And so it happens.
The big break that you’ve been waiting for. You’ve been working up to it, practicing, rehearsing, and preparing for it for weeks…months. You’re excited beyond belief. This is it…time to perform. It’s “go time”.
The countdown begins. 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1…the lights go up and it’s your time to shine.
Then, without warning, something comes over you.
Sweaty palms, a shaking voice, a feeling in the pit of your stomach so bad you want to vomit. Worst of all you can’t remember what you are going to say.
Paralyzed, you step out from behind the curtain and look as though you just saw a ghost. You tell yourself you can’t do it and so you don’t.
All that preparation…gone quicker than and Indy Car on a quarter-mile. You go home dejected, distraught, and without answers.
How could it have happened? You’re a rock and yet you cracked under the pressure.
Don’t worry you’re not alone.
It’s known as stage fright and 75% of the population is affected by it. It is the number one fear in the world and ranks higher than heights, insects, death, flying, and snakes.
The question is, what can you do about it?
You have no problem talking to small groups but when it comes to the big time or larger groups, you falter. I can relate. I remember the first time I got up in front of a large group, I trembled worse than an Earthquake. It felt like I had swallowed an apple whole and it was stuck in my throat.
As I stood out in front of the crowd I remembered what I had been taught.
Think about the audience as if they were just small pockets of people grouped together. Have an intimate conversation with each pocket and really paying attention to their reactions. Do this and it will feel as if you actually know them, rendering your stage fright obsolete.
I once had to do a presentation in front of a group, that included my manager, his boss, and the National Manager of the company I was working for. I couldn’t believe it. What a string of luck. I had suffered from stage fright and now had to put on the best show I had ever done.
Turns out I was the luckiest man alive.
The clock struck 10 and it was show time. I immediately unleashed an icebreaker to a member of the audience. She laughed, the audience laughed, and I laughed. At that moment, with very few words and one simple gesture, the fear was gone and I was able to have some fun.
At the end of the day who gives a shit what happens on stage? If you give the best performance of your life, congratulations. If you don’t, take some notes, learn from it, and go out a kill it the next time.
I promise you this.
In one year, better yet, one week from now nobody will remember it. And if they do, who cares? The best thing about life is that life is forgiving and will always allow you another chance if you accept it.
Ok, so you made a mistake the last time you were on stage and people judged you. Is there a better opportunity to prove that it was a one-time thing…a fluke if you will?
Now is the best time to go back out and crush it.
And I don’t mean just go out and pray that everything goes right. I mean go out, put on the best performance of your life and show the audience what the real you is made of.
Seriously, make it so good that they are running up to you to tell you how awesome you are. Make it so that as you walk off the stage, you have, excuse the term, a shit-eating grin on your face.
And if it doesn’t go well, refer to the point above.
Why is your confidence so low?
Are you ugly? Bad haircut? Tattoo you regret? I’m willing to be that it’s none of them. Everybody including you is deserving of the emotional, spiritual, and mental high that comes from being on stage.
Once it’s over you will feel the best you have ever felt.
- You overcame your stage fright
- You delivered the best performance of your life
- Suddenly you now realize that you are capable of it
- You increased your knowledge base
- You can add it to your ever-increasing repertoire of things you are good at
And so on and so forth.
Concern over your appearance
Yeah me too.
I’ll tell you something. In the 1980’s and early 90’s I sported not one but two of the worst haircuts in history (a mullet and a rat-tail).
Can your looks top that?
If I lived with that, you can get over how you think you appear. Remember, beauty is only skin deep. It’s what on the inside that counts. At least that’s what I kept telling myself during the “hair” years.
Visualize your success
This is it, the best thing you can do.
Picture yourself at the end.
Visualize running through that tape, crossing the finish line.
Feel the success running through your veins.
Think about how good you’ll feel and what you have just done.
Imagine what it will be like when it’s all over.
I promise you, do these and you’ll want to get back on stage in a heartbeat.
Cheers to your success,