What 'The Voice' Audition Taught Me About Career Choices

Choosing Yourself in a World of Gatekeepers

I did something I swore I’d never do.

I auditioned for “The Voice.”

Why I swore I wouldn’t is a story for another day.

But boy, am I glad I did because it taught me a big lesson about career choices.

And I want to share it with you.

Long Lines

Imagine this: Me, standing outside Chicago’s Navy Pier. Cloudy skies, icy winds, and the kind of cold my late dad would describe as, “Colder than a well-digger’s ass.” I, along with a bunch of dreamers, waited in line for what felt like forever.

Stood in line for hours until I and nine other people stood in front of a blonde twenty-something with her head buried in a Mac Book.

All ten of us took turns singing our best 90 seconds.

I would say that 6 or 7 of us nailed it.

Two were out-of-this-world good. And one? Well, let’s just say they were finding their voice (barely).

But here's the kicker: only two got the nod to move on. One was phenomenal, and the other? Yeah, the one still looking for their voice.

Hours in line, and all the effort just to see someone with zero chance of winning get picked?

Man, I kind of felt like a sucker.

But here’s where the light bulb went off. This whole ordeal? It was a giant mirror to the working world.


This audition process? Old school. Needing someone’s thumbs-up to proceed.

Just like in traditional jobs where bosses and managers pull the strings.

Need a raise?

You gotta ask.

Need the go-ahead to explore a new idea you had?

You gotta ask.

Want to leave early to go watch your daughter’s gymnastics meet?

Sorry, you need to ask.


Need the afternoon off to recharge after putting in overtime on that big project you just finished?

Wait, you gotta ask.

Every time you want to make a move, get a raise, leave early, explore new ideas, etc, etc. You gotta raise your hand like a helpless third grader and ask.


Moral of the Story

Don’t wait for someone to choose you.

Why wait for someone else to pick you?

Jump behind the wheel. Be the boss.

Upskill. Find new gigs. Heck, spend a morning geeking out over the latest tech, or jam on that guitar on a Tuesday morning if you want.

Freelancing has changed the game for me. I decide when, where, and how I work.

And here’s something to chew on:

“The psychologist Bessel van der Kolk defines agency as the feeling of being in charge of your life: knowing where you stand, knowing that you have a say in what happens to you, knowing that you have some ability to shape your circumstance. People who exhibit agency have been shown to be happier and healthier, and have a higher quality of life.”

“Life Is in the Transitions: Mastering Change at Any Age” by Bruce Feiler

Look, if a Voice reject like me can flip the script, so can you.

Take control. Choose YOU.

Slave To The Grind

Speaking of taking control.

Remember the tune “Slave To The Grind” from the band Skid Row?

I must have listened to this hundreds of times in my late teens and early 20s.

But I never got the message until I was much older.

Key lines in this tune…

I gotta punch the clock that leads the blind

I’m just another gear in the assembly line

And the big take-away…

“You can’t be king of the world If you’re slave to the grind.”

Man, lead singer Sebastian Bach could sing with the best of them back in the day. Wonder if or how far he woulda made it onto “The Voice?”

Don’t be the one left behind, grinding away in the same old routine, especially when you have options.

One Of Those Options…

Considering the freelance life? Eager to grab that freedom and call the shots every single day?

I’m contemplating creating a 5-day Email Course that’s essentially your fast track to seizing control by dipping your toe into freelancing.

If this sounds like the game-changer you've been waiting for, just give let me know below!

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