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  • Writer's pictureNicholas Pallesen

Can performances and auditions actually make you nervous?

Updated: May 15, 2019

"Performing and auditioning makes you anxious"⠀ I've heard that one a lot. It's one of those "givens" most performers assume to be "just how it is". In my experience, I think we often struggle in life because we're stuck in stories we've accepted as "how things are" without question. But questioning the "givens" opens up a whole new world of possibilities.⠀ Take my example: Performing and auditioning causes anxiety.⠀ Is it fundamentally True? ⠀ "Umm, yeah, Nicholas. Duh!", you might be saying.⠀ So then why do you feel nervous for some performances but not others? Why is an audition "high stakes" for one person and "no big deal" to another? Why can different people in the exact same performance feel excited, relaxed, freaked out, anxious, or like they're just picking up their paycheck? ⠀ Really sit with that a minute.⠀ Spoiler alert: it's NOT because some people are "mentally tougher" than you.⠀ If "performances and auditions ➡️ anxiety" is a given, then why don't you always feel anxious? And why doesn't everyone feel anxious every time they perform? ⠀ It's because performing and auditioning can't cause anxiety. ⠀ Friends, you're never scared of an audition or performance. You're scared of the audition and performance you're playing in your head. The only thing that can cause anxiety is anxious thinking.⠀ In other words, you're actually not afraid of performing and auditioning. You just think you are sometimes.⠀ Waking up to that changes EVERYTHING.⠀ For me, it meant way less white-knuckling, and way more freedom and joy. I didn't have to think or feel the "right" way, I took my nerves way less seriously, and I didn't have to manage my thoughts and feelings. And with that HUGE job off my plate, I was free to show up, as is, and be present. And the present, IMO, is where all the magic happens.⠀ If you're someone who struggles with performance/audition anxiety, let this post sink in a bit. Maybe even re-read it. As best you can, put aside your "givens" you've bought into about stage fright and performance/audition anxiety and get curious about what I'm proposing here.⠀ It's a worthy exploration, friends. Because waiting on the other side is a mental freedom unlike anything you've ever imagined 😊


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