Chasing my voiceover dreams

Dreams are made to be chased

“Whatever you want to be you already are, all you have to do, is do”

Hi everyone, no fancy intros this time, no character tips, just me talking to you in the hope I can inspire just one of you to follow your dreams. I want to tell you a little bit about my story and what I’ve learnt about pursuing dreams. I’ve been wanting to write this for some time and now finally it feels like the right time to do it. This video has almost nothing to do with voiceover and absolutely everything to do with chasing your dreams.

My story in a nutshell? 6 years ago I was a normal guy in an IT job, went to work and paid my bills now? I’m a full time voice actor sat here talking to you from my professional studio, something I never would have thought I’d be doing.

Ever since I was a kid I was a performer, growing up with the Simpsons and the awesome cartoons of the late 80’s and 90’s, I’d wander round the house making up voices and mimicking everything I heard on the TV. Fast forward to when I left college and despite continuing to pursue performing throughout my education doing Theatre, Musicals, being in a band I didn’t follow it when I left. Why? Because I wanted a secure job, I wanted to be sure I could pay my bills, I wanted to be able to have a nice car and a nice house and following my dream would have meant too unsure a future, heck I was the guy who at 16 had a spreadsheet tracking his income and expenditure, the idea of not having a monthly salary was terrifying to the point where I abandoned my dream and pursued IT.

Thing is……everything we’ve been told is a lie.

From birth we’re told that someone who earns £100k is better than someone who earns £10k, we’re told that someone who drives a BMW is better than someone that drives a Ford, we’re told that big boobs are better than small boobs, we’re told a six pack and pecs is better than a beer gut and you know what, it’s all nonsense and all it does is make most of us struggle through life trying to achieve an ideal that is often neither possible nor even desirable once you attain it because it’s an utterly hollow concept. We’re continually bombarded with imagery that teaches us money = success and that money is so intrinsically linked to happiness you couldn’t possibly have one without the other. There is a favourite philosopher of mine called Alan Watts, a British philosopher who specializes in translating and adapting eastern philosophies and one of him most well-known lectures incorporated the question “What would you do if money was no object?” I implore you all to think on that, think and figure out how money has constrained your dreams and passions into a prison and think, what would you do if money was no object.

I was in that prison 6 years ago, I had an IT job that in US dollars paid a six figure salary, I drove a BMW, I had a big 4 bed detached house, ok I’ve never had a six pack or pecs but I had everything else I thought I should have to be happy…and the truth? I was utterly miserable and why? Because ultimately none of that stuff will fulfill you, true fulfillment comes from being true to yourself and following your passions.

In a world that tells you what you should want and everything you should want to be, you can stand firm and state for yourself who you are and what you want that is an immensely courageous and worthwhile thing.

All the clichés apply here, life’s too short, get out your comfort zone, follow your dreams, they’re all true.

Different is always scary and it was for me, the fear of failure, the fear of disappointment, the fear of rejection, it all serves to hold you back but here’s the thing. Following your dream rarely changes your life overnight, nor does it mean abandoning everything you have and taking on massive risk. My life changed day by day, little by little over 6 years from the life I thought I wanted, to the life I do want. I’m not going to sit here and tell you there’s no risk in changing your life, of course there is, there can be no reward without risk, but the bigger risk is never changing your life, floating through life absent of fulfilling your true potential, losing out on a life where you felt at peace with who you are and your place in the world. No longer striving to attain a life that would always be out of reach.

Here’s the other thing we’re taught, we’re taught that failure is a bad thing. Even the word, failure has negative connotations, that failure couldn’t ever be a useful thing, failure couldn’t ever form part of a larger success story. Here’s the thing, you will never succeed without failing, ever!

The minute you take a single step to start living the life you want you are a success and you are never a failure until you stop trying. No matter the setbacks, no matter the problems, if you just keep putting one foot in front of the other you will never be a failure. The only way to ever truly fail at something is to never try.

The other part here is that you need to take a conscious choice, you need to choose to follow your dream and it needs to be a dream you love because it’s going to be hard, you are going to be tested and you’re going to want to give up. A favourite saying of mine from Jim Rone is that “Life doesn’t get better by chance, it gets better by change” and the thing is, humans aren’t built to change. Our minds and our bodies love the status quo, no matter how damaging that might be and it will fight to maintain it. Your biggest enemy in any life change be it relationships, jobs, diets is going to be yourself and you need to be prepared to understand that and fight that when your mind is telling you to give up and go back to what you know.

A question I would ask you to ask of yourselves is “What is stopping you?” This was a question my wife asked me two years ago when I’d been pursuing voiceover but never given it my all. When I stopped to think of the answer I discovered I didn’t have a genuine answer, all I had were excuses and now two years later here I am recording this talk. As soon as you accept that anything is possible any reason why you can’t do it is an excuse.

I want to leave you with one final thing, these are the last words spoken to me by my Uncle Mike, a man who I greatly admired, he said “Keep on the Up and Up” and that’s all you need to do. Today, right now, take the first step toward your dream, google something, email someone, tweet someone, watch a video, do something, anything and then….. just keep on the up and up.

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