Oh Happy Friday, Dear Manifesters! This post is such a special treat. I first met the actors Tara Platt and Yuri Lowenthal last year at a culinary retreat they were attending that I was co-hosting with chef Caspar Poyck. I fell in love with them immediately. I thought they were a cute couple who had just met and were madly in love. I was wrong. They were in their 9th year of marriage at the time and madly in love. All weekend I watched them with awe. The way they interacted with each other, and with the world, was in a word, inspiring. I have made it a mission to have people in my life whom I want to model my life after. And Dear Manifesters, these two are at the very top of my list. They are love embodied. They are talented and funny and creative and vibrant and present. I am humbled to have them as guest posters today. Of all things, this post talks about finding your own true voice, which has been my mission this last year. There are no accidents. Oh, and did I mention that they are funny? Check out their new series Shelf Life.
Enjoy this post as you find your own voice.
Find Your Voice by Tara Platt and Yuri Lowenthal
From the title of this blog, those who know us probably assume we’re about to talk about voice acting because it’s what we’re known for, and it’ll tie into that a little, but let’s dig deeper.
The Universe is listening.
What are you telling it?
And, so as to be clear from the start, we’re not just talking ‘The Secret’ here.
This isn’t simply about consciously manifesting what you want in your life. This is about your voice.
Your physical voice, but also your voice as represented by what you put out into the world.
It’s what people hear, but it’s also what they see. It’s the mark you leave wherever you go. In a way, your voice is everything, your very existence. And many of us never even find our voice before we’re gone.
We’re so worried about how we’re being perceived by others– if we’re cool enough, smart enough, or thin enough –that we choose to silence our true voice out of fear of being inadequate. And that’s a disservice, to you and honestly, the rest of us. Plus, it actually takes more energy.
It’s like damming up a river.
Your power lies in your own unique voice.
You can avoid it all you like, but that’s where the gold is. And yet we fight all the time with the idea of who we’d rather be than ourselves. As actors especially we can become overly concerned with the idea of “Oh, I can play anything. Just tell me what you want and I’ll be that.” But not only do you immediately give up your power when you say that, you give up the strength of YOU.
Why not bring YOU to the party and let them see why the character might be better because YOU’RE playing it?
Besides, you can never really know what anyone else wants, so why should you waste your energy trying to become what you think they want? Your voice is like a fingerprint, setting you apart from everyone else.
“But what if I’m NOT what they want,” you say?
Then that’s okay! Trust us! We’re in the business of hoping that people want us and it’s not always easy to be okay with people not wanting us some of the time. A favorite quote of ours is “If everyone likes you you’re doing something wrong. Popularity is overrated.” Not sure who said it, but we hope they’re right. And it’s the only true way you can ever stand out from the crowd.
And we’re not saying that it’s necessarily easy to make the decision to commit to your true voice and go with it. Self-discovery can be tough and scary. It can take time to figure out where your bliss lives and what YOUR voice is. Or maybe you’re already close. Or maybe you’re already fully in your voice and more power to you (literally)! But either way you can start by just becoming aware in little steps. Ask yourself, “What makes me happy?” “When do I feel shut down?” “What about me do people really respond to?” And sometimes it’s hard to be objective about that kind of thing so you may want to do something as basic as sending out a list of random qualities or adjectives to people who know you well, as well as people who maybe aren’t as familiar with you and ask them to circle the ones they feel represent you. It’ll help give you an idea of what you’re putting out, whether you’re aware of it or not. And try not to take it personally. Some of the qualities they come back with may not be how you see yourself, or how you want to see yourself, but it’ll help you learn.
Once again, we’re not saying it’s easy.
In the interest of full disclosure, one of the reasons we’re writing this is to remind ourselves exactly how important this is so we can work to become more aware. We still struggle with wanting to change who we are. And having been married now for ten years it’s been about finding our individual voices as well as our voice together as a partnership, which hasn’t always been simple.
We can change things about ourselves that aren’t working for us, but don’t ignore the gold you’ve already got. And EVERYONE’S got some. Sometimes it’s just buried deeper. But it’s there, and it’s worth digging for.
So remember as you move through the world– ordering coffee, answering the phone, following your dreams, creating art –your voice is your unique mark on the world and every time you use it it gains power and gets easier.
So wield it well and truthfully.
Tell the world who you are and what you want and don’t be too surprised when the world becomes a better place. For you and for us.
Tara Platt & Yuri Lowenthal are actors, writers and producers living in Los Angeles. Together they’ve written the book, Voice-Over Voice Actor: What It’s Like Behind The Mic (www.VoiceOverVoiceActor.com) and are currently producing the comedy webseries Shelf Life (www.ShelfLifeSeries.com). They are easily stalked on Twitter at @TaraPlatt and @YuriLowenthal.
Jennifer Pastiloff, Beauty Hunter, is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Check out jenniferpastiloff.com for all retreat listings and workshops to attend one in a city near you. Next up: South Dakota, NYC, Dallas, Kripalu Center For Yoga & Health, Tuscany. She is also leading a Writing + The Body Retreat with Lidia Yuknavitch Jan 30-Feb 1 in Ojai (1 spot left) as well as Other Voices Querétaro with Gina Frangello, Emily Rapp and Rob Roberge. She tweets/instagrams at @jenpastiloff.