Are you a creative entrepreneur or small business owner, like me? How many of us give ourselves the right to take a vacation – a real break – to replenish our soul, to share good times with family and friends? I’m afraid that the answer these days is: fewer and fewer. Researcher and author Brené Brown, whom I deeply admire, believes that “our culture is moving in the direction of using exhaustion as a status symbol.” Workaholism is applauded, rest is perceived as slacking off, and this is taking a serious toll on the fabric of our lives. It’s time to reclaim rest and play.
I recently heard it said that part of what makes a successful voiceover career is to provide service without interruption to our clients even when we’re on vacation. We are to take mobile recording rigs with us and not let our clients know we’re going away, lest we lose an important regular client. My talented voiceover colleague Maxine Dunn calls this way of thinking a “fear-based business policy”. I call it a scarcity mindset, and I respectfully challenge it. When Brian and I decide to take our few vacations each year, I post the schedule on our website on our “studio availability” page and compose an email letting all our clients know well in advance, urging them to send us scripts to record before or after our days off. I add that during our vacation we are available for short and emergency jobs only. This works. People get it.
When we took our girls on a long-awaited trip to Europe last summer as a high school graduation gift, our clients were wonderfully supportive; I only had three jobs to record while we were away, for clients who were kind enough to apologize for bothering me on our vacation! The rest deluged us with work before we left, or waited for us to return and wished us well. I was there for my major clients, and I took my rest and came back nourished and fulfilled. This has consistently been the case since we started setting these boundaries, which it took some courage to begin doing, by the way. I didn’t always think this way.
We all deserve to rest and play. When we rest, our brain, hearts and spirits have a chance to regenerate and get reinfused with love, companionship of friends and family, nature, great cultural experiences, wonderful meals, and play. What’s the point of a being an entrepreneur and making your own schedule if you never give yourself permission to unplug and really take time off to enjoy yourself? What price are you paying?
I love my bilingual voiceover and Latin music careers, and I will continue to do my best to carve out the work/life balance that I know ultimately makes me a better voice artist, a happier business partner to all my colleagues and clients as well as a better person to be around, period! I have the best clients on the planet, whose expectations I am always intent on exceeding, but I am not only my work: I am the sum of all of my experiences inside and outside my recording studio. I am a mother of twins, a wife, a friend to many, a beach lover, yoga practitioner, doggie-lover, improvisational singer, occasional salsa dancer, foodie, a dreamer and TEDTalk junkie. How about you?