grattitude

What triggered these thoughts?

Since Thanksgiving, I have been working out regularly with my 15 year old son Jack. Jack and I have been work out buddies before, but never with such regularity. So what motivated me, a full-time working mom of 2, to stick to my routine this time? Well since 2016 Jack has been on growth shots. He was not producing enough growth hormone and was so small he was not even on the charts. Now, with the help of Nutropin, after just two years he has grown more than two feet and is bigger than I am! But, as with all strong medications, there are terrible side effects and one of them is that Jack’s blood sugar is quite high. The doctor suggested that losing weight would help. 

Jack and I joined the Max fitness challenge and have loved it. As a professional voiceover actor, I spend my days in a padded foam booth. Getting out every night for out 7:15 class has not only helped me reach me health and fitness goals, but has been invigorating in so many way.  Often others in the class will comment about how great it is that Jack is there and ask why he came. Not thinking any thing of it, I would answer honestly and explain about the growth shots and Jack’s sugar. Often as busy mom’s we won’t make a change for ourselves, but for our kids we will move mountains, right?

Well one night this week Jack told me that he would prefer that I “tell the truth” when asked why he was there. I was blown away, as I thought my reply could not be more honest. Jack said he was going to Max Fitness because he was looking for a harder, more challenging workout. That was it. He objected to my response because it made him sound like a “lazy schlub.” This really got me thinking. Two truths. Two sides of the same coin. But Jack’s perspective was surely the much more optimistic one. Jack’s outlook was full of hope and did not focus on any possible negative outcomes. This had me reexamining so many facets of my life. That very day I had been complaining that I had such a tough day, when actually four great things had happened. Instead of focussing on the great things as my kid would have, I was sweating the small stuff and letting everything that did not go my way define my perspective, and I realized that was ridiculous!

Just in Time for Grattitude Day

My conversation with Jack gave me a lot to reflect on. It turns out that Friday was National Grattitude Day. For someone who spends a lot of time working as a professional narrator, narrating other peoples explainer videos and projects, it was time to change my own narrative! Ironically, I am often chosen for projects because I sound hopeful, but I continue to be so hard on my self.

Well, this grattitude day marks the begging of a conscious choice to celebrate my successes instead of fixating on my own shortcomings. It is an irony of life that I am often specifically hired for the vocal qualities of being upbeat, energetic, and happy while internally I am measuring all of the things that I did not finish or the additional jobs I had wanted to book or the blogs that were never written or the friends that I never saw. After so many years of wanting to accomplish so much, it is easier to maintain this pattern of self scrutiny when we set the bar so impossibly high.

When the reality is that we are working more than 8 hour days, booking work in a super competitive industry, and somehow still managing to feed my family, help my kids with their homework, do the laundry, workout, and see friends from time to time. When I look it at that way it seems that working mom’s everywhere should not only be celebrated by our families, but we should be doing a heck of a lot more to remind each other  how proud we are!

This is My Fight Song…

A lot of times when candidates run for office they have a song for their campaign. When Jack and I are in our gym class every night, and I am just breathing and trying to make it through, a lot of times it’s the music that helps me get through. I focus on the song. The beat, the rhythm, the lyrics all help me pass the time and survive what our trainer has us doing. On Thursday the old song “Get Ready, Cause Here I Come” was playing and if there ever were a song that captured the spirit of how I feel, it is that song! The lyrics do not fit exactly, but boy does it get to the heart of how I feel. I feel like I am still just at the beginning of life’s journey and the world better be ready for me, because here I am:)

Giving Thanks

I don’t know what it’s like in your family, but around here when we have a yummy treat like fudge it only lasts for seconds! We circle around that package like a bunch of starving wild animals in for the kill and in the blink of an eye that box is torn apart and empty!

So, when I need to come up with a special gift, naturally fudge comes to mind! As a professional voiceover actor, all year I am rather focussed on physical wellness as it is so essential to my success. But, when holiday season rolls around, this is the time to roll out the treats and send them to the folks I am most appreciative of- my major clients. Each year, I review my financial data and take my top clients and send them a special treat. The treat should be just that, a special indulgence that they are not likely to buy themselves and lets them know just how thankful I am of their repeat confidence in me. It should be something that they are super excited to receive and that they will truly savor.

So, why did I pick a special assortment of fudge and salt water taffy from the Fudge Kitchen in Stone Harbor and Cape May this year? Well, first and foremost, the fudge is outstanding. Next, this fudge shop is special to my family. Let me flesh this out a little more….

Another Opportunity To Get to Know Each Other

As a small business owner, it is really important to me to build meaningful relationships with my clients. So, I try to make it easy for them to get to know me better. When I started my newsletter, I included this video

 which talks about how important going down the shore every summer is to my family. When we go down the shore, every night my kids get fudge from this very fudge store. They try different flavors from the samples being passed out and we typically let them buy a square. Let’s just say the fudge doesn’t last long! The fudge, then, is one of the best items that seems to be authentically part of the Jersey shore and since I am a Jersey girl, this is just perfect!

Carrying on the Tradition – While Supporting Local Business

It means a lot to me to take my kids to the beach every summer. As a full time working mom, I treasure this time with them and love every second! As a voiceover actor, it is often hard to step out of the studio, because leaving the booth means walking away from potential work, and I think as a small business owner there is always that struggle. But, on a beautiful, sunny summer day, there is no where I would rather be than on 96th street in Stone Harbor with my kids!

I have memories of being at the fudge store with my grandparents, and parents, and of all of them there with my kids, so in a very real sense with every purchase of fudge I am carrying on a family tradition.

I also love supporting a local business. It means so much to me that the small businesses stay open and continue to thrive. I have joked with my dad since I was a teenager that when I shop it’s good for the economy, but in this era of online shopping, I feel that it is more important than ever to patronize local stores. If we want these businesses to be there for the next generation, we must go to them now! Otherwise, with such stiff online competition, they will not stand a chance. So, when it came time to select a special treat for my clients, buying local was a priority.

The Holiday Spirit

How better to thank my clients and let them now how I feel about this special time of year then to give them a present fraught with meaning?  When folks say “’Tis the Season” the words “Of Giving” or “for Thanks” immediately spring to mind.  I am thankful for every single booking, bug and small. That is why I also take the time to send all clients and industry friends holiday cards as well. But I cherish the relationships I build as a small-business owner. I am not looking for one-offs, I look forward to working with clients over and over again, and I use this time of year to acknowledge how appreciative I am.

Building a voiceover business does not happen over night. It takes years of hard work and diligence. It requires a level of perseverance. It also requires an attitude of gratitude, because at the core of a sustainable voiceover business are these repeat relationships. I believe that clients come back for a reason, and I do not think that it is ever as simple as the voice on the other end of the mic or the equipment in my broadcast-ready studio.  After years of working with clients all over the world, from video production companies, to advertising agencies, to talent agents, to instructional designers, it is essential to stand out. And if you want to know me and to know my brand I leave you with one final thought before Christmas: fudge helps.