If you had to choose, would hitching up to a total stranger on Married at First Sight be less nerve tingling for you than the thought of standing up to speak in front of a crowd?
If your answer is yes, then face it, you have stage-fright, but just know that you’re in classy company, says Muffy Churches, below, a Sydney-based executive coach, keynote speaker, leadership specialist and counsellor.
Even celebrity professionals, those whom we assume ooze with confidence and courage, suffer from the annoying syndrome, she says. Adele was so nervous during the recent Grammy Awards that she stopped and restarted the orchestra.
“For some, the very thought of being vulnerable to the judgment of an audience, sets off a cascade of physiological responses that are a primal throwback response to a threat,” adds the author of Coach Yourself, A 7-Step Guide to Personal Fulfilment.
“We may understand the neuroscience, but what’s our solution in the moment, when logic tells us the crowd is not really carnivorous, but our body wants to run for the hills?”
Below are Muffy’s empowering mind games to play, which she says will help shift your abject horror to exhilaration.
1. Eavesdrop on your inner voice
Before the event, invite your wise, inner-self to hover on your shoulder to observe and listen. Try to identify the specific characteristics of your negative inner voice. Is it expressing doubtful self-worth, lack of trust in your ability, or the common fear of failure? The more distinctly you can hear it, the easier it will be to transform it.
2. Envision the ideal
Take a quiet moment, to picture yourself in the upcoming situation, performing at your optimum, as if you were sitting in a movie theatre watching the best version of yourself delivering the speech. If you can conceive it, you can make it real. What we ‘think about’ with vivid detail and passionate intention tends to function as a catalyst for our real life experience, so this is a powerful and effective step to take!
3. Flick the switch
Real magic happens here. Just as you would turn a light on or off, do the same with your inner voice. Make the choice to switch the fearful, worrisome thoughts, to ones that are positive, energised, eager and constructive.
As often as you can manage, hold this enthusiastic dialogue in your head. Literally ‘get excited’ about the upcoming event. Fake it till you make it. Research in neuroscience proves that it works.
4. Leverage the ‘excitement’
Harness this new storehouse of positive energy to formulate an awesome outcome. Try using a 3-part strategy, ‘Plan, Prepare and Perform’.
PLAN: Concentrate your verve on being practical and strategic. Start developing your speech as early as possible, considering your objective, core message and tone.
PREPARE: Create an outline using key words only, so your delivery will be relaxed and natural. Practice it whenever you can, allowing the phrasing to be different each time so that you will trust yourself to be both planned and spontaneous in the moment.
PERFORM: Finally, shift into pure passion and enthusiasm for communicating what you’ve so well prepared. With this mindset, your adrenaline rush will have an empowering effect on the nervous system, supporting clear thinking and a peak performance.
5. Bask in the glow of success!
And now, enjoy the exhilaration of having overcome the debilitating potentiality of nerves. Instead, you’ve produced a great performance when it counted.
Why stop here? You’ve mastered morphing jitters and self-doubt into ‘excitement’, so imagine, trying a similar approach in different parts of your life. Use the same framework to transform THOSE negative, self-limiting thoughts into positive experiences as well.