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Why Performance Anxiety Does Not Have to Rule Your Life

Part 1: I was finally in a dance that would highlight my love for dance and it was a fusion of hip hop and jazz. This dance, to me, was the ultimate honor. It was challenging but if we got it right it would be AMAZING! We’d get it every 2-3 run throughs…not 100%, but we could do it. Recital night comes and 2/3rds of the way through our dance, the choreography takes me to the front of the stage and it hit me hard! As if I ran into a brick wall. My mind went blank! All I felt was me at the front of the stage, as if I passed through the imaginary veil that separated the performance on stage and the audience. I tried to look behind me at the others girls to trigger my memory so that I could pick up where we were supposed to be. It was choppy at best. I was devastated! As soon as we were off stage, I ran to the dressing room balling! I totally froze! I totally messed up! I suck! That was terrible! I’m so embarrassed!

That memory occasionally comes up, usually when I am really stressed about a presentation. If only I practiced more or if only I could try again. It's sad that's the most vivid memory I have of the time that I danced. There were other great memories and other incredible moments. Would my life had been different if I had the space where I could dance whenever I wanted? I didn't actually know what performance anxiety was then, but once I realized that's what it was, I recognized that I could do something about it. At the end of the day, I acknowledged it, I learned from it, and I do the self-work so that it doesn't show up in other areas of my life.

What I learned from that moment:

  • I am not defined by an experience.

  • As much as I dislike that experience. It has encouraged me to work on how I can prepare myself better and that if it doesn’t work out the way I had hoped,I am OK.

Part 2: I am guilty of always wanting to be better, whether it's physically, mentally, emotionally. I want to do things better, I want to be seen as being smart, and I want to have my life together in every aspect. The most freeing moment was when I was so overwhelmed that I literally got to the point of accepting things as “good enough.” It’s still a work in progress but I think that’s the point, it is meant to be a constant work in progress. We have to keep in touch with ourselves to know our true worth, to know what’s actually worth or time and effort, and to be able to navigate through the flow of life. Life is fluid, therefore keeping up requires some effort, even if that effort is to stop resisting.

What I learned from finding "good enough:"

  • Good enough can actually be really good!

  • You don’t need to sacrifice your well-being to get it better, if you spend 1 more hour on the document that you reviewed twice, is it worth losing that 1 hour of sleep to make it even better? … probably not. It’s like a multiple choice test, you’ll probably end up changing something you shouldn’t have.

  • You need to be your number one priority. Burning out is not worth it! It’s hard to understand until you experience it, well at least it was for me. We see it often in athletes, they work harder every day, push their limits and then they retire from their sport, by choice or by force, and they have double hip and knee replacements by the age of 35. When you have a young body and passion fueling you, your body will keep up quite well until the day it decides it’s done putting up with your abuse! Think of how resilient your body is. Now, think of how much better you would perform mentally and physically if you actually listened to your body and took care of it, like it deserves. You’re good now, maybe even great, but you could be better! But it’s not by working harder! It’s by working smarter! You can enjoy life AND be a powerhouse! You CAN have both!! And your more likely to have both when you’re enjoying life!

At the end of the day, we have a choice. Do we work on ourselves to be our best OR do we look and listen to what everyone else is doing and saying on what we “should” be doing to be our best. Once you can quiet the noise outside, you can quiet the noise inside, and really discover what you need. You should be your best for you, first and foremost and then consider who you want to benefit from what you have to offer when you are at your best. It might be your team, you family, your partner, your co-workers, your clients or students. Create your best life according to your standards; whatever that might look like. It’s not about, money, wealth, or fame, although those might be things that you have or acquire, it’s about finding alignment, your truth, and the courage to live as your authentic self. That is when you will truly be at your best. You’ll feel it and the world will see and feel it too!

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Grow Personal Development Services Ltd

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