One in Ten

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Blink, and you’ve made an assessment about someone, Malcolm Gladwell writes,

in his book by the same name. We do it all the time--whether consciously or not; we

size up people and situations, evaluate the pros and cons, assess the risks and

rewards.

In business, as in life, before investing in a company, or buying a home appliance,

for example, we perform ‘due diligence’, the act of making sure it’s wise to move

forward.

But in our hustle and bustle world of...

*I found you on the Internet.

*How fast can you turn this around?

*How many others are competing for the work?

*This sounds like an exciting project.

…it’s easy to forget the importance of crossing T’s and dotting I’s.

I’m the trusting type. Maybe I shouldn’t be, but I give people the benefit of the doubt,

trusting that they won’t use my recordings without paying for the right to do so,

and after 10 years in the business, this is the first time I’ve been stiffed.

One in ten ain’t bad, right?

The person turned out to be a real con artist— trading on the semblance of a

relationship with a bona fide professional to convince me of his own legitimacy.

In turn, I referred him to colleagues to provide services for a project that was

beyond my domain, and naturally coming from me, they trusted that this ‘client’ was

legit (though I disclosed that my own relationship with him was nascent.) Through

this process he gets people to provide services, and a whole lot more from what I’ve

since heard.

It’s hard not to feel foolish for not heeding the warning signs.

Were there red flags? Yes. Did I heed them? No.

Have I learned my lesson? Yeah, but I’d rather continue to trust in humanity rather

than become rigid with fear of the next super Duper.

Kondified

Have you been Kondo-ed?

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I’m about ready to surrender. But it sure is hard to let go.

ANGST

What is it I’m clutching? Paper. I’ve got a huge file cabinet filed with folders for every

voiceover project I’ve ever had, every client I’ve ever served, with scripts, notes, invoices,

and pay stubs.

Not only do I feel a sense of maternal pride and protectiveness (these are my babies who I

tended to after all), but I also appreciate having resources to refer to when clients would

come back to me weeks, months, or sometimes years later, to work together again.

And there’s the wonderful feeling of flipping through the files and being reminded of people

and projects that have dotted my career. It’s like looking through an album of photographs,

something fundamentally gratifying, verses the scanning we do of tens of thousands of

photos when looking for that one image we’re trying to get our hands on.

Over the years (I’ve been at this for 15 now), I have culled the folders, tossing thousands of

pages of eLearning scripts, medical narrations, and audiobooks, but there are some projects

I can’t seem to cast aside— like the many museum audio tours I’ve voiced.

But here’s the good news. I’m willing to try. So I’m conferring with colleagues who have

blazed the trail before me, cut ties with paper and forged digital systems for managing

their businesses.

I’ll keep you posted on how I do. In the meantime, if you have any suggestions, I’m all ears.

Kondo-me, baby!

April 25, 2019

As if providence knew that I had taken on the challenge to clean up my act, two books came

into my life: Organized Enough by Amanda Sullivan, and Outer Order, Inner Calm, by

Gretchen Ruben.

They both spoke to me in meaningful ways and made me think about my behavior in various

areas of my life: work, home and travel.

Here are some of the key ideas that resonated with me:

FLOW

Forgive yourself for accumulating all the stuff— clothes, files, your kids’ artwork from the

time they were old enough to hold a crayon, magazines, digital files, conference swag,

travel moments, business cards, emails, etc.

Let go of anything you don’t need, haven’t used, doesn’t fit, or you have multiples of and

doesn’t really serve you.

Organize what’s left.

Weed on a consistent basis since it’s easier for things to come into our homes/computers

than it is to throw them out.

And here’s an interesting question to ask yourself as you sift through your items:

Is this me now, or is this who I was in the past, or who I hope to be in the future?

As I asked myself this question throughout the day over the past couple of months, it

seemed I have a ton of things to let go of everywhere in my life.

200,000 Emails.

I started with my emails. Since I had to change hosts from Go Daddy to G Suite, it only made

sense to clean up as many unwanted emails as I could before porting them over to the new

platform. If you’re moving from one house to another, who needs to pack up and schlep

unwanted things? So I, rather aggressively, got rid of lots of emails from the past decade.

