Your greatest strength? Liability? Or both?

Your greatest strength? Liability? Or both?

Sometimes our greatest strengths can also be our most tender liabilities. In this video, I talk about how hiding underneath my desire for connection and relationship with people was also so much concern about what people think about me. This tender, vulnerable part of me spiraled out of control so that I couldn't function while practicing or performing, fearing that I would mess up, fearing that my colleagues would think badly of me, fearing I would need to find a new career. 

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Overcoming Performance Anxiety: improv classes

Overcoming Performance Anxiety: improv classes

My husband had done a year of improv classes at Second City before we met and always said I would really dig it. After the appearance of crazy performance anxiety 6 months earlier, I knew I needed a safe space to work on my fear without worry about totally falling apart on stage and getting fired. Improv seemed like a great choice. Until we got there that night.

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Overcoming Performance Anxiety: 'Beyond Practicing' and the Centering Exercise

Overcoming Performance Anxiety: 'Beyond Practicing' and the Centering Exercise

I don’t remember all the details of the first concert I played after practicing with Centering. What I do remember is that there were a handful of challenging songs that triggered all my cascading anxiety symptoms – elevated heart rate, drop in the pit of my stomach, mad crazy flip-flopping butterflies, über distracted brain that was more concerned about my stomach antics than the notes on the page, and worry about what everyone would think of me when I failed miserably.

The amazing thing about that first performance – I nailed all the music that I had targeted with Centering. I was elated, to say the least.

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Planning ahead for your nerves

Planning ahead for your nerves

A teacher in grad school used to say to us during studio classes “you need to work through your performance emotions in advance of the performance.”

I always wondered, how the heck does one do that? How do you process through and deal with nerves in advance of feeling nervous? It just didn’t make sense to me at the time.

My teachers wasn’t able to explain how to do this either, but now I see the wisdom of her words and here's how I interpret her advice.

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