Getting out of your own way can be hard! Thankfully, this month we have Megan Fahlenbock to help us. Drawing from her experience as an athlete and actor, Megan shares invaluable insights on the importance of a positive mindset and a strong mental game in achieving your true potential. Join her as she guides you through practical steps to identify, challenge, and silence your inner critic. Learn to replace self-criticism with self-love, focusing on your unique strengths and successes. Megan’s compassionate approach empowers voiceover artists and performers to overcome obstacles, embrace vulnerability, and excel in their craft.
Learn more about Megan: https://www.instagram.com/megaplaycoach
Hi there and welcome to Voiceover Experts, your monthly educational podcast, helping you bring your voice acting career to the next level with insightful lessons presented by voices voiceover coaches. I'm Megan Fahlenbach. Your voices may featured coach a little bit about me. I have a background in both sports and acting. I started modeling and acting professionally when I was 13 and quit the business a few years later to focus on my education in hopes of being intrigued by a career that would bring me more stability. So I became a professional water skier during summers while studying psychology at McGill University, and after graduating, I moved to Bangkok, Thailand to perform full-time in both a water ski show and a live action stunt show. While on a trip to Bollywood, I realized I couldn't fight the acting bug anymore because I needed to be up there on the big screen.
So I came back to Toronto to pursue my passion, and 25 years later, I'm still an actor and voice actor, and when I'm not performing, I'm a voice acting and mental game coach and the very busy hockey and soccer mom of two teenage daughters. This month we are diving into the hot topic of getting out of your own way. One of the toughest but most important components to your success in work and in life is your mental game and a strong mental game will not only positively affect your performance, it will also bring you the most happiness, success, and fulfillment in life. You, however, are one of the biggest threats to the strength of your mental game. Consider this equation that the highly renowned performance coach Timothy Galway presents performance equals potential minus interference. In an ideal world, one's peak potential would translate into peak performance, but that is rarely the case because there are interferences that get in the way.
The interference that gets in our way most of the time is our inner critic. We all have one and it reeks havoc on our potential and that affects our performance. These negative thoughts affect us by undermining our positive feelings about ourselves and others and can lead to many negative feelings and behaviors such as low self-esteem and negative mindset, perfectionism, analysis paralysis, imposter syndrome, self-sabotaging behavior, mental, physical, emotional, unwellness, addiction and more. Your inner critic is most likely a voice from your childhood. It might be the voice of a parent, a sibling, a teacher, an acting coach, a friend fren me or boss. This voice is constantly chirping in your ear, reminding you of your shortcomings and telling you all the reasons why you won't get the gig, how you're a failure, that you're too old to start a new career, or even that you're an imposter and everyone will soon see through you. Some psychologists say that the original function of this critical inner voice was to protect us from danger, hurt, pain. It was a
Way to ensure our survival because you never know what could be lurking around the corner. But more often than not, our inner critic offers an incorrect assessment of our abilities to keep us in our comfort zone at all times. It's an innate and ancient survival mechanism that doesn't want us to meet our potential because that involves changing and learning and growing. So our primitive brain uses our inner critic to send the message that change is scary. But when you're alone in your sound booth recording an audition or a job, do you really need anything threatening your confidence, self-esteem, and trust in yourself? No, you do not. Will it serve you to be in a state of analysis paralysis and end up working on an audition all day long trying to make it perfect because your fear of failure is so strong? No, it will not.
Do you think you are going to be able to meet your potential if you are performing to prove to your inner critic that you are worthy doubtful, don't you think you are more likely to meet your potential if you're performing for yourself as your authentic self immersed in all of your creative power? I say 100%. From my experience as an athlete and an actor I know I always perform best when I have a positive mindset. When I feel confident and my mental game is on point, I take risks. I seize opportunities, I play, I trust myself and I reach my potential. In the event that I don't book the gig or I make a mistake when I'm water skiing and I fall in the lake in front of a thousand people, I don't beat myself up. I am able to get back up again stronger and more confidently and try the trick again or do another audition with all the confidence that booking the gig is always a possibility.