I scanned them in blocks of 500 to isolate any that seemed important, and I’m sure some

slipped through the cracks, but I feel lighter for having done it. Sadly, I can’t delete new

ones as fast as they come in, but I’m trying.

Closets.

I don’t know where the term “clothes horse” comes from, but I have way more than I need

and many items waiting for me to lose 5 pounds so they can fit again. I’ve always donated

clothing to Good Will and the Salvation Army over the years, but I’m being more aggressive

(and honest) about what I just don’t want to wear and need to get rid of. Some of the items

are beautifully made, and I’ve started giving to family and friends— with great success!

They’re happy, I’m thrilled and the clothes have found new loving owners (so I assume they

are happy too).

Who Doesn’t Love Swag?

Everybody loves free stuff. Makeup samples, conference bags, branded coffee cups and

water bottles, you name it. Here’s a radical thought: If you wouldn’t pay for it, don’t take it.

Let me tell you, I’ve started asking myself that question and the answer has me saying

“Thank you, no thank you,” a lot more often. And you know what? It feels good!

Does that shirt from 10 years ago that you rarely wear (because it doesn’t fit, has a little

stain, or is out of style) reflect who you are today, or is it something you hope to someday

fit your body and your life? Does that check stub from a project you completed years ago

have any importance to you now?

May 13, 2019

As I am sorting, sifting and selecting, there’s an “Incredible Lightness of Being” that I feel.

Letting go seemed scary, and sometimes still does, but afterwards I don’t feel a sense of loss.

It’s good fuel to keep me on this path, which is taking a lot longer than I thought or hoped

it would.

I remind myself, little steps, big victory, and don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good

enough.

June 9, 2019

What’s still left to do?

More email tossing.

More file tossing.

More clothes donating.

More book thinning.

More dead shrub removing.

Why I've Gone Missing

“ Life is growth . If we stop growing, technically and spiritually, we are as good as dead.”  Morihei Ueshiba

Life is growth. If we stop growing, technically and spiritually, we are as good as dead.” Morihei Ueshiba

Although I think the orange is snazzy, I opted for classic white to match my red and white checkered floors.

It's been a different kind of year so far. While my blog posts have been fewer, my focus on technical skill development has been greater. I've invested both time and money to improve my tools to record, edit and deliver the best quality audio for my clients. Also en route is an awesome new Studiobricks recording booth, coming from Spain, which will be delivered to my home in the Berkshires, where I spend a lot of time when I'm not in NYC.

It's there that I get to hang with my 3 year old grandson, tend to my garden, entertain family and friends and be in nature with the sights and sounds of streams, coyotes, hummingbirds, possums, whistle pigs— aka woodchucks and groundhogs— and the occasional bear.

Also, I've found inspiration in other people's writings:

Organized Enough, by Amanda Sullivan

Outer Order, Inner Calm, by Gretchen Rubin

These books really resonated with me as did their fundamental message: don't let perfection get in the way of good enough.

Now that's a hard concept for a gal like me, who was taught from a young age to always excel. Along with that comes a critical voice when perfection isn't reached. But is it ever, really? So while I continue to challenge myself to grow, to learn new things, and to be a better voice over talent, wife, mom, sister, friend and MomMom (grandma), I am also trying to be more accepting of who I am, where I am and what I can do for myself and others.

Still, I've taken some of the ideas in these books to heart and have begun to Kondo my life, by streamlining both my personal and professional spheres--files, clothes, emails, shoes, knickknacks-- you name it!

How is that going? I'll let you know in a blog post that's coming soon: Kondofied!


Vermeer or Veneer… Where does truth lie?

Vermeer’s   The Art of Painting  , also known as   The Allegory of Painting  , or   Painter in his Studio  .

Vermeer’s The Art of Painting, also known as The Allegory of Painting, or Painter in his Studio.

If I were Seth Godin, I’d write a clever title about the nexus of truth and artifice… but I’m no such mastermind, so I’ll traverse more plebeian paths instead.

