In sports, momentum shifts can occur once, twice, or many times throughout the course of a game. In my favorite sport, baseball, a momentum shift can happen in an instant. Both teams are tied throughout most of the game, and in one inning, two players quickly get on base. With one swing, a player drives in three runs with a timely home run. All of a sudden, you notice the pitcher starting to force pitches and make some costly mistakes. The fielders start to make some fielding errors they haven’t been making the entire game. The scoring team seems focused and continues the scoring onslaught. Things can unfurl and go sour very quickly for one team while the other team seems focused and in control. A momentum shift like this can happen in any sport and can happen in life too.
More importantly, this momentum shift can happen in your career, whether it’s in voice over or in any other career. Studies suggest that psychological momentum “encompasses changes in [your] sense of control, confidence, optimism, motivation, and energy” (Crust & Nesti 2006). When you lose psychological momentum, you start to lose focus of your goals and start to make costly mistakes (Markman and Guenther 2007).
What are the symptoms?
There are 5 symptoms which signal a shift in momentum. In voice over and in life, these symptoms are bound to occur…
Let’s use auditioning for voice over jobs as an example to illustrate these 5 symptoms.
Sense of control: You send out audition after audition after audition but don’t get a response, positive or negative. This makes you lose your sense of control in your own success.
Confidence: Because you haven’t received any feedback from your auditions, you start to question your abilities as a voice over talent and may feel like you are not good enough to book more work. This can be crushing to your confidence.
Optimism: Your unsuccessful audition attempts create a dry spell of work. Negative thoughts start to creep into your thinking. Your bright goals and dreams for the future become dim, slowly burning out bulbs of hope.
Motivation: When you lose that sense of control, your confidence, and your optimism about the future, it becomes extremely difficult to motivate yourself to keep moving forward. You start thinking: “What’s the point? I can’t book a job anyway.”
Energy: All of these symptoms lead to a complete lack in energy. Why would you exert hours upon hours of auditioning time only to become exhausted and not book any work?
These symptoms create a vicious cycle of inactivity and failure; a complete loss in momentum. When these signs occur, you start to get sloppy and lose focus on your bigger goals. So, how can you influence your momentum to work in your favor in your voice over career, thus avoiding this downward spiral?
Here’s what you can do:
1. Admit the shift in momentum: Take notice when any of the previous signs of a shift in momentum occur. Negative shifts in momentum happen to everyone. Researchers have found that you need to understand the signs and recognize them before you can make a positive change (Hartley 2010). You now know the signs, so you’re already on your way.
2. Find a focus point: When you recognize the signs and notice them going in the wrong direction, you need to find a point of focus to regain your positive momentum. For example, focus on your day-to-day routine. This may include auditioning for a couple hours, cold-calling for a couple hours, writing a new blog, or coming up with new and better marketing strategies. Make a to-do list and focus on taking care of those small goals every single day. What YOU do is all you can control.
3. Build from successes: When you focus on and complete these day-to-day goals, you are leveraging your situation to give yourself a fighting chance at success. Eventually, you will book a voice over job, find a new client, or at the very least spread the word about your awesome voice over business. These small victories go a long way in shifting the momentum in your favor. Keep it up and build upon it.
4. Enjoy the ride: When you start to feel the momentum shift in your favor, enjoy the ride. I don’t mean you should get lazy, but allow yourself to enjoy the successes. This positive energy can help you to keep focus on your main goals and to continue the momentum through the “dry spells” or possible failures ahead.
Disclaimer: Building momentum is not easy. It takes constant focus and grit, day in and day out. But do you want to be the team that scores 6 runs in an inning or the team that gives up 6 runs, commits 3 errors, and loses the game? 2013 is your year to score 6 runs in an inning and even if you start falling behind, you never lose focus or momentum in the voice over game. Give it your all and good luck!
What steps are YOU taking to build momentum in your voice over career?
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Crust, Lee, and Mark Nesti. “A Review of Psychological Momentum in Sports: Why Qualitative Research Is Needed.” Athletic Insight: The Online Journal of Sport Psychology (2006): n. pag. Web.
Hartley, S.R. (2010a) ‘Athletic Focus & Sport Psychology: Key To Peak Performance’, Podium Sports Journal, December 2010. Available Online. HTTP. < http://www.podiumsportsjournal.com/2010/12/09/athletic-focus-sport-psychology-key-to-peak-performance/> (accessed 21st December 2010).
Hartley, Simon. “Momentum Shifts in Sports – Value the Psychology Behind Them.”Podium Sports Journal (2010): n. pag. Web.
Markman, K.D., & Guenther, C.L. (2007). Psychological momentum: Intuitive physics and naïve beliefs. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 33, 800-812.