I went on a mountain bike ride yesterday with a friend. It’s been a long time, and I was rusty and out of shape.
I knew it was going to be sketchy. I knew I couldn’t ride the hard stuff. I ended up walking some rocky sections, even going off the trail a couple of times. I had no confidence. Whenever I saw a rocky patch coming up, I freaked out, slowed down, and saw nothing but the difficulties ahead.
I focused on the obstacles.
After the first loop, my friend and I talked. He reminded me to keep up the momentum and just be confident about making it. Look at the line you’re going to take – or better yet, the smooth trail after the tough section – not all the rocks and roots scattered around it! Look at the tree, you’re gonna hit the tree. So don’t look at the tree!
The second loop, I took his advice. Coming up to each hard section, I gathered some energy – and even a little anger – leaned forward into it, looked toward the top of the section, and barreled right through with strength, grit, and determination. I made it through every single tough section that had stopped me on the first loop.
It wasn’t exactly easy, it wasn’t exactly comfortable… it was even kind of scary… but you know what? It was way easier than when I believed I couldn’t do it. When I looked where I wanted to go, and saw myself going there, I went there. Successfully.
Look where you want to go!
So what does this mean for performers?
(I probably don’t have to spell it out, but I will.)
Are you focused on your stage fright? Forgetting your lyrics? Looking silly? Singing out of tune? Singing weakly? Making a mistake? Tripping over a mic cable? Passing out?
Try this instead. Focus on how fun the gig is going to be, how well you sing, how awesome that one song is, how much support your friends and family bring to the gig, and how amazing it is that you’re the lucky one to get to be on stage.
Look where you’re going. That’s how you get there.
(c) 2009 Adrienne Osborn