Don’t Be a Slacker - Always Give Your Best Performance

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Getting the First Assignment

Early in my voice narration career, I was fortunate to receive an assignment to be the exclusive narrator for a specific genre at a publishing company. The publisher spent months listening to hundreds of voice demos and when he listened to my demo he was enamored with my voice and felt it was the perfect voice to deliver the message in the collection of books in this particular genre. I was thrilled to have been selected and worked hard to give my best performance with each assignment.

A Slacker

By the time I reached book #15, I was feeling mighty proud of myself. I whizzed through the narration. And, while I enjoyed the assignment, if I am to be perfectly honest with myself, I didn’t put 100% of my effort into the narration. I guess you could say I slacked off. The lower level of enthusiasm that I put into the narration showed itself in the final production, a lackluster, dull presentation of words spoken into a microphone.

As I listened to the final production, I wanted to re-record the entire book before sending it to the publisher. I should have done that; instead I told myself it was good enough. I submitted this project with the expectation of receiving the next project the next day as was the usual procedure. But, guess what? Even though the publisher complimented me on my inflections and interpretation of the book, he took a moment to comment on my interest. He questioned whether or not I had issues with the subject matter. He asked, “Is this a topic you are not comfortable with?” He said I sounded tired. He noticed the same thing I noticed prior to submission and he noticed what others will notice when they hear the audiobook. He noticed a flawlessly read book that lacks luster and is not worthy of being published.

Never Rest on Your Laurels

We all know when we are putting forth our best effort. Whether it is writing, singing, or performance of any type, we know when we release a product or performance that is not up to par. We know when we have not given our best to the world.

I let this publisher down. I rested on my laurels. I fooled myself into believing that since I was the best for the job, the publisher should be happy to accept what I give him. Wrong!

I should have treated book #15 with the same level of excitement and enthusiasm as I treated book #1. I should have given it my all. I should have been the best that I could be and not sent the product to the publisher until I was thoroughly happy and excited about the performance.

You Can Be Replaced

No matter how good you are, never rest on your laurels. Never be so satisfied with what you have accomplished that you become lazy and complacent.

For every opportunity, there is a selection process and when you are lucky enough to have been selected, you can bet that there are going to be thousands of other people waiting in line to be the next person to fill your position.

Always strive to be better or there will come a day when your best isn’t good enough. You can quote me on that.

Don’t let the door hit your rear end on the way out!

My good reputation and voice demo opened the door to a wonderful opportunity. My talent let me in. Ironically, it was my talent (or lack of talent) that opened the door again, only this time, it lead me out the door the same way it let me in.

I don’t know if I will ever receive another assignment from this publisher again, but I can tell you for a fact that if I am ever given an opportunity to work for this or any publisher, I will give the assignment everything I have to offer. I will strive to be the best. I will remember that there are other people chomping at the bit to have an opportunity to do what I do and they are waiting in line behind me.

Always do your best. What you plant now, you will harvest later.

— Og Mandino

Update! A Chance to Make Things Right

A few days ago (September 6, 2015), the publisher who I referenced in the story contacted me to say he would have another assignment for me soon. That's good news and you can bet it will be the absolute best performance I have ever delivered. No more slacking!

© 2015 Marlene Bertrand

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Comments 46 comments

MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 weeks ago from Northern California, USA Author

Thank you for your comment, louise-barraco. It means a lot. With this experience, I learned a lot about working hard to do my best in all that I do and hope that by reading what I did wrong, others would learn from my mistake.


louise-barraco profile image

louise-barraco 4 weeks ago from Ontario

There is a great lesson here. Preformance is done in everything that we do no matter what it is we should always try our best and you have described that well.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 9 months ago from Northern California, USA Author

Yes. We live and we learn gerimcclym. I did give my new assignment everything I had and was thrilled when the client said it was my best job ever.


gerimcclym profile image

gerimcclym 9 months ago from Colorado

Although I am not a performer, I can connect with your article, as there have been times in my life I wish I could rewind so that I could do things differently. I was so glad to hear that the publisher you mentioned in your article contacted you again with another assignment. I can only imagine you gave it your all! We live and we learn.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 14 months ago from Northern California, USA Author

Thank you sujaya venkatesh. It is a very good life lesson for me. I will remember it forever.


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sujaya venkatesh 14 months ago

what an insight


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 14 months ago from Northern California, USA Author

Thank you, The Dirt Farmer. At the time I originally wrote this hub, I had no hope of ever obtaining another assignment from this publisher. I am glad I had another opportunity to apply my utmost skill to the job.


