Anxiety! It's a term we hear a lot these days, encompassing everything from mild discomfort to full-blown anxiety attacks with lasting effects. There's so much to delve into regarding anxiety, and while I don't profess to be an expert in addressing all its forms, I do specialise in handling situational anxiety, commonly referred to as stage fright.

If you know that overwhelming feeling, the fear, stress, nausea, trembling, and fluttering sensation—any discomfort that arises when you contemplate or actually find yourself in front of an 'audience' you're in the right place!

And nowadays, there doesn't even need to be a physical stage. You could be in a room filled with people at the same level, all gathered for the same purpose, and still experience it. It can strike during a group Zoom call or a one-on-one meeting or even a voice-note marathon.

And yes, I've been there personally. I've guided countless students through it. I've studied it academically, holistically, and practically. And hey, I get it—you wouldn't be here if you weren't looking for some help, right?

I want you to know, I see where you're at, I'm all ears, and I'm here to lend a hand.

You know what? Situational anxiety doesn't have to call the shots on how you perform. Think about it—we're not born scared of stuff; fear creeps in as we grow up. So, it makes sense that we can unlearn this stage fright problem. And guess what? That's exactly what I'm here to help with—showing you some fresh strategies so you can strut your stuff on stage without a worry in the world.

So, let's get started.

I'm going to guide you through an exercise designed to help you reclaim your confidence in performance situations. This isn't a one-time fix or a magic solution, so I encourage you to establish a regular practice with it. The more you engage in it, the more you'll notice your confidence growing and the anxiety diminishing.

I've employed this exercise with my students, and I use it personally to address my own obstacles. I know it will work for you too! So take a moment now to grab a pen and some paper - you'll want to try this!

Step One - Envisioning Your Future

Start by jotting down the thing you want to get better at. Even if it feels trivial, write them down anyway. Use first-person language and complete sentences, such as:

  • I want to show up on the work Zoom call feeling confident
  • I want to deliver an amazing performance at my sister's wedding
  • I want to be able to deliver meditation sessions without feeling nervous

Identifying your desires allows you to truly connect with what you want. If you write something down and it doesn't resonate, cross it out. Don't include things others want for you—be entirely selfish and tap into your own desires in this moment. Be bold and assertive in your statements.

After compiling your list, read it a few times to make sure each one resonates deeply with you. This sets the stage for the next step.

Step Two - Evaluating Your Present

Next, write down the challenges you currently face. Use first-person language and complete sentences, such as:

  • I experience nausea when faced with an audience.
  • My throat tightens up when I attempt to speak in the group
  • I feel like an imposter when I try to lead, even though I am more than good enough to be in charge

Express yourself authentically, as this is a safe space—this list is for your eyes only.

Allow your challenges to emerge from the shadows and be acknowledged; if you can't articulate the problem, you won't be able to address it effectively.

And if you feel any shame or resistance while doing this, actively let those feelings in. Pushing them away will just keep you feeling stuck. It's totally OK to feel shame or resistance—it's part of being human. So, let them come up, thank them for showing up and breathe them away with a deep breath.

Take the time you need to complete this step, and when you're ready, proceed to the next one.

Step Three - Taking Action

Alright, now that you've got your two lists—one with your dreams and the other with the stuff that's holding you back—it's time to come up with a game plan. Take a look at both lists and see where they don't quite line up.

For each thing you've written down, ask yourself: where do I already feel pretty confident, and how can I use that to boost the areas where I'm feeling a bit shaky?

Let's say you want to nail those lyrics (from your dreams list) but you're struggling to memorize them (from the obstacles list). Instead of just reading the lyrics over and over, try listening to the song on repeat in the background. Or, if you're more of a visual learner, write the lyrics out and color-code them to help with memorization.

Or, how about you want to perform with confidence (dreams list) but you're battling some serious stage jitters (obstacles list). So, think about what could amp up your confidence. Maybe it's rehearsing until those lyrics are second nature, or maybe you need to practice performing in front of a mirror more often. Heck, honing in on your vocal technique might do the trick too.

See where I'm going with this? It's all about finding what works for you and taking those steps to bridge the gap between where you are now and where you want to be.

Bonus step: Shake Things Up!

There are tons of ways to shake things up and make progress happen. Do something you would never do and see what happens. Do something you would love to do but haven't yet. Research the way you learn best and work with that instead of against it. You don't have to stick to the same old solutions if they do not work for you!

And before you do any of that - you need to acknowledge both your dreams and the roadblocks in your way. It's like the first step on the journey to turning things around. Without that, it's tough to make any real headway. Accepting this can feel unwelcome, or make you want to hide it away again. But if you can let it out - even if only you see it - you'll be able to address it much quicker, because...

Taking action is key to overcoming anxiety.

Seriously, even the smallest steps can make a big difference. Whether you see results right away or it's more of a gradual thing, just getting started builds momentum. And that's what propels you toward where you want to be, instead of just staying stuck.

Oh, and remember to be kind to yourself along the way. Adding more shame on top of what you're already feeling won't help anything. Embrace all those feelings, give 'em a nod, and then let's get moving.

Taking action is the secret sauce for moving forward, reaching your goals, and kicking anxiety to the curb once and for all.

Need more pointers? My inbox is always open.

Just remember: stage fright is something we learn, which means we can unlearn it too.