Being a Generous Narrator: Live Open-handed

Questioning Generosity

Are you generous? (Whether you’re a narrator or not.)

How do you respond when someone needs your help? A favor, big or small? Maybe they are asking for a ride to the airport at 5am or they need someone to watch their adorable, but psychotic, pet for a week. Perhaps they are looking for a place to stay or money. Or an opinion on their new shoes or their relationship. Your expertise in a certain subject. Even something as simple as for you to do a good job. Be it time, physical or mental energy, money, or material goods – we all are called upon to do things for other people. Regularly. And we call upon others. 

When I first began exploring the world of audiobooks and corporate narration, I discovered the most wonderful thing! Besides the fact it is the first job I have ever considered a career, this industry is chock full of amazing, wonderful, kind, and generous people. I mean, not everyone is a peach, but that’s life. There are surely people who dislike me. Again, that’s life. But The Generous Narrator seemed real.

I wondered, was it truly possible that there are that many truly kind-hearted souls doing narration? Spoiler alert: Yes. Yes, it is. After a couple of years, I’ve stopped waiting for the other shoe to drop, for the facade to fall and started accepting the genuine nature of most of my fellow narrators.

So what does Marcus Aurelieus say about generosity and living open handed in his Meditations that sent me down this rabbit hole? 

Thinking about Helping

“Some people, when they do someone a favor, are always looking for a chance to call it in. And some aren’t, but they’re still aware of it – still regard it as a debt. But others don’t even do that. They’re like a vine that produces grapes without looking for anything in return. A horse at the end of the race… A dog when the hunt is over… A bee with its honey stored… And a human being after helping others…”

So many are one of the first two types of people: always waiting for favors to come back to them or keeping tally of who owes what to whom. Sadly, it is a small percentage of humanity as a whole who lives as the third type of person: giving of themselves where and when they can.

My narration family, my audiobook peeps especially, are the grapevine. They share and spread the love however and wherever they can. They live open handed. (I don’t think they do it just for the grapes, though most of them do enjoy a good glass of wine.)

Bonus days? Most even avoid the pitfall Stoicism warns about when being a Good Human: what is often called virtue signaling these days. (VIRTUE SIGNALLING | definition in the Cambridge English Dictionary) All too often, people fall into this and exert energy making sure everyone knows how amazing they are since they did X, Y, or Q.

Basically, when you see someone who needs assistance you can provide, do not think of the effect on you or to you – for better or worse. Think of the effect on THEM if you hold back. Give of yourself, however that manifests, without expectation. Live more than fairly. 

If we all just live fairly, then the world will indeed be a miserable place. While it sounds good in theory, in practice, we must live MORE than fairly if we want to be the race horse, the hunting dog, the honey bee. Otherwise, no one would ever strive, go the extra mile, turn the other cheek, help when they know it cannot/will not be returned.

The Kindest Industry

Finding a career where being generous isn’t met with ridicule and being taken advantage of is a dream come true. Is everything sausage and rainbows? Of course not, don’t be silly. But there is a higher percentage of genuinely generous narrators than, say, generous lawyers. 

Does narrating create the open-handedness or does the tendency to live open-handed make one more likely to be a narrator? Is it just that creatives like actors and artists are more likely to share and help without regard to themselves than the more business-minded soul?

Hard to say. We don’t have enough time here to debate the level of emotional intelligence in different types of people and whether or not this has any bearing here. (Though it is a rather interesting rabbit hole in itself.)

All I know is I have spent much of my life with more people who live with a closed fist than an open hand. They hold every iota of data, every ounce of emotion close to the vest, sharing only when they see what’s in it for them. When interacting with someone who does have the openness, these people grab and grab with zero consideration for recompense or the impact of their actions.

Now I am surrounded in audiobook and corporate narration land by people who care. People who will pick you up if they can or send someone if they can’t. I am honored and privileged to call these people my family. Yes, family. My blood will always be my blood, but some of these people are kindred spirits in every sense. The universe has been kind. I’ll take it!


Reach out to chat or just say hi. If you need a voice, you can hear me on my websites. Feel free to email with requests for auditions/sample reads : lisasware.com for audiobooks and lswareonline.com for corporate narration/eLearning.