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Don't Let Stage Fright Stop You From Getting Up On Stage - Use These Five Performance Enhancement Strategies To Banish Performance Anxiety.    What kind of performer are you? Actor? Stand up comedy? Improv? Musician? Reality TV contestant? Dancer? If you audition or perform, you probably have experienced performer's nerves (stage fright). 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. This article shows you how.    572 words.
The Mental Game Coach, Peak Performance Playbook



Don't Let Stage Fright Stop You From Getting Up On Stage

Use These Five Performance Enhancement Strategies To Banish Performance Anxiety



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



What kind of performer are you? Actor? Stand up comedy? Improv? Musician? Reality TV contestant? Dancer? If you audition or perform, you probably have experienced performer's nerves. There are many names for this condition. Fear of performing, performance anxiety, glossophobia, 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.

  1. Barbra Streisand
  2. Sir Lawrence Olivier
  3. Andrea Bocelli
  4. Rod Stewart
  5. Carly Simon
  6. Tom Landry
  7. John Cougar Mellencamp
  8. John Madden
  9. Johnny Depp
  10. Roseanne Barr
  11. Willard Scott
  12. Winston Churchill
  13. Calista Flockhart
  14. Donnie Osmond
  15. Andres Segovia
  16. John Lennon
  17. George Harrison
  18. Pablo Casals
  19. Arthur Rubinstein
  20. Kim Bassinger
  21. Scarlett Johansen
  22. Elvis Presley
  1. Hugh Grant
  2. Tom Hanks
  3. Lucille Ball
  4. Abraham Lincoln
  5. Orville Wright
  6. Thomas Edison
  7. Albert Einstein
  8. Theodore Roosevelt
  9. Ulysses S. Grant
  10. Thomas Jefferson
  11. Ann Margaret
  12. Bob Dylan
  13. Brad Pitt
  14. Carrie Underwood
  15. Cathy Rigby
  16. Cher
  17. Courteney Cox-Arquette
  18. David Bowie
  19. David Letterman
  20. Don Rickles
  21. Erin Brockovitch
  22. Ella Fitzgerald
  1. Garrison Keillor
  2. Gene Hackman
  3. Gloria Estefan
  4. Harrison Ford
  5. Henry Fonda
  6. Ingrid Bergman
  7. Jim Carrey
  8. Joan Rivers
  9. Johnny Carson
  10. Julia Roberts
  11. Kevin Costner
  12. Michelle Pfeiffer
  13. Neil Armstrong
  14. Nicole Kidman
  15. Rene Russo
  16. Richard Gere
  17. Robert De Niro
  18. Sally Field
  19. Roy Rogers
  20. Sigourney Weaver
  21. Sir Alec Guinness
  22. Tom Cruise
  23. 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 have been helping amateur and professional performers in a wide range of disciplines manage and overcome stage fright for many years. I want to give you a glimpse now of five approaches that have worked very well for my clients.

Five Approaches to Conquering Stage Fright

1. 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.

2. You Can Perform Quite 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. Withhold Judgment Until You Are Off Stage. Performers who become nervous are afraid of doing poorly, and of being judged by the audience, being embarrassed, and of losing face. Often, they are their own worst critic. Everyone, even successful performers, has this concern, 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.

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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Banish Performance Anxiety  
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