You have an upcoming performance. You are well prepared but anywhere from a day (or several days) to 5 minutes before the event begins your hands become clammy, you start to shake, you are nauseous and when you are a singer, your throat starts to act up. You are worried (sick) you are going to forget your lines (as an actress or professional speaker), slip and fall (as a dancer) or have “a frog in your throat.” In short you are scared out of your wits for not getting the desired outcome.
Where does that so suddenly come from? Some people even say, “Oh, that is normal. Everyone has stage fright.”
“Stage Fright” is a form of Fear of Failure. Let me describe the underlying processes based on what happens to some of us who are performers. But bear in mind that we can just as well substitute the “presence on stage” with any other situation in which we feel we have to “perform.”
Fear is always rooted in a cause and with such a strong reaction there must be a lot that is perceived to be at stake. Now, don’t get me wrong, if you are endowed with an intrinsic sense of knowing who you are and that you do not depend on the outcome of your activities nor on what others think of you, you can still be a bit tense. But if you chose to be a performer, you would most likely be excited and thrilled as well. You need the adrenaline rush to get you on the tip of your toes to create that special performance– whatever it is you do.
But for those performers who have really severe symptoms of stage fright please consider the following: It maybe that you are in need of acknowledgement by means of admiration and applause and that your Sense of Self depends on it. You maybe dependent on a Substitute Sense of Self and with your performance you aim at getting the “craved for” state of feeling-good-about-Self. In other words you use your performance as “a vehicle” to get your “fix” of “feel-good-about-Self.” What you may not be aware of that your virtual psychological backbone is at stake and that is why you are so anxious. Without knowing it might be a matter of ”having the right to exist” for you and not being able to make it to that goal is something you want to avoid at all cost. What really is at stake for you is the fear of “being annihilated”, discounted as a real person among other people.
People train and study yearlong, they marry specific persons, they choose specific jobs not because of sincere dedication and interest but to use these things as a vehicle to get to their Hidden Goal.
From the outside nothing is visibly at stake but inside, and often times hidden to themselves as well, there is a deep fear that they are not going to reach that “holy” Goal.
“What then is that holy hidden Goal,” you want to know. Dive deep within yourself and ask yourself the question: what in my life would I want most of all? What am I all about? And make sure you are totally honest with yourself!
If what I think will come up for you from deep down inside does come up you will now see that your Fear of Failure has really nothing to do with the content of your performance or activities, but is related to that buried hope of getting to your Hidden Goal–your only goal in life.
The sad thing is though, that although the fear is not directly connected to the content of your performance or activity, it still affects it a lot. The result is a double disadvantage: your activity is contaminated with the vibes of the existing fear which makes it hard for you to concentrate on the performance AND the bulk of your intention goes to achieving the Hidden Goal and is not aimed at the actual performance.
That leaves only 40% of your energy available to create your top performance. On top of that: even though the audience can’t put the finger on it they somehow sense that what you are doing there on stage isn’t about giving them a wonderful experience and they lose interest pretty quickly. Performing from a place of “Indirect Motivation” is a struggle of the highest intensity that is rewarded only by a mediocre result.
So investigate for yourself: what is at stake for me with this performance and you could be surprised by how much you do not know about yourself. Addressing that issue is what allows you to actually be able to fully concentrate on your performance and since nothing is at stake anymore other then the beauty of the event, your Fear of Failure will have dissolved to make place for the thrill of the moment.