….. According to a man still trying to figure out his own.
That’s how the title should’ve ended, but I felt that would have been a bit long. However, it is true. I am a man still figuring out my own strengths and weaknesses, so take everything I say with a grain of salt.
Over the last few years, I’ve really focused on dialing in my strengths and developing my weaknesses into strengths. It’s easier said than done and a humbling experience to admit to yourself when what you thought was a strength, was actually a weakness. I have a radio background and at first, thought that commercials were my strongest asset as a voice talent. Take a few VO classes and that theory will be blown to pieces. Wasn’t long into my first class for that slice of humble pie to reluctantly make its way to my mouth. Boy was it bitter. Without that lesson of “radio Brandon” coming through in my reads, I would’ve never been able to book a 3rd of the work I have over the years.
It is a weakness I still have to work through with coaching sessions and VO workouts as often as I can.
Knowing your strengths and weaknesses will always help you navigate through life. Whether it’s professionally, as in this case, or in your personal life, knowing, admitting, and working towards your strengths, while minimizing your weakness can only be of benefit.
It may not be fun to look yourself in the mirror or open yourself up to a coach and say “What do I need to work on?” However, it’s in those moments of clarity that your strengths and weaknesses can become known. Without them being known to you, you become stagnant. There’s nothing in this world that is stagnant. That is particularly true in the world of Voiceover. “Radio Brandon” would have done great in the ’80s-’90’s and probably encouraged to go even more DJish in delivery, but marketing and the way people communicate changes daily.
It’s been quite a few years since that first class and a while since I’ve seen the inside of a radio station yet, I still have to put in the work I’ve learned so I can connect more with the copy and character it requires.
The greatest part about minimizing your weakness through application is that by doing so you’re allowing your strength to shine. The strength(s) then begins to grow in confidence and manifest itself in other ways. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses gives you the confidence to focus your attention on them and it gives you specific things that you need to work on.
To relate this specifically to voiceover, there are going to be limitations to what you can do. I’m not a fan of the word “limitations” as it tends to immediately cast doubt in your abilities and I don’t believe the two always correlate. For instance, one of Webster’s definitions of Limitation is “the quality or state of being limited.” Quality and state are both things that can be improved on. Therefore you are only “limited” by where you are, not where you are going. While you are growing, learning, and developing, you’re moving from one “state” to another. I may have to put in more work to make sure the “turn and burn” radio delivery doesn’t come through my performance, but the quality and space I deliver them in now is vastly different than that first class.
Your voice is your voice, yes, but the quality in which you utilize your voice will grow as a result of you improving. Now, more than ever, it doesn’t matter what your voice sounds like but more importantly how real you can be in delivering the copy. Becoming the copy and being the copy.
Knowing my weakness, and I’m only mentioning 1 of many many weaknesses, has helped me define my strength and use that to grow my business in multiple genres within the industry. Of course, my goal is to add a few more genres to my repertoire and you can bet your bottom dollar I’m working towards it. My current state of “limitations” is nothing to complain about though and if you really stop to think about it, neither is yours.
Take what you know to be true, your strengths and your weaknesses, and use them to change your “limitation.”
No matter where you are, it’s not where you were and it’s not where you will be. So embrace where you are, be honest with yourself, and seek out the coaching/mentorship you need to change the quality and state of your business.
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