Are You Comfortable With Performance Anxiety?

Last time in What Is Your Greatest Fear?, we discussed the common fears that performers face.  These fears cause you to doubt your abilities and skills and feed your anxiety level as you prepare for performance.  What’s more, when you get used to these anxious feelings and fearful thought and behavior patterns, you tend to settle into a place we commonly call a comfort zone.  It seems odd, doesn’t it, that even an unwanted state like anxiety can become so familiar and comfortable that we are willing to stay in this zone, and even maintain it, for fear of stepping out and being uncomfortable for as long as it takes to make the necessary change.

“Nobody ever died of discomfort, yet living in the name of comfort has killed more ideas, more opportunities, more actions, and more growth than everything else combined.  Comfort kills!”  —T. Harv Eker

That’s the trouble with operating from a comfort zone.  The very fact that we are comfortable, so to speak, begs the question, “Why change?”  It’s as if we’ve drawn our own line in the sand that we won’t cross over!  Our thoughts are not our allies here because they end up telling you the same thing they told you yesterday and the day before that.  We are entrenched in the habit of our thought patterns.  If you don’t like what you’re hearing in your head—“I just can’t do it.”  “I always get in my head at auditions.”  “I wish I could perform as well as I practice.” “My nerves just take over and there’s nothing I can do.” “I’m just not good enough.”, then step out of these old patterns—these self-fulfilling prophecies—and break free!

“Move out of your comfort zone.  You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.”  —Brian Tracy

Benefits of breaking free of your Comfort Zone:

  • Enhances your enjoyment and experience of performing.
  • Stimulates brain activity and boosts focus on what’s really important.
  • Makes you more resilient and able to bounce back from mistakes.
  • Challenges and motivates you to excel.
  • Prevents you from becoming stuck in effective habits.
  • Increases your self-confidence!

The first step in breaking free is to accept that change is inevitable.  Now, if change is inevitable and that change could actually help you perform better and more freely and with less anxiety, wouldn’t you make that change?  If your answer is yes, then a little risk is involved.  You will need to risk a little discomfort.   That’s the next step—to consider discomfort an ally.   Think of “discomfort” as a sign that you are breaking free and progressing to a new, more effective way of thinking and approaching your performing.

When you start trying something new—positive affirmations, new self-talk, a more effective pre-performance routine, your old thoughts are going to want to defend themselves and your old ways.  They are going to try to keep you in that familiar zone of anxiety and fear with “It’s too scary.” or “It’s too uncomfortable.”  When you hear these thoughts, just reply, “I’m headed for a break-through!” or “I’m really making progress now!” and remember all the benefits that can come from embracing risk and discomfort—enhanced enjoyment, better focus and ability to bounce back, increased motivation and self-confidence!

The things you want or long for, but don’t have in your performing yet lie outside your comfort zone.  All growth and change will entail discomfort.

Stop running from your fear!      Stop resisting discomfort!      

Embrace CHANGE!

Sam Parker of givemore.com says it like this:

CROSS THE LINE:

With everything, there’s a line.

On one side of the line is a greater chance to give more, enjoy more, realize more.  On the other side, there’s less of a chance.

And with each line, there’s a choice.  You want to cross the line or you don’t.  You want the better chance at meaningful, opportunity, impact… or you settle with the lesser chance.  YOUR CHOICE.

It seems simple but…

There’ll be setbacks:  misses and hurdles in the short run that will make it seem like you can’t cross the line.  But those misses and hurdles, they might be just the lessons that help you in the long run.

There’ll be people:  individuals who’ve decided they’d rather not cross the line and would prefer you didn’t either—sprinkling in a little doubt, withholding a little encouragement, stepping in the way.

There’ll be YOU:  that inner voice that’ll remind you you’re not that special and things like that are for other people (What are you thinking?)

But there’s the line.    And it needs to be crossed.   It’s up to YOU!

Decide today that you’re going to break free of the old thinking and behaviors that hold you back and prevent you from performing with more freedom and joy!  What’s it going to take?

I would love to hear from you to see what you’re going to let go of to reach the next level!  If you would like to work with someone to help you as you break free, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

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