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Monday, March 05, 2007

My Brief Bout of Performance Anxiety

As I mentioned earlier, I am writing a column for our local business journal. Two and a half years ago, I started writing this blog with mixed intentions, but the reason leading the way has been to improve my writing skills. So after a couple of years of practice I felt up to the challenge and jumped at the chance when asked.

However, I didn't realize how insecure I was about my writing ability until I went to click "send" on the email with my article attached. I felt like that junior-high kid ringing the doorbell to take his date to the first school dance. Fortunately the editor wasn't as intimidating as Mrs. Klien was and I got good feedback from him.

Trying to self diagnose and treat my nervousness about this, I naively googled "Performance Anxiety" thinking I must have anxiety about this whole situation and temporarily forgetting that performance anxiety is more closely related with another problem... Uh... so, moving on...

So, I found an article written by a musician of all things, that talks about performance anxiety from the standpoint of getting up on stage and performing, and not from that other perspective. Not an exact match to what I was doing, but a lot closer than the alternative results Google gave me. Here are his six steps to overcoming performance anxiety.
  1. You have practiced to the best of your ability
  2. Don't judge what just happened, or is about to happen
  3. Don't second guess any one's reaction
  4. Be the performer, not the observer
  5. Before performing, focus on only the one most important thing
  6. Enjoy it

So if you're on your way to a public speech, performance or whatever causes you stress, keep these in mind. It thought it was pretty good advice.