There I was in full costume and makeup, standing backstage…waiting. Any minute I’d walk through a door and stand in the crook of a grand piano all
shimmering black in the stage light. The top was propped up half way to allow just the right blend of piano music to emerge. A few minutes before I peeked out the door for about the hundredth time to see how big the audience was. It was a full house, and all these people had paid money to hear me sing. What if I let them down? What if my voice cracks? What if I forget the words? (That has happened, and I had no idea I could imitate Italian on the cuff.) I was terribly nervous.
I received notice that they were ready for me to emerge to the stage, and I just hoped I wouldn’t trip and fall. As I walked out I saw a ton of smiling faces ready for an artistic journey. I looked over my right shoulder to my pianist and let him know it was ok to start. He began to play, and I uttered the first note. Like magic, the nerves vanished.
Nervousness happens to all of us for some reason or another. In that case it was performing. Sometimes it’s a big interview or presentation. You could have an important meeting with a potential client or your annual review. Lots of things can make us nervous, so how do you handle it?
- Talk to someone in your inner circle of friends and family. Leaning on your support system is a great way process nerves. I talk to my mentor, Rhonda Shasteen, my boyfriend, or my mom, and they are all amazing sounding boards with unique perspectives and career advice.
- Journal. Journaling is one of the best ways to allow your subconscious to emerge and understand what you are feeling. Stephen R. Covey says tat journaling helps you sharpen your saw. If you know what makes your feel nervous, then it’s easier to address and process the nerves. It’s likely we feel nervous because we can’t control the outcome of an event, and it’s frightening.
- Be Yourself. This is the simplest truth and advice given to me by those who care about me most. If you are yourself then there’s nothing else that can be demanded. Being yourself doesn’t mean you won’t ever hear feedback, but if you are yourself then you come from an authentic place that doesn’t need to try to be something else in order to try to control the outcome of a situation. After all, you have only yourself to answer to answer to at the end of the day.
I encourage you to go face your nerves and overcome fears. You can!