You get on the stage, and ego rushes in to say, "Don’t mess up."
That’s when the nerves would start to kick in. You’d know it as you’d likely see me pacing about if you were backstage with me.
While I had nearly 35 years of experience performing in a band, this was my reality every time I performed.
Sometimes, the nerves would be more pronounced. Other times, they would be barely noticeable.
Regardless, they were always present just before a performance.
And then I would go, "Oh yeah, I’m just a guy who loves performing with this band."
The same is true when I’m about to give a talk, lead a workshop, or anything else that has me at the front of a room.
First, let’s acknowledge that stage fright is real. It’s the anxiety you feel when putting yourself in front of others to share something you have.
For some people, stage fright might be so pronounced that even the thought of agreeing to get on stage is out of the question.
For others, they might have a mild panic attack just before getting on stage.
It might also be nothing more than feeling nervous.
Regardless of your experience, rest assured it’s natural and very normal.
So, what’s up with the anxiety referred to as "stage fright?"
Anxiety happens when you are confronting a problem. It’s information that can help guide what you do next.
If the problem is nothing more than a curiousity or consideration in your books, then your anxiety will be minor.
However, if the problem is major in your books, anxiety might hit you like a freight train.
Regardless of how you respond, it’s perfect!
Here’s what I do when I feel any level of stage fright before performing or teaching:
1) Acknowledge what I’m feeling — often acknowledging my feelings is enough to calm the anxiety significantly.
2) Talk to people — whether I’m about to run a workshop or perform music, talking to people gets me out of my head and connected with why I’m there.
3) Remind myself — "I’m just the guy who’s passionate about doing this." That doesn’t mean I need to be the expert; instead, I show up and share something I think others need to know.
The anxiety you feel every day is real. That doesn’t mean, though, that it has to stop you from doing something you want.
You’ve got this.