The focus of my talk was about transitioning into a new path and the mind-set that brings it all about (and sometimes gets in the way.)
Have you ever thought about doing something completely different in your life?
It doesn't necessarily have to be as extreme as changing careers (but it might.) Maybe you've thought about packing up the family in an RV and traveling across the country, or taking an Italian cooking class, but you quickly dismissed it from your mind for any number of reasons.
My hope is that by the end of this article you'll take another look at that idea, and begin to take some steps to make it a reality.
For whatever reason, many people tend to focus on the "I can't" reasons when thinking about exploring a new interest. Each time the thought comes to your mind you default to "I can't do that because..." There are certainly some famous exceptions to that rule though, if you need some inspiration. People like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Richard Branson, and Walt Disney come to mind.
And the excuse that you're too old or too far along in your career to make a change, is just that - an excuse.
Walt Disney was 51 years old when Disneyland first opened in California. For a decade before, everyone (including his wife) gave him all the "I can't" reasons. He followed his dream and completely changed the world of entertainment.
Sue Monk Kidd wrote her first novel, The Secret Life of Bees - a NY Times bestseller and major motion picture - at the age of 50. She had a career as a nurse for over a decade before pursuing her dream of becoming a writer.
The point is that whatever your vision for your life, whether it's a significant or dramatic career change, or maybe even deciding to explore a new interest - do it. Make a plan and implement it. Start. Don't focus on the time, because there's never enough of it. Focus on the "what." What can you do right now, today to move toward your goal.
When I speak of changing career paths and exploring new interests, I definitely speak from experience.
My career path has evolved from pharmacist to Mayor to amateur screenwriter to professional voice actor and podcaster, and I can tell you that the journey is never a linear one.
You can hear my complete story on my most recent podcast episode.
Over the course of my journey, I encountered my share of obstacles, disappointments, setbacks and ultimately success. But the overriding theme has been to follow my gut and pursue my dreams with focus and determination.
After a lot of hard work, I'm proud that I'm now an author, having written a book about my journey into voice acting (Paid To Talk, available on amazon.com in paperback and kindle version,) and created a podcast where I interview amazing and inspiring people from all areas of the Voice - Over industry.
I built a home recording studio, and my voice - over career has transformed from an interest, to a hobby, to a legitimate part-time job that is quickly evolving into a full-time job. I work with a growing number of clients, voicing eLearning projects, explainer videos, corporate trainging videos, audiobooks, and audio coursebooks.
I recently recorded my new Commercial VO demo and secured representation from two talent agencies, in LA and Chicago. And most recently I landed my first national commercial voice-over job through my LA agency.
While I'm proud of these accomplishments, it's the journey that's been the most rewarding. Remember, this has been a 10 year journey - pushing myself out of my comfort zone,forcing myself to learn new things. While I didn't always know the exact path I needed to take, I did know that I had to take the first step.
There's a famous scene in one of the Indiana Jones movies where Indiana has to cross over a bottomless chasm to get to the Holy Grail to save his father. He remembers that the book had told him to "step out in faith." As he closes his eyes and takes his first step out into the chasm, the first part of a bridge appears. It had been there all along but was created in such a way that it blended in with the chasm. It wasn't until he took the first step and changed his perspective, that the path appeared.
So. let me ask you, what dream do you have inside you that you haven't let loose? Is there something you've always wanted to do but think it's too silly or you're afraid others might judge you, or heaven forbid, you think you're too old!
We only get one trip on this ride and once the sand goes through the hourglass, you don't get to turn it back over.
One of my favorite quotes comes from author John Eldridge in his book Wild At Heart. He says "Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, because what the world really needs is more people who are truly alive."
Here's to following your dream and being alive!
All the best.
Mike Lenz is an entrepreneur, professional voice actor, audio book narrator, author, podcast host, husband and father. His ebook, Paid To Talk, is available on amazon.com, his podcast, Mike Lenz Voice – A Journey Into Voice Acting, can be heard on iTunes, and his online course, 5 Steps To Start (and Grow) Your Voice-Over Career, can be found at vosuccess.com. Mike is passionate about sharing stories from amazing and inspiring people from all areas of the voice-over industry, as well as sharing his insights with aspiring voice actors around the world. Mike lives in Saratoga Springs, NY with his wife and 4 children.