It’s natural to feel apprehensive when embarking on a new venture.
A writer starts with a blank page, an artist a blank canvas, and a composer, silence. Successful artists, musicians and writers don’t have any less fear when staring into the unknown than anyone else.
What distinguishes them is that they engage their fear. They turn anxiety into energy. Action transforms their fear into vitality. Fear becomes fuel.
Many performers have battled with stage fright; Rod Stewart, Mel Gibson, Elvis Presley, Barbra Streisand, and Meryl Streep. Many threw up; felt paralyzed or broke into cold sweats.
Laurence Olivier is often considered the greatest actor of the 20th century. He suffered from severe stage fright. It hit him hard and almost finished his career. When appearing at London's National Theatre, the stage manager had to push Olivier onstage every night.
On stage, Olivier, like other sufferers of stage fright had no symptoms but felt euphoria, similar to an athlete’s rush of adrenaline. He played off the energy of his fear, using it to become more engaged in his performance.
It is hard for non-performers to comprehend why Olivier would put himself through such torment. He felt acting was what he was born to do. He felt fear because his performance meant so much to him. His love of the work overcame his fear.
We need to focus on turning our fears into positive motivators to improve our lives and work.
This article is based on a chapter from Change Your Mind: 57 Ways to Unlock Your Creative Self. Copyright Rod Judkins
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