Our fear of the unforeseen and the turmoil that surrounds the unknowable is a common source of stage fright. Instead of concentrating on the here and now, we become preoccupied with the “what ifs” of the outcome. We develop a preoccupation with the future even before it occurs! We get disoriented and unfocused as a result. And regrettably, this may be seen in our physical characteristics and body language as well. People are able to tell when we are living in the past or future and focused on our immediate objectives. The best way to overcome this aspect of stage fright is to become more clear about your goals for this situation.
Create a single objective and give it priority in your mind if you want to find clarity in the performance anxiety process. You should start doing this a few hours (or even days) in advance of the anxiety-inducing situation so that you may start saying it aloud and repeating it to yourself, internalizing the message. Use only positive, affirmative language to convey your desire, such as “I will” or positive commands like “Stay focused and breathe from my feet.” Avoid using any negative terms in your intention setting, such as “don’t.” Before I knew about this strategy from Van Edwards and Green, I discovered that I had been practicing for auditions using a similar technique:
In the acting world, it’s relatively simple to “play” a particular feeling. For instance, it’s simple to “play” being angry if you’re in a scenario where you’re playing a woman who just learned she was being robbed from: cross your arms, raise your voice, stamp your feet, etc. These are all gestures that we naturally identify with anger.