If you're sleeping on the fundamentals, read this.
"What people don't realize is that professionals are sensational because of the fundamentals."
In the past year, I've recently gotten into boxing as a hobby. I started with absolutely zero experience in combat sports, and the journey to being even remotely adept has led me to develop some important principles that have completely re-shaped my professional perspective.
Once I made it to the six-month mark of boxing, I was feeling a plateau in my abilities. To compensate for it, I began to experiment with different styles and stances that some of the pros were using. However, in my eagerness to look a little sexier and feel more unique, my face just ended up becoming a big fat magnet for my sparring partner's leather glove. After a short break, I began to really follow my coach's mantra "never skip the fundamentals." I went back to the basics - the very boring and repetitive basics that eventually led me to start blocking more shots and finally start moving forward as a fighter.
I feel like there are a lot of traps we fall into while developing our crafts, and for me, it's always been the belief that the fundamentals are something you master once and move on from. In reality, they should be honed consistently and practiced regularly, regardless of your level. An all-star basketball player continues to practice their free throws throughout their career, a master guitarist practices his or her scales to a metronome for hours a day, and likewise, a voice actor should be reviewing the core basics of their technique to display their mastery in the booth.
If you feel stuck in that plateau, although it may feel counter-intuitive, challenge yourself to dig deeper and get even better at your fundamentals. While it's true that learning new tricks can make you better, if your foundation isn't strong, the product will show. I would even argue that your fundamentals will always be the most important thing to practice throughout your career. Whenever I'm recording an audition, and I still feel like something is missing, I'm almost always able to fix that problem just by reviewing the preliminary skills I learned when I took my very first voice over class in 2017.
So if you're starting a business, or picking up a new hobby, relax and remember to focus on the basics. It's easy to get overwhelmed by all of the things you need to learn, but remember that the skills you learn in the beginning are the skills that'll carry you throughout your journey to be great at what you do.
Make sure to stay tuned! In the next article, we're going to talk about mindfulness, and how to stay in the zone professionally when the day seems to feel stacked against you. Make sure to leave a comment below and share your thoughts!
"Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying the basic fundamentals."