Fear is a part of everything we do. And in music performance we confront our fears daily. Unfortunately, sometimes it can become an obstacle that seems to big to overcome.
You don’t need to let fear hold you back. There are clear strategies for battling various specific fears. But whatever you’re afraid of, there are some basic steps to take to arm yourself for the fight.
1. Accept it. Fear is an inescapable part of the human condition. We are all fearful about some of what we must do on our path to our desire. You are not less of a person for being afraid, just part of the human race.
2. Investigate it. What will happen if you give in to your fear? What WON’T happen if you give in to your fear? What’s the worst thing that could happen if your fear is realized? Answering these questions honestly will give you an honest assessment of the reality of the situation.
3. Decide if the reward is worth the risk. Yes, you get to choose. You don’t have to do something you do want to. If you have done a good job answering the questions in step 2, you have a clear vision of the risks and rewards. Is the reward is worth the risk, proceed to the next step. If not, re-chart your course around your fear. You can figure out how to work around the fear or switch paths altogether.
4. Launch a sneak attack on the fear. You will have discovered in step 2 that your fear is not based in reality but in your perceptions. It results from habitual patterns of thoughts and actions. And since fear is a habit, it can be broken. As I mentioned above different fears require different strategies, but they all require developing a new habit. Try these steps toward creating your new habit:
Do one small, even tiny, positive step.
Do it first thing each day.
Do it every day.
Do it even if it doesn’t seem to lessen your fear.
When you sense the fear, choose action not reaction.
One warning: Remember the law of change. At first we have momentum and change seems easy. It is only farther down the road that the old habit pushes back harder than ever. You may well experience a calm period where success comes steadily through those small increments. But then the tidal wave will come, when it will seem as though everything you gained will be lost and more. Your imagination’s worst case scenario has happened. Do the only thing you can – start over. Each pushback will be less and less severe. You only have to hang in there longer than it does.
“Most great people have attained their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure.” – Napoleon Hill
What are you afraid of?