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Overcoming Performance Anxiety

Secret: Really it's how to "work through" anxiety...it never completely goes away.

Colby Hawkins

on 25 October 2012

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Transcript of Overcoming Performance Anxiety

Overcoming Performance Anxiety Secret: It may NEVER completely leave you. Still hasn't for me. You simply learn to deal with it the more you perform. THE END. If you audition or perform, you probably have experienced performer's nerves. There are many names for this condition. Fear of performing, performance anxiety, social phobia, social anxiety disorder, blocking yourself, performing anxiety, performer's anxiety, performance jitters, getting nervous, taking the "pipe," (?) going comatose, locking up, freezing up, having a mental meltdown, being rattled and flustered, becoming a head case or basket case, gagging and being scared stiff. Whatever you call it, it is the good old "fight or flight" syndrome kicking in. You know how it goes. Before you go on, your knees may begin to shake, you feel wobbly, your hands tremble, your voice cracks, your stomach starts to talk to you, you get a headache, you wonder why in the world you are putting yourself through this torture, and you look around and wonder if it is still possible to run away and escape the impending doom. The good news is, you are not alone. Even better news? There are very, very well known performers who have experienced this, and conquered it. The best news? You can overcome it too. In a moment, I'll show you how.

But first, here is a list I want you to read of the many famous performers and high achievers who have been, or who still are, plagued with either incredibly debilitating stage fright or extreme social anxiety (shyness). As you read this list, realize that though they have this malady, they have found a way through it to pursue their craft. Barbra Streisand
Sir Lawrence Olivier
Andrea Bocelli
Rod Stewart
Carly Simon
Tom Landry
John Cougar Mellencamp
John Madden
Johnny Depp
Roseanne Barr
Willard Scott
Winston Churchill
Calista Flockhart
Donnie Osmond
Andres Segovia
John Lennon
George Harrison
Pablo Casals
Arthur Rubinstein
Kim Bassinger
Scarlett Johansen
Elvis Presley

Hugh Grant
Tom Hanks
Lucille Ball
Abraham Lincoln
Orville Wright
Thomas Edison
Albert Einstein
Theodore Roosevelt
Ulysses S. Grant
Thomas Jefferson
Ann Margaret
Bob Dylan
Brad Pitt
Carrie Underwood
Cathy Rigby
Courteney Cox-Arquette
David Bowie
David Letterman
Don Rickles
Erin Brockovitch
Ella Fitzgerald

Garrison Keillor
Gene Hackman
Gloria Estefan
Harrison Ford
Henry Fonda
Ingrid Bergman
Jim Carrey
Joan Rivers
Johnny Carson
Julia Roberts
Kevin Costner
Michelle Pfeiffer
Neil Armstrong
Nicole Kidman
Rene Russo
Richard Gere
Robert De Niro
Sally Field
Roy Rogers
Sigourney Weaver
Sir Alec Guinness
Tom Cruise
Britney Spears So how did it make you feel realizing that if these stars and icons can have performance anxiety, you're allowed to feel nervous also?

You can see that dealing with nerves is part of the performer's landscape. It is the rare performer who never gets nerves before performing. You just need to have a plan for dealing with it.

I want to give you a glimpse now of five approaches that work to manage performance anxiety,
Accept That Having Some Nerves Is A Natural Part Of Any Performing. Many famous performers across many venues STILL get very nervous before their performances, yet they manage to give very creditable performances, time and again. You can too, in spite of feeling some nerves. Nerves are energy. You just need to discover how to channel that energy. #1 You Can Perform Well And Still Be Nervous. Realize that you can be afraid inside, yet you can give a very respectable performance, and often, no one will know you were nervous, except you. #2 Use The Practice Overkill Principle. If you had a school test coming up, and you studied more than anyone else in the class, would you feel confident and comfortable going into it? Absolutely! And you would succeed very nicely because of it. But if you knew you gave studying a half-hearted effort, you would be justifiably nervous. The overkill principle means you completely know what you are doing, so nerves don't have a chance to get going. PRACTICE A LOT! #3 Play To Win, Not To Avoid Losing. Successful performers focus on what they need to do to succeed, not on what they are trying to avoid have happen. Visualize your desired outcomes and discipline yourself to not focus on the what-ifs, the possible disasters, the mistakes you could make once on stage. #4 Pee in your pants. #5 #5 Withhold Judgment Until You Are Off Stage. Performers who become nervous are afraid of doing poorly, and of being judged by the audience or being embarrassed, and losing face. Often, you are your own worst critic. Everyone, even the best succsful performers, has some anxiety, but nervous performers focus on this potential disaster scene in their mind. Stop catastrophizing about this trouble before it happens, or you will create its existence in a self-fulfilling prophecy by focusing on judging your errors as you are making them. People who turn in consistent performances are able to learn and use these five strategies, and to do a few other smart things that give them a system, or a process to go to that gives them peace of mind and confidence. They have a mental readiness system before they perform, and a way to access the zone, that special place where great performances live. That is what I teach performers, how to access the zone, and then how to access their greatness. How about you? Are you tired of being nervous and torturing yourself before every performance? Isn't it time to take your performances to the next level? I would be glad to help you do just that. Just kidding
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