The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 14 months ago from United States

So glad the publisher gave you another chance, Marlene!


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 14 months ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hi Kristen Howe. Thank you for your feedback. As glamorous as voice acting sounds, it is really hard work. The fun part is when it is all over and you get to hear the results. I do non-fiction. Mostly, I narrate memoirs and self-help books, plus every now and then I get to do industrial productions like company "how-to" instruction manuals. I've also done a few commercials. Those are really hard to do.


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Kristen Howe 14 months ago from Northeast Ohio

Marlene, good luck with your next book voice-over. That must be a fun job. Do you do fiction or nonfiction or both? Just curious. Thanks for sharing your hub, which is motivational and inspirational at the same time.


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MarleneB 14 months ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hello pstraubie48. It is a lesson I have learned well.


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 14 months ago from sunny Florida

You are so right...giving it (whatever the task may be, even mundane ones such as housekeeping) 125% is the way we will leave that task feeling good about having done it.

How well you have stated this, Marlene. Angels are on the way. ps


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 14 months ago from Northern California, USA Author

I think you are right, RTalloni. The client said I did a good job. He likeed my interpretation, but my voice sounded like I was a little tired. I know now that no matter how I feel, I still need to perk it up a little.


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 14 months ago from the short journey

Oh! I'm so glad because with your great perspective both you and he will benefit from the continued working relationship!


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 14 months ago from Northern California, USA Author

Thank you for your feedback, RTalloni. Every day, I remember this lesson. The good news is that the client recently called me back to let me know he was giving me another opportunity. I am so grateful for that. I will not ever be a slacker again. It will be the BEST job I ever did. You can bet money on that.


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 14 months ago from the short journey

Just an excellent post to offer others for thinking through our own work! Remembering this message is a help to giving our best to our work. I hope this will be posted in many places. I'll do my part… :)


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 15 months ago from Northern California, USA Author

Cheers back to you, Akriti Mattu. And thank you very much for your compliment.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 15 months ago from Northern California, USA Author

I wish I had learned this lesson much sooner, sujaya venkatesh. The good news is that two days ago the client reached out to me to let me know he would have another assignment for me. You can bet I will put all of my heart and soul into this one.


Akriti Mattu profile image

Akriti Mattu 15 months ago from Shimla, India

All of your posts are so good. Cheers.


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sujaya venkatesh 15 months ago

true need to put our heart and soul in any of our ventures


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 15 months ago from Northern California, USA Author

You are absolutely right, promisem. I want to be able to look back and know that whatever project I completed, I gave it everything I had. Moving forward, I know I will put forth my best effort in everything I do... every time.


promisem profile image

promisem 15 months ago

Excellent and motivating Hub. I'll add that when you get to the final years of your career, you can look back and know that you gave 100%, even when the effort didn't produce a success.

An A for effort and B- for results is better than a B- for both. :)


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 15 months ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hello ChitrangadaSharan. Thank you. I always appreciate the encouraging feedback that you share.


ChitrangadaSharan profile image

ChitrangadaSharan 15 months ago from New Delhi, India

Excellent hub and I must applaud you for your honesty. This hub will definitely teach people to give their 100% and not rest on their previous laurels.

Nice, interesting, motivating and very well written hub!

Thank you for sharing!


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 15 months ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hello Shyron E Shenko. Your mammaw's words are words every successful person should live by.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 15 months ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hahahaha! CrisSp. Thanks for quoting me. That should be my motto. You can bet I will be practicing that saying every day.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 15 months ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hi Suzanne Day. Yes, I have learned that every job must be given its best effort.


Suzanne Day profile image

Suzanne Day 15 months ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

In this new world of ever growing global competition, it is easy to feel worthless. However, there is lots of room for people doing their best work and I've found that doing your best does shine out above the crowd and attracts a much bigger audience in the long term...


CrisSp profile image

CrisSp 15 months ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

Love Og Mandino and yes, I'm quoting you for, "Always strive to be better or there will come a day when your best isn’t good enough." - True say!

All we need is a great attitude everyday. Thank you for sharing your lesson with us. We all need to keep this in mind.


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 15 months ago

Always strive to be better or there will come a day when your best isn’t good enough. You can quote me on that. And I will first chance I get.

My Mammaw use to say any: “Any job worth doing is worth doing well.”

I always try to do my best no matter what I do, to always give 110%.

