As I write this, we are approaching the end of the financial year.
Reflecting back on the past 12 months, I can honestly say that while 90% of my ideas may have been rubbish, the remaining 10% of them were pretty good. And as we all know – it is that 10% that keeps all entrepreneurially minded individuals going, particularly when the going gets tough.
There is not a single man or woman in any business, who has not suffered set back and failure in one form or another. Anyone who tells you otherwise, is lying.
When Virgin’s Richard Branson was asked by Jamal Edwards, a young entrepreneur friend of mine and the CEO of SBTV, if he had ever made a mistake, his response was – “Yes. I make them everyday”. It was a response that was incomprehensible to the young Jamal who was standing in front of a self made billionaire – one of this country’s most successful entrepreneurs, who now mentors him. Yet without mistakes, without errors of judgment there can be no learning, no development and no growth.
More than that, it is a conscious rejection of the fear of failure that separates the successful from the unsuccessful.
As a voice over artist, I lend my vocal talents to a whole range of productions from the world’s biggest TV talent formats The X Factor, and Britain’s Got Talent to National Radio and TV campaigns to lead characters on multi million selling X Box and Playstation games like Fable, Kinect Sports, Harry Potter and TinTin – I get asked all the time by aspiring voice actors –
How do I get into this business? I keep getting rejected, no one will take my call, no one will respond to my emails or letters – I keep running into brick walls.
My response is the same every time.
Again, 90 percent of people I say that to look at me blankly.
The remaining 10 percent – those who usually have the white hot passion of ambition burning within them – immediately get it and I can see in their eyes an intensification of their determination and a sense of commitment and drive lacking in the other 90 percent.
The other comment I often get is directed at me personally. People in my business sometimes say to me
Oh you are so lucky!! I wish I could be as lucky as you!!!
It’s an interesting one that because, while luck, serendipity, good fortune call it what you will, inevitably plays its part – It is by no means the whole story.
As the great Thomas Jefferson once said:
I’m a great believer in luck” he said, “I find the harder I work the more I have of it.
The truth is there are very few true overnight successes. It’s taken me 40 years of continual hard work and graft, to produce some successes and countless failures along the way.
So – behind what looks like overnight success, often lies years of dedication and hard work, trial and error and most importantly – the F word: FAILURE. The fear of which will paralyze you and kill your chances entrepreneurial success.
It seems to me, that the harder you work, the more good ideas and chances you may make for yourself. Luck after all, is nothing more than the sense to recognize an opportunity coupled with the ability to take advantage of it. The individual who can recognize his or her lucky breaks and seize the day, gets on.
Others who may have been presented with those very same chances but who were paralysed by the fear of failure or through parental conditioning and self limiting beliefs about themselves, passed up on those self same opportunities that came their way – and through time, came to the erroneous conclusion that Lady Luck never calls at their door.
As everyone knows … you make your own luck by remaining open and vigilant to those opportunities that flow past you every single day.
I mentioned the F word for good reason. In this context, it stands for Failure – the collorary of Success. It is hard to define failure because it is so subjective. It is much more beneficial to focus on the response of the individual to that failure – real or perceived, because that response is what separates the winner from the loser.
Because when you think about it, nothing is ever really lost is it? It just …. moves. One day your cheese is here. The next day it’s over there.
OK, you say – well, we’ll move over there! Rather like the universal law of the conservation of energy – money, contracts, the flow of business and ideas are in a perpetual state of flux.
Constantly flowing like the tributaries and streams of a river, into and out of your business and your personal life, for all of your life. A successful entrepreneur friend of mine who runs a multi million pound property business, once said to me
Making money is easy – keeping it is the hard part.
I didn’t understand it at the time, because most people would assume the opposite was true. But the more I looked at it, I realized that this was indeed the case.
The Author Nicholas Talib was asked his secret of success. He simply said
Go to more parties.
That’s the kind of advice I like. Over the past couple of years I tried it out….perhaps a little too enthusiastically!
