Do you find yourself getting anxious just before the spot light turns on you?
Even the paid stage professionals still get the butterflies! (It’s a sign you’re alive.)
Whether you’re in a meeting where you are expected to speak up or in a social setting, performance anxiety pangs are apart of our normal response system.
(Check out these tricks and tips in Experience Life on overcoming anxiety.)
I used to get pangs all the time. I occasionally still do, especially since I like being behind the scenes running the show vs. having all eyes on me.
BUT, I decided a long time ago if something made me feel afraid I would walk towards it/raise my hand and volunteer for it rather than run the other way.
As a result, along the path of my career I’ve purposely facilitated sessions, given speeches and presentations, taught a virtual class or two, lead business pitches, started my own business, and even flown on a trapeze (not for work) — all because it scared me.
How I performed doesn’t really matter, although I often surprise myself how capable I really am DESPITE what my brain would have me believe.
Nerves are just a feeling, not an indication of ability. And if you fail, who cares! You are learning/trying/living, and that’s a strategic advantage over time.
The secret is to find the right “trick(s)” that get you out of your comfort zone, focused on the right incentive, and stepping into the future version of yourself.
Here are a few tid-bits from the Experience Life article, which asks professional actors to shed some light on getting rid of nerves:
- What if in a scary social situation maybe you’re not actually being tested and found wanting.
- Maybe the happiness of everyone within a two-mile radius doesn’t depend 100 percent on what you say or do at that moment.
- Maybe nothing dreadful will happen if you step out of your costume. Maybe other characters can help carry the scene.
- What if remembering that no single scene is going to make or break your career. The more you practice, the better and more comfortable all your scenes will become. And every day, the curtain rises on a whole new show.
I always reflect on the fact we’re all here to learn and grow. No one has crossed the finish line and got it all figured out. No one.
…If they say they do, that’s when you run the other way.