Corn Chowder turned out to be the perfect brain food for re-arranging my life.
You’ll remember a couple of days ago I mused that I had too long put off contacting Barbara Winter — a person I had never met, but a Las Vegan highly recommended by a fellow VO artist Liz de Nesnera. In that blog, I promised myself to make a call to Barbara and try to schedule lunch.
That lunch happened Tuesday (yeah, that quick!). Now I’m so glad I took that initiative. Barbara would be proud I did.
Barbara is everything Liz promised: a person practiced at pointing out potentials and possible paradigms. (Wow, how’s that for alliteration!) She has a Newsletter called "Winning Ways"…talks about being "Joyfully Jobless", and wrote a book called: "Making A Living Without A Job".
By the way, I also mentioned Barbara’s book in my previous post. A reader of my blog saw the reference, bought the book immediately, and wrote back to say he’s already polished-off 3 chapters and finds it the perfect stimulus for his VO career. You can read his response under "comments" in that previous blog entry.
So, anyway, over a fresh bowl of hot Corn Chowder at Mimi’s restaurant, Barbara and I talked. Well…she mostly talked, and I did my best mind-sponge imitation.
Barbara challenges people who are of a "corporate" or "employee" mentality to look at choices or possibilities they may be missing due to upbringing, mind-sets or the ruts people create for themselves. Although she moved to Las Vegas for different reasons two years ago, she’s found in the pioneer spirit of the West, a like-minded culture…that of entrepreneurship.
After the Corn Chowder came the Asian Chicken Chop Salad (which we both ordered), and seeing that Barbara had scarcely managed a bite, I talked for a while…about how I’d always worked for someone else… about "settling" for a steady paycheck, ’cause it’s non-risky…about how that leads to a job without challenge, resulting in complacency, then boredom and sloppiness…about how I’ve come alive with the passion I bring to a new career in VO, and how much fun I’m having.
I tell her I’ve honed a pretty good repertoire of voice-acting skills, but it does me no good if I can’t manage my business, market my abilities, and build a base of clients. I also admit I’ve picked up any number of rah-rah publications on marketing, self-promoting and building-client techniques, and they strike me as having a sameness that borders on inspecting potato chips day after day.
She nods knowingly, but also offers encouragement upon hearing that my interests are broad, that my first moves seem appropriate, and that I’ve set myself up for a pretty good segue — a 5 year transition from news anchor to Voice-Actor, building the new career while pedaling along steadily at my bread ‘n’ butter.
Since this was a lunch introduction, and not a paid session, I didn’t expect Barbara would hand me an abstract of her latest work for my perusal…but honestly, just chatting with her, opens up one’s mind. She spoke in generalities, and in sharing about her own life as a speaker and motivator, she motivated me.
She’d probably say here that the ideas she offers are available in other places…that what she is about is not rocket surgery, er…well, you know what I mean. In fact, it would be harder, I think, for someone like Barbara to offer formulas rather than free-thinking.
I asked for referrals to some of her favorite books or authors, and she said it would be OK to share them here with you. I’ve already purchased both books.
"Small is the New Big" by Seth Godin
"Selling the Invisible" by Harry Beckwith
Barbara loves the way Seth Godin thinks, and highly recommends visiting his blog. In fact, the above-mentioned book by Godin is a collection of some of his best blogs.
Finally, Barbara seemed almost disappointed that I’m a PC user rather than a Mac afficianado, which she is (she also drives a Saturn)…but perked up when I told her I play racquetball with a passion. I’m not sure why, and it probably doesn’t matter.
I left Mimi’s with a doggie-bag of chop salad and my head in a Cumulus Cloud of possibilities.