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