Finishing is Overrated
Life is chocked full of fascinating and admirable pursuits. I don’t think we, as individuals, have ever had more opportunities at our fingertips to do whatever we want to do or be whatever we want to be than right now. That choice is undeniably a gift, but it can also be a double-edged sword. With so many options on the table, it can be challenging to actually make a choice, let alone stick with one to completion.
This is something that I have struggled with in various capacities throughout my life. I’m what I would call a collector, or as the Strengths Finder test puts it, an Input talent. I have this driving need to collect, archive, and curate. Information, ideas, tangible objects—it doesn’t matter what it is; if something tickles my fancy, there’s a good chance I’ll get hooked and want to collect anything and everything I can about that thing.
When I reflect back on my childhood—okay, and even into the present—it’s almost comical how you can mark different stages of my interest based on what I was collecting. Like an archaeologist visually observing the stratigraphic layers of history on a dig, you would be able to see when my fanaticism for Harry Potter began and eventually tapered off into general enjoyment. You could easily pinpoint where my obsession over all things Marvel started and note that it’s still going strong. There would be layers of LEGOs peppered throughout the whole, usually pertaining to the theme of whatever else I was interested in at the time (read: lots of Harry Potter and Marvel sets). LEGOs are timeless and awesome, though, so I don’t think anyone could blame a guy for hoarding those little feet breakers. I imagine you’d also see a noteworthy development in the depth and scope of my love for sci-fi and fantasy stories, both in my history and on my shelves.
The strength of this type of personality lies in my innate curiosity and constantly-growing knowledge base. When I become truly interested in something, you can bet I’m going to take the time to research it and become as fluent in its language as I possibly can. I hold on to what I learn and store it away for that perfect opportunity to whip it out and watch it prove useful. On the flip side, the drawbacks of being a collector can include clutter (both physical and mental), wasting valuable time and energy stockpiling potentially useless information, and a completionist mentality about everything that leads to almost nothing actually being completed.
As I alluded to above, one of my greatest challenges as a collector has been focusing on something to completion. Though I still harbor a deep nostalgia for all of the interests that have captivated me throughout the years, most of them have inevitably fallen from their top spots of holding my attention, giving way to whatever is next in the never-ending queue of what I’ll find remarkable. That isn’t to say that collectors are inherently fickle or scatter-brained—oh! Look at that beguiling Reddit rabbit hole that is barely tangentially related to what we’re talking about! Okay…maybe being scatter-brained has a little bit to do with my completion problem. But I’m certainly not as bad as Professor Calamitous, Jimmy Neutron’s nemesis who notoriously couldn’t finish anything—not even a Crunchy Cream jelly donut! Oh, the horror!
I was able to finish school and graduate from college, and I’m able to complete tasks for work and help out around the house. Meeting expectations highly motivates me, so that helps ensure I follow through on the most important things in life. However, there is certainly a trail of unfinished free online courses, ever-expanding Amazon wishlists that will never be fulfilled, and unread books purchased in a previous stage of collection that I still haven’t gotten around to left in my wake. Oh, and don’t even get me started on completing my Pokédex… Someday, perhaps.
Making my way through the beginnings of my voiceover journey over the past 18 months or so, there have been times when my interest flows heavily and others when it seems to ebb. As there are many facets to running a successful VO business, some that pique my curiosity more than others, this is not unexpected. In the slowest and lowest moments, however, thoughts of giving it all up and trying something else do sometimes rise to the surface. Other things catch my eye, and I ask myself: Is VO really what I want to do?
I had a bit of an epiphany the last time these thoughts crossed my mind. The feelings of hopelessness that tempt me to give up develop out of a fixed mindset of what it means to accomplish my VO goals. They come from believing there is a specific place of completion that I’m trying to arrive at. But this is a huge misconception. I’ve written before about how VO is an infinite game and how the journey is more important than the destination. I realized that, despite what I’ve dwelled on previously, I was still conceptualizing VO as something with an end goal, emphasis on end. That’s a completely backwards approach, though!
Rather than view my voiceover journey as a race with a finish line, I need to remember that it’s more akin to a series of collections. I must collect various acting skills, technological know-how, business savvy, and more. These are not collections that are ever completed. What collector ever really decides that they don’t need or want to expand their collection just a little bit more? I know I’ll never get to a place where there isn’t something else to learn. As I continue to collect, my abilities as a voice actor and entrepreneur grow and I become more effective at what I do. There’s no finish line for growth, and that’s a really good thing.
Do you visualize your journey with a finish line? It’s not surprising if you do. So much of our motivational culture rests on concepts of "finish strong," "end on a good note," "go the distance." How might shifting your mindset to being strong in each moment or enjoying the journey itself change how you feel and experience your day-to-day? When we choose to ditch the finish line, we’re no longer hemmed in on one narrow lane of the track. Instead, we have freedom to explore the wide-open expanse of endless possibility.
Until next time, friends, keep telling stories.
Voiceover Artist | Storyteller
Like what you read here? Looking for more ways to sate that hunger for VO-related content? Try checking out some of these other awesome blogs from within the VO community!