Have you ever been out of sync on your performance day?  We go blank, over prepared for a meeting or talk and mess it all. Dev in My workshop on Performance anxiety was curious to know why he goes blank at the crucial moment. Dev starts forgetting the lines, or trembles on stage. Sometimes he has dropped the idea altogether and took a back foot. Some beliefs, I work with participants like Dev in the workshop are

1) Performance anxiety arises from “must”

"There are three musts that hold us back: I must do well. You must treat me well. And the world must be easy." Albert Ellis

There is some "must" statement going in mind. These rigid beliefs are about self, audience or perfection. They tend to increase anxiety.

“I must perform well” 

“The audience must like me” 

These beliefs need restructuring. So give up that must right from when you start preparing for the performance.

2) Musts don’t come alone, they coupled with awfulizing

Must don’t solely contribute to this, they compliment awfulizing. 

“It would be terrible if the audience doesn’t like me” 

” it will be dreadful if they hate me” 

Yes, it would be bad and disappointing if people don’t like you but not awful.

3) Demanding acceptance by the audience

The demands usually don’t stop to self but also encircle the external factors like audience 

“I must be liked by the audience or else I am a total loser” 

“Everyone in the audience must listen carefully”

 “Even if one person walks out of my presentation that means the presentation is not good” 

All these demands on others are irrational and energy consuming. Remember ” You have to present to an audience as they are,  not as they should be ”

4) Perfection is a tin of worms don’t open it

Perfection beliefs make us trigger anxiety and procrastination both. Thinking my presentation must be perfect, adds more problem. I am still not prepared to write that blog or perform to that audience.  As perfection is mirage, the more you try to get it the farther it goes. Remember “perfection is a myth, being appropriate is a reality”.

5) Self-rating & self-downing 

These labels are descendent of beliefs above. We tend to travel with a scale. Like some people are born with silver spoon, many are born with a rating scale. They carry it everywhere and keep labeling themselves and others with rating scale.  

" I must perform well or else I am no good”

 “If I don’t perform well I am nothing.” 

Familiar with such self-talk.  Different labels are I am no good, vulnerable, incompetent, unlikable, unlovable etc. We connect our performance with these labels no one applauded after the performance means …  means they didn’t applaud. Forgot to or many other better interpretations.  Remember “Labels are for jars ”

6) Don’t take yourself so damn serious.  

Frank Sulloway’s research(You can contact us on our email for the research) suggests that the “personality” is a strategy to survive. Strategy to “get out live” from your childhood. Each child in own ways develops certain characters and areas of attention. He calls them “winning ways”. In the same family, one child may be quiet and other may be outgoing. Even though both have the same goal that is to make a niche in family, Community and survive. Anxiety regulates and signals the child of dangers of being alone, unattended or loss. This creates a “calculating self” which Doesn’t let you take thing lightly. Remember ” you don’t have to use the same strategy you used when you were 5 years old. Lighten up”

7) Anxiety about anxiety

This is catch22. In anxiety about anxiety, we are anxious about our anxiety. So we keep thinking that last time we had performed in a certain way and same is going to repeat.

“I Am going be anxious and nervous when on stage "

 These meta-emotions are at times left unattended. When working on anxiety one has to first work on his or her meta-emotions like anxiety about anxiety.Every point here needs a detailed post will try to write it.  

These are the seven beliefs that stop us from giving the performance we want. Start listing which beliefs bother you the most. Until then if anxiety strikes you before going onstage give up a "must"  and enter.

“You can practically get over anxiety if you keep working, working, working, failing, failing, failing and not take yourself too damn seriously” Albert Ellis.           

Your love keeps us motivated to write more informative articles. If you like this article please show your love by a like ♡& share it with people who matter.