I’m a recovering workaholic. Since a very young age, I’ve always held down at least two or three different jobs. Maybe I bore easily? Maybe I just need more friends? Or maybe I’m just so goal oriented that I’ll do whatever it takes to achieve those goals… including working too much!
Either way, now that I’m a bit older, I’ve definitely changed my perspective on certain practices that I used to think were essential to creating and growing a business.
Glorifying Overwork: Nobody ever shares a status update that they just had a glorious 12 hour sleep. But everybody shares a status update when they work at 12 hour day. Or a double shift. Or they’re working seven days straight. Or they started at 6am and are still plugging away at 3am. We want people to notice when we work hard so they can pat us on the bum and say, “good job!”
I totally get it. I’ve been that guy.
I’m not so much anymore. There’s really nothing cool about working like a slave. I’d also argue that there’s very little productive about it either.
Glorifying No Downtime: This ties into the first one. How many people do you know who can’t remember their last vacation? Their last weekend away? Their last day off without their phone or portable rig in tow? Are you one of those people? I certainly used to be one of those people. I was the guy who left his phone on all night and would wake up at 3:30a (if I had even gone to bed) to answer emails.
It’s ridiculous. And unsustainable. Take it from a guy who’s suffered burnout! More than once.
Instead of glorifying your commitment to 24 / 7 labour – which is likely less about your commitment and more about your craving for negative attention – go away for a weekend. A whole weekend. Don’t take your rig. Just go and relax and be present. Your long term business success will thank you!
Glorifying Yes Men: Once upon a time, I tried to do absolutely everything all on my own. I said yes to every project. Yes to every request. Yes to every client. After all, saying no might mean I’d miss out on an opportunity, right? Oh, I missed out on opportunities, alright! Like opportunities to have fun. Opportunities to enjoy my business. Opportunities to love my work. Opportunities to get better.
One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned in the last few years of full-time voice over is the importance of saying no. That in doing so, I’m actually do myself a favor in the long term. You can’t do everything. You shouldn’t do everything. That’s hard to accept when you’re self-employed and trying to get paid. But it’s true.
Know your strengths and your limitations and make good choices accordingly.
Glorifying Others: There are legends in the voice over business. Just like there are in any business. People who seems to shine just a little brighter. People who book the bigger projects. Land the bigger agents. Make the bigger dollars. It’s ok to respect these people. It’s also important not to put them on such a pedestal that you begin to doubt yourself and your own abilities.
“Oh, I’ll never be as good as [insert name here].”
We all have the same 24 hours each day. We all put our pants on one leg at a time. We all have the same opportunities to pursue and achieve success. Learn from the people who are further down the road than you, but don’t make them so big that you convince yourself what they’ve accomplished is unattainable.
Glorifying Busyness: “Just look at my task list. It’s got 273 items on it!” “Have you seen my schedule? It’s packed!” “I’ve got 14 browser windows open and I’m simultaneously using every last one of them… while I eat a sammich!”
Don’t confuse busyness with success. Don’t confuse multitasking with productivity. Just because you have a hundred things to do, or are currently doing one hundred things, doesn’t mean you’re being productive. In fact, more often than not, multitasking does nothing but diminish productivity. (This has been proven time and again through science and research).
If you accomplish one big goal each day, it’s entirely possible you’ll go ten times further than the person trying to accomplish 75!
Being intentional will serve you far more than being busy.
Maybe it all summarizes by simply reminding you to run your race? Or maybe it goes a little deeper.
Really, it’s about being strategic. Intentional. Making choices that have the most benefit to you and your business… long term! Sometimes that does involve a day off. Or saying no. Or reminding yourself you can do this!
It’s possible to be successful and sleep too!
I wish someone had told me that 20 years ago!