During my initial interest and perspectives on stage fright, I wondered what others pictured when they thought of the concept. My artistic friend, Michea, jumped on the idea and sketched this up. Allow me to translate some of the components in this depiction of stage fright and its ties with life.
The Spotlight: Being put on the spot is a situation that many dread. Imagine how many times you had to think about what you would say to someone when they asked “What will you do now?” during a major life transition. There are numerous figurative and actual symptoms one can have under pressure:
Accelerated heart rate
Shortness of breath
Trembling or shaking
Choked up feeling
Confusion or unassuredness
The Judge: Self-judgement can also be called “labeling.” Criticizing ourselves or others with negative lables like “loser” or “weak” puts us in the position as a judge dropping the gavel on one’s potential, including our own. Judging also causes us to disqualify any positive accomplishments or qualities that can be offered.
People: ”What will they think of me?” Making assumptions about what people will think of us without actual evidence puts us in the role of fortune-telling. We anticipate that things will actually turn out badly before anything has happened. Talk about the impact of role-playing! Unfortunately, this leads to negative consequences. We also take peoples’ negative reactions and behaviors very personally.
Opportunity: So where does this leave us? While it is common for most people to not do much because of fear in pursuit of their dreams or goals, there are answers and solutions to help us start making progress in the grand scheme of things. After being honest about our settings, we can create a new mindset in regards to the Spotlight, the Judge, and the People. The way we shape and perceive anxiety is what makes the difference in our performance.
IT’S OK TO FEEL ANXIOUS. It is a part of the experience. One of the first important steps is to accept the anxiety and not be afraid of our fear. Keep the focus of our purpose and consider the difference we can make as we impact the lives of the people we connect with. We can think of other times we have been successful, and know that we can be successful again. We are capable, and as we speak the vision the the right people, we’ll build a great support group.
One of my friends said: “This recession is allowing others to depend so much more on each other as we pursue what we really want to do together…” This is a great belief as we truly go after ours despite the different pressures we face. Let’s do this together. The stage is set, and the show is ready to start.
PS. For more information on overcoming fear of performing, check out In The SpotLight by Janet E. Esposito M.S.W.