Once, when I was a kid, I damn near drowned at the local swimming hole. My best friend Craig and I had decided to bravely venture around the 15ft high diving boulder that jutted into the cool river in order to see what was on the other side. We were maybe 10 or 11.
Gamely, we paddled upstream and around the outcropping for what seemed like an hour – probably closer to ten minutes – to arrive spent and winded at a little cove-let with sheer rock walls that made it impossible to climb out or even to hold on long enough to catch our breath. I panicked. Frantically, I splashed and flailed while Craig yelled for help.
Fortunately, our chauffeur (my dad) had been monitoring our venture from a wary distance the whole time. He quickly appeared over the edge and extended his arms for us to grab, which we gaspingly, gratefully did. But rather than pull us immediately from the water he said simply, “Stand up.”
“What!?” I gurgled incredulously.
“Stand up,” he repeated, his eyes riveted to mine from above.
Terror gradually yielded to trust as we ceased kicking and let our legs drift to vertical under our bodies. Our probing feet soon found the soft sand of the riverbed. Extending our legs Craig and I rose in unison to discover that the water was only chest deep.
The ride home was pretty quiet, as I recall. There was no teasing, there were no sheepish yucks to be had from this lesson. It was the closest I’d come to this point in my young life to a near death experience. As sure as I’m here writing this I know that, had my dad not come to the rescue, I would have drowned in the shallow river that day.
What the heck does this have to do with being a voiceover entrepreneur? It’s that dreaded “no” thing again. Rejection is such a pervasive, unavoidable part of our professional lives that it can become like that river, seemingly bottomless. During the inevitable down times it feels like treading water. Do it long enough and we can fall victim to panic, lose our perspective and our trust that the riverbed is there below us, when in reality all we have to do is let go of the fear, find vertical, set our feet and rise up out of the water.
As of this writing I’m capping a decent couple of months of business; work has been steady if not earth shattering, I recently connected with a dynamic new agent (through a cold email!) and my existing reps seem happy enough to keep sending opportunities my way. I feel the riverbed firmly underfoot. Yet I know that slower times will come, and when they do I can always think back to that hot summer day when fear of the unknown almost took me under.
What experiences do you draw upon to get you through the rough times? Please feel free to comment and/or subscribe to my mailing list
Next time I wrap up my three-part series on “The Tyranny of ‘No.’” In the meantime, happy voicing! – Tim