3. This one is just as hard to believe for me as the sugar one…but I started drinking my coffee black.  I’ve been drinking coffee for like 25 years and I finally cut the sugar out of it about 5-7 years ago.  But I still needed a good couple tablespoons of half and half or cream in there.  I have tried to picture liking black coffee when I see other people drinking it throughout my life and just been like “hoooooooooooooooooooow”.  The only thing I did notice over the years of drinking coffee was that, any way I drank it – whether with sugar and creamer, agave nectar and nut milk, or whatever, it tasted kind a weird for a while…but then, after a while, it tasted “right” that way.  Like any other way would taste weird.  I decided to apply the 66 day rule on this one.  If I could drink black coffee for 66 days, maybe it would taste weird any OTHER way after that?  The first week or so I am not kidding, I had to plug my nose when I tipped my mug back.  But after 66 days?  It really did work!!  A cup of coffee with cream in it now tastes like a cow dipped it’s boob in my coffee – even though not a year ago, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
        4. To sum up the restrictions it’s no sugar, no dairy, no wheat, and only wild meat/fish, if you want it.  It sounds restrictive but when I was able to learn some staples of what to eat, we were feeling like we were missing out on what to not eat.  Breakfast muffins and salads WITH starch in them have been the biggest staples to replace burgers and fries and pizza.
        5. Lastly, I use the SWEAT app for exercise.  It’s like a personal trainer that I don’t have to be worried that I’m late about meeting at the gym…or annoyed that they’re late while I wait on them:)  I tried to use SWEAT 3 times in a year before it stuck.  Again, I applied the 66 days rule.  The 4th time I dove back in was the kicker for me!  Now it’s like a part of my routine and even identity.  I am a person who goes to the gym.  I don’t go because I have to.  It simply feels weird if I don’t.  It’s also worth noting that I go to the gym and exercise 3x/week for 30-40 minutes…before I got married, I taught 4 one hour long exercise classes / week for 9 months…and I weighed over 20 lbs more than I do now.  The food makes alllll the difference.

Here is the result.

Big diff, right?!  I can’t see the future, but I do know that this time feels different than other efforts to change my health habits.

In the past, losing weight has kinda been like juggling. At one point I could get to my goal weight but it felt similar to when a juggler can get 7 balls in the air— but who knows how long I’ll be able to keep them in the air before it all falls apart.

All this to say that I have never been successful at weight maintenance.

But the difference this time is that I’m not doing something for 20 or 30 or 60 days. I just have new habits now.

I created new habits so solid that it feels weird to not do them!

So, I will keep posting about my weight maintenance humbly, as this is totally new territory for me.

I also knew that if I learned to show up in my life as a leader for myself (and not a type A, high anxiety one, but one that makes it all fun and doesn’t take things overly seriously), people would be more inclined to want to learn from me.

Here we are in November.

    • I have been at my goal weight for about eight weeks. I thought it would take over a year to get here. Turns out when you eat the right foods, the weight truly falls of the body.
    • We moved into a new house with a separate climate controlled office.
    • My new mic finally came and my voice sounds clearer and better than ever in recordings.  I’m not just back to recording VO, I’m back to BOOKING!  I’ve had two sessions just this week.
    • Outstanding VO Branding is done! And so so fun!  What IS that you say? 
Oh just a creative party that you and I have to create or upgrade to a consistent, cohesive branding for your voice over services in about a week.  If you need to get your branding in line, CLICK HERE to learn more.