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Stop Blocking Yourself in Auditions and Performances - How Comedians, Actors, Musicians and Dancers Can Conquer Stage Fright.    Do you get the shakes and quakes, the upset stomach, the spinning mental state where your thoughts run wild with visions of you crashing and burning during an audition or performance? If so, you are not alone. Surveys show that the fear of public speaking is the number one fear people have in the entire world. Overcoming my own fears, nerves and scary emotions were one reason I have been able to help so many comedians, dancers, musicians, athletes, business people, speakers and other performers handle their stage fright issues. This article lists five strategies to help you conquer your actor's nerves.    773 words.
The Mental Game Coach, Peak Performance Playbook



Stop Blocking Yourself in Auditions and Performances

How Comedians, Actors, Musicians and Dancers Can Conquer Stage Fright



Bill Cole, MS, MA
Founder and CEO
William B. Cole Consultants
Silicon Valley, California



Do you get the shakes and quakes, the upset stomach, the spinning mental state where your thoughts run wild with visions of you crashing and burning during an audition or performance? If so, you are not alone. Surveys show that the fear of public speaking is the number one fear people have in the entire world. The fear of dying is number two. I used to have a real complex phobia – the fear of dying, WHILE giving a speech. Now that's a joke, but early in my career, that was pretty close to the truth. Overcoming those fears, nerves and scary emotions I had were one reason I have been able to help so many people handle their stage fright issues. I was able to understand myself more, learn mental approaches to handling performance nerves and conquer my own stage fright. Now I coach comedians, dancers, musicians, athletes, business people, speakers and other performers to unblock themselves and reach through to the other side to find their greatness. I also help people navigate the business and career side of being a performer.

A few years ago I received the apocryphal phone call from Hollywood. They had heard about my work with well-known professional and college athletes, in helping them perform to their fullest abilities, and wanted me for a reality TV show. It was to be about my work as a mental game coach. I put together a pitch, flew to Hollywood and in a matter of moments, had sold three reality TV show pilots to a producer. After spending many exciting times in Hollywood, and writing, producing and hosting, I now have these three reality show TV pilots in the can, and am marketing them to the networks.

My experiences as a mental game coach, Hollywood writer, producer and TV host help you conquer your actor's nerves. Here are five strategies I help my clients with every day.

1. Physicality Overcomes Mental And Emotional Nervousness: When you exercise the day of an audition or performance, you allow your lungs to expand, blood to flow, and muscles to relax. Deep breathing disrupts scared, high, shallow breathing, which is part and parcel of the stress response of stage fright. Intense exercise also helps to re-establish your norepinephrine levels and remove stress hormones that are within you. Take a brisk walk moments before going on stage and burn up your nervous energy.

2. Realize That Stage Fright Does Not "Happen To You": Stage fright is not "some thing out there" just waiting to pounce on you. All the nerves, muscle tension, strange emotions and weird thoughts running through your head come from you projecting a disaster scene that you think is about to take place. Focus on what you can control, and let the rest go.

3. Get Out Of Yourself And Give Yourself To The Audience: Stage fright is about you focusing on yourself, and your nerves, when you should be focusing on your music, your craft and your lines. You can choose to be "self-conscious" or "performance-conscious". Focusing on what you are doing will allow you to perform, and set you free. Stage fright is largely you thinking about being approved or judged by the audience. This is a guaranteed way to feel nervous. Instead, focus on what will help you perform.

4. Focus On Past Successes To Create Present Excellence: Experienced performers have a "success bank account" filled with their past terrific, wonderful performances and zone moments. They call up, and re-imagine these energizing images when they need a boost of confidence before a performance.

5. Breathe Into The Fear: Just as massage therapists tell you to breathe into the massage to alleviate the pain in your muscles as they are manipulated, you want to manage your breath so you can stay relaxed, stay focused, and maintain proper intensity. Proper breath control is essential to self-regulation in your performances.

I never dreamed I would get a phone call from Hollywood asking me to create a reality TV show. You never know what the universe will bring you. How about you? What are your dreams for your career? What do you hope to leave as your legacy as a performer? I want to help you create your own personal legacy. First, let's create a powerful plan for handling your stage fright so you can go into auditions full of confidence, and go into performances full of passion and inspiration, so you can move audiences and ignite a memorable experience for you and everyone who is lucky to see you.

Learn more about the Mental Game TV Show and see a show trailer.

Copyright © 2011- Bill Cole, MS, MA. All rights reserved.


Bill Cole, MS, MA, a leading authority on peak performance, mental toughness and coaching, is founder and CEO of William B. Cole Consultants, a consulting firm that helps organizations and professionals achieve more success in business, life and sports. He is also the Founder and President of the International Mental Game Coaching Association (www.mentalgamecoaching.com), an organization dedicated to advancing the research, development, professionalism and growth of mental game coaching worldwide. He is a multiple Hall-Of-Fame honoree as an athlete, coach and school alumnus, an award-winning scholar-athlete, published book author and articles author, and has coached at the highest levels of major-league pro sports, big-time college athletics and corporate America. For a free, extensive article archive, or for questions and comments visit him at www.MentalGameCoach.com.

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Conquer stage fright  
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