The Secret to a Long Career in VO?
Do you want to know a secret? You did click on this blog and you are reading it now, so I assume you want to know a secret. I mean, let’s be real, who doesn’t want to know a secret? Okay, you ready? The secret is…I’ve misled you. Yep, that’s right. Consider yourself bamboozled, cheated, Rick Rolled, or whatever you want to call it.
The truth is, I don’t know what the secret to a successful career in VO is. I haven’t been at this very long, after all (that should’ve been your first clue), so I’m really not qualified in any way, shape, or form to claim I hold that secret knowledge. More importantly, I don’t believe there really is an all-powerful, secret hack that guarantees a long and prosperous career in any field.
What the heck? Why the deceit? Am I just a sadistic mastermind specializing in the art of clickbait? Certainly not! Claiming I’m a mastermind at anything would be granting myself far too much credit.
No, I may not have the secret formula to career longevity, but I do want to offer a few not-so-secret secret thoughts on…well, general longevity. In order to enjoy a long, successful anything, we need to actually be around to make it happen. We need to take care of our holistic selves, not the least of which includes our physical bodies. Yes, that’s right, I’ve finally come to the crux of my ramblings: I want to talk a little bit about health!
Sorry about the bait and switch. If you feel truly and utterly betrayed, I completely understand, and I kindly invite you to build a bridge and get over it. Otherwise, you’re free to exit out of this page and join me another time for a—perhaps—less devious blog post (no promises). All joking aside, though, I do think what I have to share is important, and could even be potentially life-changing, so I hope you stick around.
Now, I think it’s probably a pretty well-known fact that all of us are different, and in light of the topic at hand, I do mean physically, inside and out. To reiterate every (good) grade school teacher, youth leader, or inspirational speaker, you are special—woohoo! Go you! You may be similar to other people in some ways, but at the end of the day, no one else is like you completely. There’s only one you. You’re unique, which means your body is unique, which means it will react to input and stimuli in its own you-ish way. Each of us has a distinct combination of genetics, habits, and circumstances that determine what is healthy for us. All of that is my roundabout (and sarcastically friendly) way of saying my experience with health and becoming healthier won’t be the same as yours. The habits and practices that have proven fruitful for me may impact you differently. Again, this all likely goes without saying, but consider it a disclaimer. I am not a medical professional. You have been warned.
Further disclaimer: While improving one’s health can often lead to a longer lifespan, please remember that does not account for or prevent unforeseen accidents that may result in death, including but not limited to:
· Motor vehicle accidents
· Natural disasters
· Wild animal attacks
· Fork-in-toaster electrocution
· Experimental attempts to become a superhero
· Really, really long falls
· Spontaneous combustion
· Painfully bad jokes with no end in sight
· Dropping a heavy book on your face because you fell asleep while reading in bed
· Asphyxiation due to lack of a safe word in a tickle fight (Not where you saw that going, huh? Get your mind out of the gutter!)
· Carrying long metal objects around in electrical storms, or
· Sheer stupidity
With that out of the way, we may proceed.
“Healthy” is simply defined as “possessing or enjoying good health.” So helpful, I know. What does that actually mean, though, particularly from a physical standpoint? The two main categories into which this generally gets broken into are, of course, diet and exercise. Both are undeniably important for achieving and maintaining good health. And it only goes to show how much we believe this to be true when you can throw a stone with your eyes closed and hit any number of popular fitness regimens or diet fads. Make sure you also prepare a suitable apology for hitting them with stones.
So where does one even begin when looking to improve one’s physical health? Do I need to count calories? Is strength or endurance training more important? Should I cut out gluten (or dairy or grains or oxygen…sorry, got a little carried away there). How much truth is there to the 80/20 rule when it comes to diet and exercise? All of these are important questions, and the hard truth is there isn’t a one-size-fits-all right answer. Remember how we’re all different? It’ll likely take some time and trial and error before you find the balance that’s right for you.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t good places to start, however. Personally, I recommend beginning with basics and working your way from there. From here on out, I’m going to focus primarily on the dietary side of this conversation, as that is the area in which I’ve done more layman’s research. When it comes to diet, it’s important to take stock of what and how you typically eat. Strip away all of your preconceived notions of what healthy or unhealthy eating looks like and examine the cold, hard facts about what you put into your body. Regardless of the unique ways in which each of us are built, it’s a pretty universal truth that you get out what you put in. If we ingest nothing but junk, our bodies will pay the consequences. But—and here’s the big but that changed everything for me—what exactly qualifies as junk?
For this, I would suggest taking a look at The Food Babe Way. In this book, author Vani Hari walks you through 21 days of 21 habits to help establish a healthier lifestyle, including learning how to actually read the ingredient labels on our food and select items that are clean and truly healthy. It’s not enough to simply delineate between “healthy” and “unhealthy” foods. There are tons of seemingly “healthy” options sitting on our store shelves that are secretly filling our bodies with harmful chemicals, preservatives, antibiotics, and other artificial stuff. This is why it’s necessary to learn how to read the labels on your food and identify which ingredients to avoid. For instance, words like “flavouring,” “emulsifier,” or “enriched” should send up a red flag, alerting you that those ingredients are not natural and can be harmful. Here’s another freebie: if you ever see “TBHQ” on a label, drop it like it’s hot. TBHQ—tertiary butylhydroquinone, now you know why they abbreviate it—is created from a very toxic gas that can only “safely” be consumed in extremely small doses. Eating only a single gram of this stuff has been shown to cause a whole array of health issues, including asthma, allergies, dermatitis, and some forms of cancer. Most people wouldn’t give a second thought when they see those four letters on the label (if they ever see them at all), but once you know how big an impact those little letters can have, it makes a world of difference. My mom’s rule of thumb: If you can’t pronounce it, you probably shouldn’t put it in your mouth. So, yes, this means medical narrators have a free pass and can eat whatever the heck they want with no repercussions.
Learning how to choose clean, safe foods goes so far beyond weight management. Drastically changing your diet—and I’ll be the first to admit it is a drastic change from the typical American way of eating—has huge implications for holistic physical health, helping to prevent, and sometimes even reverse, chronic illness. It can be a hard change to implement, but it’s a simple one that can seriously help increase length and quality of life. And yes, for many it is the key to finally seeing weight loss results. My personal experience, which I share only to drive the point home, was losing fifty pounds in three months, solely from making the shift to a clean, organic approach to food. Let me also stress that this is not a “diet” per se, something you engage with only until you get certain results. This is a lifestyle change for the long-haul.
There’s a whole lot more to be said on this subject, far more than is appropriate for a one-off blog post. I’d love to wax on about how this type of food lifestyle is just as delicious, if not more so, than sticking with the all-too-addictive junk foods. We could also discuss other areas this approach to eating affects, such as finances, time management, and grocery shopping. All of this is great fodder for other conversations. As for here and now, allow me to draw us back to my main point…because yes, I do have one.
I may not have the ultimate super-secret means to succeed in VO specifically, but I believe what I’ve shared above is still relevant to the topic of success. I would consider taking a personal interest in your health to be a foundational first step to cultivating success in any endeavor you desire to pursue. As I said in the beginning, we can’t enjoy success if we’re not around to bring it about. Making an effort and an investment in your own well-being won’t guarantee that you achieve your dreams in and of itself, but it will very likely allow you a longer go at trying to make them happen. I’d say that’s an opportunity worth taking.
How often do you think about how your health impacts the rest of your life? What steps have you taken to improve or maintain your physical health recently? Have you seen positive results? In what ways has prioritizing your health brought about a ripple effect of success in your life? Let’s continue this conversation in the comments below.
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!