By: Billie Jo Konze
From: Billie Jo Konze, Voice/On-Camera/Stage Actor
Pivot is such a buzzword these days. The pandemic has forced and/or encouraged a LOT of people to suddenly switch course to different industries.
A lot of people suddenly want to pursue something completely different.
A lot of people want that something different to be voiceover, because they don’t realize:
How competitive it is
How much money they’re going to have to invest
That it isn’t just speaking into a microphone
That they’re going to have to start a real business
A few months ago, someone commented on one of my posts that he didn’t know WHY he wasn’t making money in voiceover yet…and it had only been three months. I don’t even know if he’d gotten coaching, set up a space, or what, but it sounded like he had extremely unrealistic expectations. Don’t be that person.
Even now, after decades of acting and five years of going hard at voiceover, there are days that my own inner voice starts being a big ol’ negative Nelly, and I think about taking a course on phlebotomy.
You THINK I’m joking, but one particularly bad day recently, after giving blood, I did look up what it takes to become a phlebotomist…then I promptly considered the potential downsides, closed the browser window, and got back to my auditions.
Because I know what those people don’t know—that everything looks easier from a state of ignorant bliss.
I’ve written about this in a previous post, but I’m going to write about this again, because I don’t think enough people know about Kelley and Connor’s Emotional Cycle of Change.
We start things from a state of uninformed optimism, thinking that this new endeavor is going to be a breeze! That enthusiasm gets us up the first hill, but as we learn more, we start to slow our roll.
And then we have to slog through informed pessimism (aka the pit of despair).
Perhaps you know this feeling if you can remember, as a child, blithely cruising on your bike down a steeply paved hill, and then hitting a spot of sand that had settled at the bottom of the slope. It’s unexpected and knocks you on your ass.
If you were lucky, then, as a child, your parents taught you to get back up, brush yourself off, and keep going.
Because once you get back on your metaphorical bicycle and keep pedaling up the next hill, you eventually hit informed realism…which is where all your work starts paying off.
The kicker, though, is that those downturns will always appear again.
If you have learned from the first one, you will look ahead for the sandy spots. You will slow down and go gently over the speed bumps. You will swerve around giant puddles and remember to stop at traffic lights. If you always remember that momentum ebbs and flows, you won’t get as upset when you are speeding along but suddenly have to start again from a dead stop.
And you will know that the following statement is true:
Starting over with a different bike won’t essentially change the journey. The road is the same.
For a more thorough explanation of Kelley and Conner’s Emotional Cycle of Change, check out this great explanation by Mike Shreeve of the No Pants Project.
Are you considering a pivot?
Be honest with yourself—how many times in your life have you started a new endeavor with boundless enthusiasm, only to give up when it got too tough? Or when you couldn’t slog through the boring parts of the project/job/hobby to get to the good stuff?
If you haven’t learned how to get past informed pessimism, you should NOT be thinking about a pivot.
You are going to repeat this cycle over and over and over again, and every time you are going to blame the job, when really it’s about your approach to the job.
Before you pivot, ask yourself:
Have I done everything I can to make my current situation work?
Have I asked others in this industry who are further along what else I might be able to do to improve my results in my current industry?
Am I pursuing this pivot mostly because I think it will be more fun or easier than my current job?
Have I talked to multiple people in the industry/job I want to pivot to? Have I asked them what they love most and dislike most about their jobs?
How can I dip my toes in the water and not jump straight into the deep end? Can I do a stage (restaurant lingo), internship, class, job-shadowing, etc in order to see the daily workings of this job?
What do I enjoy and what am I good at? Where do my various skills and interests overlap?
What are the actual realities of the current job market?
4 Steps to a successful pivot:
Exhaust your opportunities in your current situation. Determine if you’re giving up too early.
Research the new industry thoroughly—what education you’ll need, startup costs, jobs available, years to get established, etc.
Test drive the new industry before committing. The glamour of some Food Network shows might make you think you want to become a chef, but the realities of long hours on your feet, stress, heat and low pay might not be apparent until you’ve worked in a kitchen.
Know what you’re up against—if you’re going into a competitive industry, be ready for those bouts of informed pessimism to be especially brutal. Have a plan to keep up your morale and mindset when the going gets tough.
Want to talk about a potential pivot, or about achieving your goals?
Please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m happy to arrange a free 15 minute strategy call to bounce ideas around.
Have a great week!