I want to tell you a little story about Persistence and Consistency...
So often, people ask me what is the key to success in this industry... or what would be my best advice to give to new comers... and though there are many things I could tell you from my personal experience, persistence and consistency seems to be a common thread to everything I have to say.
Let me start by telling you a first-hand experience: I got a voice over agent when I first started acting. I took voice over classes and private lessons and I consistently auditioned at least once a week for voice over jobs... but NEVER booked anything. Year after year I continued to practice... continued to audition... would get some callbacks, but still, no bookings. I was lucky that my agent stuck with me even though I never actually made them money (if you don't know... agents don't make money until you make money). My mom even joked saying, "Are you sure you don't want to quit yet?!" (but I'll promise you it's a joke because she never really encourages me to quit anything).
But I consistently persisted... And it wasn't until TEN YEARS LATER that I booked my FIRST voice over job! TEN YEARS! A WHOLE DECADE! Maybe I had finally put in the 10,000 hours Malcolm Gladwell talks about. Or maybe I finally got lucky. Or maybe, I just got better... all I know is that keeping at it was the key to my success.
Had I given up... I would've never gotten the opportunities that I have today. That one voice over job gave me confidence and then not too long after, I booked my reoccurring role as Princess Samira on Nick Jr.'s animated tv show Shimmer and Shine. And then I booked another reoccurring role on a Disney XD show that'll start airing in 2018. I got to be the voice of Lynx in the video game Dropzone. And I started getting other little voice over gigs here and there.
That made me think about the rest of life and how persistency and consistency played a role... and I realized, those are the keys to success for many things. Because if you keep trying and you keep putting yourself out there, the only thing that CAN happen is that you get better and you will create more opportunities for yourself. One day opportunity will meet preparation and it'll be your time too. Like they say, "If there's a WILL, there's a WAY!"
I'm going to tell you one more great story of persistence and consistency. It has to do with pullups.
A few years ago I only knew myself as being SKINNY FAT... basically what that means is that... as a small framed, good-genes-blessed individual, I've always been petite and small... appearing healthy and in shape just because I was skinny. But then came along my best friend Nick and he changed my whole perspective on what it meant to workout and be in shape.
I used to go to the gym and frolic around... lifting some weights here, jogging on the treadmill for a few minutes there... I pretty much just did whatever felt fun to me in the moment and when it got too hard or wasn't fun anymore, I'd stop and go home. I worked out for the pleasure of it... which I guess sounds good... but Nick really taught me a lesson in persistence and consistence, even when things aren't fun and easy.
Through working out he basically taught me what hard work ethic meant. I was one of those kids that liked trying hard at things I was already good at, but stayed clear of doing things I could potentially fail at. I had a fear of failure and not being good enough. That played out fine for most of my life because I was naturally good at a lot of things I did as a kid. I was good at school. I was good at sports and dancing. So I succeeded easily. But that didn't help me build character within myself to overcome struggle. That's where Nick comes into the story.
When I first started working out with him I couldn't do NOT EVEN ONE pull up. I'd hang on the bar and he'd say, "PULL!" and literally nothing would happen. I felt like I was engaging all my muscles and trying as hard as I could, but I wasn't moving anywhere. He still made me try EVERY SINGLE WORKOUT. He said, "Even if you don't go anywhere, I need to you try pulling at least 5 times." So every day I'd go on the bar and practice pulling. He'd assist me through some but everyday we worked on them.
Then one day I could do ONE all by myself!!! It was soooo exciting! It's like it just clicked and I was able to do it. Maybe enough lat engagements made me just strong enough. So I'd do all of my reps one at a time. One by one.
Then eventually I could do TWO in a row!!! And that was even MORE exciting! From then on I'd do all my reps two at a time... and so on and so on... until I hit my personal record of 16 strict pull ups in a row all by myself. When people see me do pull ups they always comment on how most people can't do pull ups, and I usually respond by telling them that I'm not anything special or any crazy athlete, I just practiced them over and over.
So keep at it... whatever it is that you dream of doing or becoming... because some things just take persistence and consistency. The more you practice the better and stronger you get. The more you keep trying and putting yourself out there, the more connections you make of people who'd want to help you. So if you've dabbled in living your dream but it hasn't happened quite yet, just remember that every pull counts... every effort towards your goals ARE going somewhere. In the Entertainment Industry A + B rarely equals C, but you never know... because it might equal J! Plant those seeds... keep getting better. Never give up. As Nick would say, "Be persistently consistent!"