I went to as many parties and events as I could. I spoke to as many people as I could and at the end of it I realized that I had gained in confidence, which in turn had made me appear more successful and so by the power of what some people call the universal law of attraction, more and more interesting opportunities and people began to flow into my life – to the extent that at times I felt as though I was being physically carried along in an upward spiral.
As we all know success attracts success. Business and socializing are exact bedfellows.
Face time is where the magic happens. It is the kindling point. Why would you do business with someone you didn’t like? Someone you couldn’t trust? Someone you didn’t know, had never met? Yet in this increasingly faceless digital age, where email is a poor substitute for face to face dialogue – we are in danger of losing our ability to judge character and foster long term meaningful relationships with those not only within our own organizations, but without.
So here’s my advice for what it’s worth. Get out there, go to as many parties as your liver can stand, embrace failure, laugh in the face of adversity, re-tune your opportunity radar, remain open and vigilant and above all have as much fun as you can while you do it as you cannot ever enjoy success while you are miserable.
Having fun in the voiceover business is mandatory. In fact there are two F words in my lexicon now. Failure and Fun. Embrace them both.
Kernan Manion says
Great inspirational piece Peter, and most timely. Just as I, a newbie at VO, though with some training, am ready to throw up my hands in exasperation (“there’s so much to learn, how do I ever get this going?!”), your piece reminded me of the necessity of seeing this as an “F” opportunity, recognizing that giving in to Frustration is the sure pathway to Failure.
Daniel Jakobsen says
Hey Kernan.. I’m at the same spot you are! Haven’t even done my first demo reel because, what if I am not as good as people have led me to believe?
We just got to power through. I know I want this and I sense you do too!
Best of luck in your endeavors!
Sherry Fuller says
Thanks aw you for sharing this meaningful info.
Thank you, Peter! This post felt a dose of realism and an epic rallying cry simultaneously. I needed both today as I evaluate where to spend my focus and time. Thank you for sharing part of your story!
Paricia Corkum says
PERFECT timing for me to receive this morning – THANK YOU! I read it aloud to my husband this morning; we both laughed; ‘high-fived’; and smiled at the truth! Thx GFTB – a womderful gift to keep me on track! Cheerful regards, Patricia
Shawn Brow says
Love your message here Peter! Without the ‘bad hair days’, how would we know a good one?
Thanks for sharing your insights,
Michael Kerns says
Well said Peter! Great advice.
Vaughn Resper,Sr. says
Man O Man
That was right on time. You got to go through it to get to it. You can’t go around it, you can’t go under it, you, you can’t climb over it and you can’t back off off it. Everybody will go along with me besides the climbing over it. If you climb, it is still there. The best thing to do is to move it and as you said, not I if you keep pushing forward(no pun intended, just reiterating what you said) you will make a way. God Bless you and everyone that is on this gravy brain. Amen
Daniel Jakobsen says
As a complete newbie to the VO-field I’m sucking in everything I can get.
I’ll admit.. I did fall for your headline and first phrase 😉
Thank you for todays inspiration!
Patricia Jones says
Great read!! I suppose the most prolific statement was the brick wall analogy. I am positioned to get to what’s on the other side. Forward!!!
Neha Kannan says
This advice reached to me just at perfect time ! I was feeling so low about how to go about nothing is working out. Thank you so much. This gave me the much needed boost. I am all up to get back to practice.
Grateful for all that The Gravy for Brain community does to help us.
Adam Schuch-des Forges says
Great. It sounds better read aloud. 😉
Josefa Carmelita Santos Menezes says
I ,vê been enjoying all experiences shared in OUR group.We are human beings.Consequently, we might fail or succeed at any moment.Those are Weak Just give Up.But I prefer tô stand Up and continue.Thanks for your precious advice.Let’s make OUR group the Strongest in the world.
Shannon Kendrick says
Thanks, Peter, wisdom that we can all use. My issue is that I am terribly introverted and going to parties is one of my greatest fears. I know this is holding me back and were I to grow a bit more confidence, perhaps I could take off my cement shoes and give this career a go. Deep breaths and a little push and we’ll see where I land, but truly appreciate the encouragement.