Simple Steps to Success
A few months back I participated in a 21-day bed-making challenge to get my name entered in a drawing to win a free demo production package in the genre of my choice. The impetus behind the challenge was US Navy Admiral, William H. McRaven’s, “Make Your Bed” speech. In a nutshell, he encourages everyone to develop the habit of starting each day by making the bed. Doing so, he suggests, helps you begin the day with a sense of accomplishment and pride, driving you take on another task, and then another, and another. That one simple action of making the bed kickstarts a chain of productivity, leading to greater and greater feelings of success. “If you want to change the world,” McRaven says, “start off by making your bed.”
I didn’t end up winning the demo package, but I did have a lot of fun coming up with creative ways to post proof of my consistent bed-making. In fact, being the overachieving goofball that I am, I may have had a little too much fun toward the end. Check out the video below to see what I mean.
Honestly, I was already in the habit of making the bed each morning. I joined the challenge figuring I might as well try to win an awesome prize for doing something I already do anyway. Win-win, right? I may not have won the prize I was initially aiming for, but I think I walked away with something more meaningful in the end. Cue the cheesy inspirational music. While I already had a pretty set morning routine, focusing on this first step each day in a new way helped me see each subsequent step differently as well. Suddenly, I understood how each of those little accomplishments spurred me on to the next, bigger achievement of the day. Each step helps me “level up” so I have the strength and experience points needed to take on the next challenge.
This kind of mindset doesn’t have to simply be relegated to the morning, however. There’s so much value in starting the day off right. How much more value, then, is there in starting each phase of the day off right? Regarding my voiceover business, for instance, I’ve received a similar piece of advice from several experienced veterans of the industry. When looking through the workday’s to-do list, they say, start with the tasks that have the biggest long-term impact on your success. In freelance VO, many assume that’s pumping out auditions or completing paid work. While those are certainly high-ranking tasks that deserve serious attention, distributing marketing communications should probably come first. After all, if you’re not reaching out to potential clients in the first place, you’re not going to receive auditions or have the opportunity to win any work. So, sending out my marketing e-mails is the first thing I take care of when I start working. That way if life throws me a curve ball and, to completely mix my metaphors, it gets utterly derailed, I at least know that important task is taken care of.
There’s something to be said for orchestrating success and productivity in our lives and work. At least to a certain extent, it’s within our power do so, so why wouldn’t we take advantage of that opportunity? Sometimes it’s the simplest things that make the biggest difference.
How do you get yourself motivated to achieve greatness each day? Do you have any habits or routines to help set yourself up for success? I’d love to hear some of your tips, tricks, hacks, or secrets. Together, maybe we can help each other become the best versions of ourselves we can be. And who knows? Perhaps we can even change the world—one bed at a time.
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!