What do dentists and voiceover coaches have in common?
Skills and knowledge are just some of the things that are constantly changing and evolving in many fields. Did you know that nurses are required to acquire continuing education credits to maintain their license? On top of that, every 2 years we have to renew out BLS/CPR certifications, and for me personally every 2 years I've also needed to renew my ACLS (which is like CPR on steroids). Fun fact: I'm one of like 3 or 4 people in my institution to have scored "perfect" for CPR on an electronic dummy that tests compression technique and rate.
I want to talk about why it's important for your skills and knowledge to get training from experts, even if you already know what you're doing.
I'll start by stating that one time, I didn't go to the dentist for roughly a decade.
Yeah. It's a really bad thing to say, I know.
Conventional knowledge is that for proper oral hygiene, you're supposed to brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day. In my late adolescence (a period when wisdom is abound), I decided that because I was doing exactly that, there was really no point in going to the dentist. In retrospect, I can now MAYBE acknowledge that perhaps this was a ridiculous thing to believe.
Mainly because it is ridiculous.
But...like, in my head - I had made this deal, right? Huh? Who did I make the deal with?? Dude - I don't know. It doesn't matter! Don't ask questions like that! I just had it all figured out, ok?!
I'm arguing with myself here. Stay focused.
The deal was - if I brushed my teeth twice a day and flossed once a day, I wouldn't NEED to go to the dentist. I'm already doing what's expected. Naughty people who don't do that were the ones that needed to go to the dentist. People who jay-walked, didn't return their shopping carts, drove slow in the left lane - these are the people who also think they are too good to brush their teeth twice a day and floss every day. They're the ones that are supposed to go to the dentist, get their teeth cleaned (mine were clean, see? I brushed twice a day and flossed every day), and have their cavities all sorted out or whatever. I was good. I was being diligent, so there was nothing to need to worry about. That meant I had no need for the dentist.
Turns out, that's not the way that things work.
Shame on me for assuming.
My girlfriend, however, knew better.
In a really strange gesture of thoughtfulness, she decided that for a birthday present, she would surprise me with a trip to a dentist while we were out celebrating my birthday in Mexico.
Oh- I'm dead serious. She took me to some random dentist in Mexico for my birthday. After I had not gone to the dentist for like 10 years.
I can still say that this was a very strange way to learn the error of my ways.
I'll start with this thought: I did not at first realize that it was years of tartar buildup that the dentist was removing from my teeth with her suspicious little metal tool. I just thought she carried a metal implement that she shaved innocent peoples' teeth with and that this was going to be how it all ended for me.
My girlfriend then added a teeth whitening treatment to the package. This, incidentally, resulted in not only my teeth, but also MY GUMS being bleached - stark white - for a period of time and a subsequent chemical injury. It would be about a week before I could actually brush my teeth again after that. When all was said and done, I had very white, very clean teeth and only a slight mistrust for my girlfriend and the dentist.
Since then, I have been much, MUCH better about scheduling regular cleanings and understanding the importance of regular dental health. Because I know what will happen if I don't do that. That's right - my Spanish competency will be tested with my mouth full of metal.
"Michael Apollo Lira, where the heck are you going with this ridiculous rant?"
OH, I'LL TELL YOU WHERE!
We depend on the industry's professionals for the general maintenance of our dental hygiene. Right? While the day to day stuff is our responsibility, we still need the professionals to make sure we're doing things right, not developing bad habits, or not making any blaring errors in what we do! They are there to keep us on track!
DOES THIS SOUND FAMILIAR?! IT BETTER!
YOUR VOICE COACH DOES THE SAME THING.
You better be getting coaching and making sure you're doing things right before you wind up at some random dentist in Mexico getting your gums scraped to kingdom come because you thought you were "above it all" for 10 years! Because that's what happens, you little miscreants!
A proper coach is there to see/hear things that you might not be catching and to clean up and polish your rough or neglected spots. And here's the kicker - you might not realize you're neglecting these things. If you go a long time without regular voiceover hygiene, you might develop some bad habits that are really hard to break or "clean up". You want to get strapped to a chair?! This is how you get strapped to a chair!!
THIS is why it's so important to regularly check in with your coach!
Don't be like me with that whole dentist ordeal, folks!
PRACTICE GOOD VOICEOVER HYGIENE.
And a heartfelt shout-out to my voice coach, Scott Burns! Not only does he NOT strap me to the chair when we work together, he is a wonderful voice coach and a top-notch guy to know.