It is particularly annoying when you are creative; your passion for creativity cannot be quashed, but sometimes, if you love singing, or you write a great song others love, you have to take the stage. It’s not for everyone. But even for those who are great performers, who have the ‘x factor’, it can be a crippling, nerve-wracking experience.
When you get nervous, your body goes into fight or flight mode and you can feel tense, like your throat is closing, or you can’t breathe. Some people develop full-blown panic attacks. The more you resist how you feel, the worse the symptoms become. It’s all about visualisation. Acknowledge your nerves and what your mind and body are doing to protect you from perceived danger.
Most people are apprehensive getting up in front of an audience, some to the point of avoiding social or professional events altogether, which is such a shame. Me, I’m comfortable on stage (although, I much prefer being in the recording studio or working one to one with clients). I never used to be, though. Good old stage fright often got me, though I denied it.
There are a number of ways you can reduce your fears. Improve your speaking and communication skills, but also do some self-work. Work on your self-esteem and any negative perceptions or beliefs about yourself. They may be unrelated to your reason for being in front of an audience, but I promise you, they’re having an effect on your performance. It’s okay not to be perfect. It’s okay to be vulnerable. Self-acceptance will help you thrive and achieve greater heights.
If you have to give a speech, or perform music in front of an audience, it’s helpful to shift the focus away from you to the song message or content you are delivering. If you’re a rock guitarist, hey, you can grow your hair and hide behind it (just kidding).
If nothing seems to be working, you may find it useful to see a qualified counsellor or hypnotherapist to uncover any deep-rooted issues. Something such as Bach Rescue Remedy or lavender essential oil can also help to relax you, as can meditation.
Visualise yourself ahead of time giving a great performance, and when you are performing, imagine you are enjoying it. Eventually, you will. And lots of practice in front of other people will help reduce resistance. Most of all, don’t try to emulate someone else; be yourself.
I hope this helps!