I love art. I grew up going on archaeological digs with my family; back in the day when you could dig something out of the ground (in Mexico or Italy, where we often were), put it in your suitcase and bring it home to the States. That state of entitlement has long since gone, and rightly so.

A little history…. my dad, who lived until he was 95, was an entomologist— a bug guy. Many people confuse entomology with etymology, which is funny in his case because he loved words almost as much as he loved insects. I grew to have a greater love of the latter rather than the former.

Because of his research on flies and disease (for which he was renowned worldwide), we traveled as a family…. many summers to Mexico where he researched the flies that congregated at the slaughterhouses, and in Rome, where he earned the privilege of continuing his research under the Fulbright program.

My parents collected art over the years out of an organic appreciation for culture, and cultures different from their own. Along the way I was exposed to people from different countries, from all walks of life and learned about ancient civilizations. My parents schlepped my 3 siblings and I to museums, churches, architectural ruins, theatre, opera and even bullfights. We were frequently in new situations, in unfamiliar situations. Riding horses into remote villages; stopping by the roadside and being welcomed into the homes of poor farmers who fed us pizza from their outdoor brick ovens. We had a taste of it all thanks to their wanderlust spirit.

Like many of the antiquities they collected, somewhere along the way I developed a patina…. a thin layer of protection, a veneer, that protected me from the outside world, and kept my inner self safely guarded. This veneer grew to be a fairly permanent part of my persona. It was the ‘pretty’ me. The protected me. It became the professional me until I realized that the truest version of me was behind the curtain of perfection. But learning to remove that patina, to chip away at the veneer has been one of the hardest challenges of my adult life and my professional life. It exposes my most vulnerable self: the person who wasn’t sure she was good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, fast enough, deserving enough. But in today’s ‘conversational, real person’ voiceover world, the microphone wants to hear the real me and none other.

So on to Vermeer and The Art of Painting, also known as The Allegory of Painting, or Painter in his Studio, which is a 17th-century oil on canvas painting by Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer. It is owned by the Austrian Republic and is on display in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.

Which reality is true?
The one we see as a spectator witnessing the scene or the one inside the painting itself, in the moment? And isn’t it possible that the subjects of the painting— the painter and his subject, the young woman in the blue dress, are themselves sheathed in garb that protects them from showing their true colors?

This illusionistic painting is one of Vermeer's most famous and most interesting. Art historian, Svetlana Alpers, described it as unique and ambitious; and expert Walter Liedtke said “it is a virtuoso display of the artist's power of invention and execution, staged in an imaginary version of his studio.” Many art historians think that it is an allegory of painting, hence the alternative title of the painting. Its composition and iconography make it the most complex Vermeer work of all.

In classical literature one of the best-known allegories is Plato's Allegory of the Cave. In this work Plato describes a group of people who have lived chained in a cave all of their lives, facing a blank wall. They see shadows projected on a wall in front of them, which are created by a fire behind them… and begin to ascribe forms and names to these shadows, using language to identify their world.  According to the allegory, the shadows are as close as the prisoners get to viewing reality, until one of them finds his way into the outside world where he sees the actual objects that produced the shadows. He tries to tell the people in the cave of his discovery, but they do not believe him and worse, resist his efforts to free them from the cave so they can see for themselves. The philosopher finds greater knowledge outside the ‘cave of human understanding’, and he seeks to share it and enlighten the dwellers, but they think they are educated enough and ignore his entreaties, and remain in the dark, believing in the reality of their world as they know it.

Pondering these alternative realities, these layers of truth call into question where the essence of truth lies. Is my only truth inside me, or outside of me? Where does your truth lie?

Definition of veneer:

1: a thin sheet of a material: such as

a :  a layer of wood of superior value or excellent grain to be glued to an inferior wood

b :  any of the thin layers bonded together to form plywood

c :  a plastic or porcelain coating bonded to the surface of a cosmetically imperfect tooth

2: a protective or ornamental facing (as of brick or stone)

3: a superficial or deceptively attractive appearance, display, or effect :  facade, gloss a veneer of tolerance