But if my inner critic gets loud and tells me I'm going to forget all of my lines because I have a terrible memory or because I have never really been all that smart, or even because I'm not really a good actor, I've just been fooling everyone and gotten lucky all this time, well, guess what? If I listen to what my inner voice is telling me, there is a high probability that I will forget all of my lines. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy. If I tell myself I can't do something, then my brain will use my inner critic to sabotage me so that I probably won't be able to do whatever it is I'm trying to do. In that moment, I am in my own way, which leads me to the moment we have all been waiting for. How do we get out of our own way? The first step is identifying your inner critic. Draw a picture of it. Name it. Mine is called the judgmental case. I love a good port Monteau. Write down all of the criticisms your inner critic tells you all of them. The judgmental case likes to tell me I'm mediocre at best, that there are so many more talented people out there that I don't deserve success or happiness, that I have just been lucky and haven't worked hard enough to get where I am today and lately it's too late. You're too old.
You had your beauty to get you to where you are today, so you are never going to make it. Now ug acknowledge what your inner critic is telling you, but remember, your inner critic does not hold the power you do. Your inner critic's voice is not a reflection of reality. As I mentioned before, it most likely stems from a viewpoint you adopted based on criticisms you heard in your early life that you have internalized as your own voice and your own point of view. It might also be your biggest fears and worries speaking up regardless of where your inner critic comes from, you need to move on to the next step, stat and challenge your inner critic. One way to accomplish that is to challenge your inner critic and those negative thoughts with a more realistic and compassionate evaluation of yourself. So I might say, sure, there are always going to be more talented people out there, but that doesn't mean I'm not talented as well and I'm me and there is only one me and no one else will bring what I bring to the table or the microphone or the lake.
I will also focus on my strengths and on my successes, big and small and all of the obstacles I have overcome. I will remind myself that I have spent a lot of time dedicated to my craft and I am good at what I do. By leaning into self-love instead of ruthless self-criticism, you can only move forward if you find there might be some truth to some of the things your inner critic says. Turn those messages into opportunities to learn and grow. But remember, there is a time and a place for teachable learning moments. If your inner critic is raging during an audition, it's probably not the best time to reflect on the words it's shouting. Instead, it's time to shut down your inner critic and get into the zone, which brings us to step three. Silence your inner critic. Remind yourself that your inner critic needs you, not the other way around.
Your inner critic is only effective if you are willing to listen to what they have to say. Thank your inner critic. If you want, tell them that while you appreciate them trying to keep you safe and risk free, this is not the time or the place to point out your shortcomings, recenter yourself, breathe, focus. Get yourself back in the moment, get present, and sit in your power because you are enough, you are worthy and you deserve all the happiness and success. Caveat. If shutting down your inner critic feels impossible and it feels bigger than you, then you might have experienced trauma from constant criticism during childhood, and that can change the way the brain develops. Exposure to repeated, harsh remarks and criticisms before the age of 25 can create a mindset that lends itself to self-limiting beliefs, low self- esteem, anxiety, and depression. If this is your reality, you may not be able to silence your inner critic alone. Be gentle to yourself and reach out for help
Because this is bigger than you, and most importantly, you are not alone. We all deserve the chance to live our best lives, and trust me, by identifying your inner critic, challenging your inner critic and silencing your inner critic, you will help you get out of your own way. Being a voiceover artist and performer is hard work. Not only does the craft itself demand constant attention, but it also demands a mind body, soul connection that can leave us feeling exposed and vulnerable. We experience a lot of rejection highs and lows, and we don't get a lot of feedback, so we have to trust ourselves, remain positive and keep on going, and most people who aren't in the business do not get what we do. Remember, if you really want this, then do the work. Bring yourself to the work and get out of your own way. Break a leg out there or should I say break a lip. Thank you so much for listening today. Again, my name is Megan Fahlenbach. I'm available for both one-on-one, voiceover and mental game coaching, as well as team coaching. So please reach out. You can email me at mega play coaching gmail.com and you can follow and DM me on Instagram at Megan Fahlenbach or at Mega Play Coach. Subscribe to voiceover experts for free wherever you listen to podcasts and grow your career today. Thanks for listen.