Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Feel The Fear - It Works!

It seems like "Feel the Fear" is the buzz phrase right now - it's the subject of training videos, such as Eric Worre's, and Susan Jeffer's classic Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway has been republished for the umpteenth time.

Never one to stand in the way of a trend, I decided to take a chance and have my own Feel the Fear moment. I suffer from horrendous performance anxiety - I'm so scared of speaking, singing or playing solo that the mere thought will start me shaking. But friends encouraged me to sing a capella in a music festival class this year and, much to my surprise, I found myself sending off an entry form.

If I'd read the biography of the adjudicator, I wouldn't have dared enter. Having entered, I didn't want to let my friends down, so I spent the hour before my name was called, feeling terrifed and nauseous, trying to remember the words to my chosen song. I can't remember singing. I can vaguely remember applause. I didn't stop shaking for 20 minutes afterwards.

The adjudicator, a multi-tasking teacher, academic, choir master, author, arranger and a capella expert (!) described my efforts as "a promising performance", with "a lot of vocal strengths, and a really interesting voice quality" (?!) and "good diction ... clearly felt and expressed emotions..." I was too scared to asked in what way my voice was interesting. Maybe next time.

There will be a next time. Scary as it was, I've proved to myself that I can actually stand in front of an audience and survive. Next year, I'll do a lot better.

Plus, I've got no excuse now with anything related to my Kleeneze business. The only thing that terrifies me more than performing in public is holding a live cockroach (and that's never going to happen!); business building fears are small by comparison.

How do you cope with your fears?