“Performance anxiety was on the mind of a friend lately and he asked me how I, as an actor, overcome it. What follows is pretty much my response to his question. I added some audition and performance information at the end of my reply to him to further explore the concept.
‘Worry comes from what we think about and where we place our attention. The trick is to put your attention where it is useful (on the performance, or on the pitch when pitching your idea) and not on others or in self critique. It is a knack and you get better at it with repeated trial and effort.
Meditation can benefit because it helps one relax, calm thoughts and feel centered. Energy goes where you place your attention. Positive thoughts can help because one learns to steer away from the less than glorious thinking to the useful and productive. It is simple to do and may require effort but it can definitely be mastered by anyone.
ANYONE can reduce stress and anxiety and feel positive and powerful by learning how to place their attention where it needs to be. Just as you learned to play your musical instrument it is a skill you develop. Nothing mysterious about it!
You get good at playing music or a sport or any ability through correct practice. You can readily make the change you want! You WILL have to apply yourself and KEEP with it until you get the changes you want. You can do it.
You will be able to do it! Simply take it bit by bit, step by step and you will surprise yourself. As we learn there is a phase when we have to talk ourself through it as we did when we learned to ride a bike or drive a car (actually any skill). There is a period of time when we are klutzy. Sometimes we do well and other times not so well. Ultimately, the process streamlines and we become competent riders or drivers.
This occurs because our subconscious through repetition eventually makes it a habit. It becomes a reliable skill and we no longer have to think it or talk ourselves through it. We have acquired the skill. The same is true about getting over anxiety. You practice the new way and as you practice it won’t seem like magic, but as you stick with it, eventually it will work like magic because you develop the new skill set.
You just have to stick with it and get through the difficult or awkward phase. Learning to do this new thing is the same as learning to do anything else. It comes from doing the new thinking and behaving over and over again while making adjustments or corrections. You do it repeatedly. Enough times over a time period and you develop the skill as habit. Since you have learned many things you can learn this too.
You will do well as you move forward. At first, it seems more difficult, sometimes even scarier, than it actually is. Perception is everything. If we think of those who listen to our music, our pitch, or witness our performance as friends, who support us and enjoy what we do, we are much more comfortable. Mind set and attitude, is the key! See what you want in your mind’s eye. Visualize and rehearse inside your mind feeling and performing as you wish to. Create and rehearse that inner reality.
I encourage you to read and re-read my blog because I discuss these very things. Meanwhile continue to celebrate and enjoy! AND realize that when you want to change your life you have to make changes in your life. You can’t get different results doing the same things over again. You have to make changes that get you what you want to have.’
That is what I shared. There is much to be said about being realistic and staying in charge even when you are not in control of the outer circumstances. Here is what I mean.
I have had some incredible auditions lately and booked work. I have had some incredible auditions lately and did not book work. I even had one audition that I was mentally prepared for and eager about that I blew completely. I struck completely out and did nothing I had intended to do. That is just how it goes sometime.
In my previous incarnation I would have been preoccupied mostly with the auditions I didn’t book and the one I blew. That is where my focus would have been and it would have brought me down. I would have wallowed for months.
In this incarnation I learn what I can from what I did or did not do, get as much feed back as possible, apply the learning (because otherwise I really haven’t learned anything unless I use it) and move forward. I stop thinking about the fish I didn’t catch and focus on the ones caught and how to improve for the future.
Life is so much better and freer when we are able to let go and forget about what doesn’t work. Learn from it, extract the lessons, and maintain focus on what we do want and intend to create. Sometimes we strike out. If you play baseball you strike out more than you hit, and far more times than you get on base or a home run.
That is just how the game works. If you want to play the game you accept it and do not let it get you down. Keep your head up, your chin held high, think the best, feel the best, be grateful and move forward with positive anticipation for making your dreams come true. Never quit. Adjust and keep moving forward.
This is how we get what we want. It has nothing to do with pie in the sky wishful thinking. It is about developing an unstoppable ‘I can do whatever I set out to do’ attitude. Defeats along the way do not stop us. They teach us and make us stronger and better. So keep going and make your dreams come true.” Rex Sikes
Have an incredible day!
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