Challenging Fears – This Was Scary:

Posted on 24. Jul, 2009 by in Performance, Singing

I can't believe I did this.  It's crazy really.  It's the ultimate fear for some and extremely fun for others.  I also wanted to make this video to make a bigger point.  Check it out for yourself:

So what was the point of this video? Let's look at a couple of important issues:

1)  Become aware. There is no way we are going to overcome fears unless we become aware of them. Unfortunately, we tend to avoid that four letter word and instead cleverly disguise it with more pleasant sounding words. So what is one of the most important keys to grow, develop and succeed?

Yes, the magic key is awareness. As you may know, much of my teaching is about developing greater awareness of body and mind.  When you become aware it is far easier to do something about it, and therefore improve significantly.

2) Just do it. When you are facing something uncomfortable, realize that "just do it" is a very good piece of advice. It's more than a cute marketing slogan for sports shoes.

3) What happens when you "just do it"?  When you are afraid, your body will tense up. Your breathing becomes shallow. The whole body goes into a fight or flight state of emergency. Your mind races, anticipating the future. (Fear is always about a perceived future). Most people will exit the situation without a clue of what actually happened in their body.

For many this is going on daily, although on a more subtle level. And every day these subconscious fears are holding you back.

As I was heading up the tower, my goal was to be aware of the fear. As I noticed it, I was immediately able to relax my body.  Many times during the ascent I tensed up, but since I was aware I was again able to relax. 

Realize though that there is no way you are going to be able to relax if you don't know what relaxation feels like. If you don’t know how to put your body in a resourceful state when you aren’t under stress, how are you going to do it under stress?

If, for example, you are not able to relax muscles in a comfortable range when you sing, how do you think you are going to be able to relax on high notes?  If you are not able to release a free, powerful, confident sound when you practice, how do you think you will be able to do it during performance?

This is why you want to develop an extraordinary awareness during practice. As you do, you  develop rapidly. You learn to coach yourself to perform well under any pressured circumstance.

Also realize that greater awareness of self leads to greater awareness of others – i.e. you become a better performer.

4) Challenge yourself. Remember that it is always easier to NOT do something than to do.

P.S.  I later went on the smaller free fall that I showed you earlier in the video.  This time I was able to relax even better (everything is easier the second time, isn't it?).  Frankly, I felt so relaxed that I thoroughly enjoyed the view and experienced no fear at all.  It was quite phenomenal. I am so glad I did it. 

So go ahead. Challenge yourself! Take action!  Do it! Then share your experience below.

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