Blessings and hugs my friend.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 15 months ago from Northern California, USA Author

Thank you Michael-Milec for sharing your feelings about the subject of doing your best. I like your approach to assuring you have done your best. When we have completed a job and it is worthy to be presented to the Lord and He would be proud, then we know we have done our best.


Michael-Milec profile image

Michael-Milec 15 months ago

Ouch Marlene, the #15 must be and exclamation sign for you. At least I would be feeling that way. On the other hand, you are generously presenting great lesson of lifetime: do your best, " do as unto the Lord." With the same motto, all my life since early youth I haver been troubled with following " In the same way, when you have done all you were commanded, you should say, We are good-for-nothing slaves; we've only done our duty." Do you know how hard I always tried to do my best?! Almost all my life until a couple years ago, - when suddenly I received assurance : When doing my best, in absolute peace ,quite often I hear myself to say " Lord you know I would do the same for you, this is my best..." ( Can I say it now ...?)

Perhaps the earthly bosses have different approach to understanding and to forgiveness. You have manifested bravery, by sharing hard learned lesson. God bless you.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 15 months ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hello DDE. Thank you. I did learn a great lesson with this experience.


DDE profile image

DDE 15 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

A well-organized hub and so interesting. A great lesson and with a great meaning.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 15 months ago from Northern California, USA Author

Faith Reaper, thank you for your kind-hearted support and inspiration. It means a lot to me.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 15 months ago from southern USA

Marlene, thank you for sharing such a valuable lesson here. Yes, we should always do our best and you're so right about there being someone out there who can replace us in a minute.

I was about to say I voted up and awesome and more, but we can't any more, but I will certainly share, tweet and G+

Blessings


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 15 months ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hello BlossomSB. From now on, I will take my own advice.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 15 months ago from Northern California, USA Author

Yes, MsDora. Good words to live by and I shall strive to live by them for the rest of my life.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 15 months ago from The Caribbean

Thanks for sharing this valuable lesson from your own experience. "Never rest on your laurels." Good words to live by.


BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 15 months ago from Victoria, Australia

Good advice here. Thank you!


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 15 months ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hello Ericdierker. Yes. Staying in the moment is an excellent way to view this lesson. When we stay in the moment, we see more clearly what our relationship is to the task. This is certainly one lesson I shall remember forever.


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 15 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

What a great experience to relate to us. Thank you. Giving our best at all times is what we owe others. I see it most in attitude when less is presented. Somewhere along the lines we get wrapped up in ourselves rather than the task at hand. Your lesson hear reminds me to stay in the moment.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 15 months ago from Northern California, USA Author

Yes, Bill it is a very good lesson. The funny thing is, when this publisher hired me, I didn't think I was good enough. Now, look at me thinking I'm so talented they should be grateful to receive what I give them. Who's the fool? Me! This is one life lesson I will keep near for a very long time.


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billybuc 15 months ago from Olympia, WA

I had to learn this lesson the hard way at the age of twenty-one. I've never forgotten it. Turned out, back then, my shit really did stink, excuse my language. :) Since then I've tried to allow humility to grow and keep the work ethic my parents passed on to me. Great lesson here, my friend.


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MarleneB 15 months ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hello word55, thank you for that tidbit of advice. I think I learned that one a long time ago, so now I wake up each day and say how grateful I am to have certain people in my life. You never know when you might lose a good thing. And, as for this current lesson - yes I have moved on and that is what has allowed me to write about it. It provides closure to acknowledge my mistake. By acknowledging and owning that it is indeed my mistake, I am able to take value in the lesson learned. There is going to be something more wonderful to come and this timely lesson assures that I will be as grateful as ever for the opportunity - whatever it may be.


word55 profile image

word55 15 months ago from Chicago

Hi Marlene, Excellent lesson to learn here. I understand. Yes, sometimes we take for granted that our performance is good enough especially when we've had a notion that it may not be or may not have been. There is nothing I need to add to what you've expressed here except, you've got to move on. You've learned from the mistakes made and there is a better challenge/opportunity to use your talents in a brighter light. So had to learn better at some point in your life so now, you are past it. I hope you have moved on. Thank you for sharing great advice. By the way, that happens a lot in relationships. Oh how we wished we had treated someone better and not taken them for granted. I just had to add that tidbit.

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    MarleneB profile image

    Marlene Bertrand (MarleneB)582 Followers
    107 Articles

    Marlene is a voice artist for commercials, training guides, and audiobooks. She is often sought and hired to narrate and produce memoirs.


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