Updated: Apr 2
The Daily Artist #2: Shadows In My Spotlight
(How To Overcome Fear And Performance Anxiety)
Written by Joshua D. Harris
Lights. Camera. Action. You’ve waited all your life for this moment. It’s finally your time to shine, before you hit the stage you double check to make sure you know all your ques and how you are going to nail every major moment in your performance. That’s when you feel it. That uneasy churn in your stomach. Ladies and gentlemen fasten your seat belt because it’s about to be a bumpy ride. You pace anxiously back and forth waiting for your name to be called, your que to come in. With each passing moment comes the feeling of dread. Your mind begins to fill your head with sensical, nonsensical follies. “Maybe if I bomb I can always move to Alaska and start a new life as a fisherman.” But then the inevitable happens…. It’s time. You can’t leave all these people that spent their hard earned money and time to watch you perform waiting, so you do what all dedicated artists do, you suck it up and you make your way out towards the spotlight, because you read The Daily Artist Blog and have mastered the secret to becoming a more confident performer. You have learned to:
I know what you’re thinking… “How do I focus when my heart is beating out of my chest, my hands are shaking, my throat is dry, and I can barely remember my routine” Easy. All you have to do is remember one thing. You are not the most important entity in the universe. This performance may feel like it’s do or die, but it’s not; if you bomb, the sun is still going to rise in the morning, and set in the evening. Also take a second to realize that your body is fully clothed, and even though you may be feeling the urge to throw up, at least you have food in your belly and you aren’t suffering from some form of malnutrition. Learn to appreciate the small things rather than focus on everything that could possibly go wrong.
Anxiety is the body's way of alerting our minds to be ready for the tasks at hand, as artists we internalize these feelings as a form of fear and insecurity, when in reality we should embrace our anxieties as a form of excitement and reaffirmation in ourselves. We all work extremely hard to master the skills and crafts that make us who we are in our professions, so instead of dreading performances we should see them as an opportunity to showcase our best selves!
As artists we all work ourselves incredibly too hard, always striving to become something or someone that we either already are or that we will never be. Jobs become jobs when we fail to see the fun in them, and any job that becomes more about the numbers than the day to day fulfillment you get when completing a task is not a good job to have if you’re an artist. Before you go out on stage ask yourself this question “Am I having fun?” “Do I enjoy my work” “Could I see myself doing this for another 20 years?” If you find yourself answering yes to these questions then you have nothing to fear. You are going to be perfectly fine, and 9 times out of 10 you are going to go out on stage and kill it!
In Conclusion to overcome fear and performance anxiety as an artist you should: 1.Focus 2. Be Yourself 3. Have Fun