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.

Please add a comment:


56 Responses to “Challenging Fears – This Was Scary:”

  1. Judith Simondson

    08. Mar, 2011

    Hello Per
    I have been in a very traditional choir for 10 years and I would like to talk about your lessons at a meeting tomorrow night.  I am fearful of being rejected, yet things need to change too!  Our musical director has been there for 34 years and while there has been some change I feel it could be a lot better.
    It really bugs me that the musical director and the accompanist are given more credit than the work of the choir.  So I am going to challenge this thinking, in a relaxed way.

  2. Fiona Pimentel

    07. Jan, 2011

    A funny thing happened while watching this – I thought you were going to dive off the tower, and as I'm also scared of heights, my whole body went into fear mode on your behalf!!
     
    But thanks, I really needed that example now, as I'm about to start some marketing for an event that scares me. 

  3. Pete Sharp

    18. Feb, 2010

    Hi Per, you always make such good points. To relate a personal experience; I have been singing in bands 24years but was offered a run of gigs in a solo acoustic capacity. Fear of performing solo kept me from doing this but in the end last year I just did it, it was very nerve racking but the reality of it when the audience reated positively was quite good. The second gig was slightly easier, and so on. Now a year or so later I sing solo more often than with my band and my earnings have trebled, my confidence has increeced as has my joy of singing. Only two months ago I purchaced your singing DVD's, and (after 24 years) can suddenly sing higher, with better tone and control than ever. Your system works!! I have now just signed an endorsement deal with an Amplifier manufacturer too, I'm sure this is partly due to the increased confidence I have gained from your program. Many Thanks, Pete

  4. Anja

    01. Dec, 2009

    So cool. Last week I went wiht school to Austria. Is was fun. We went to amusment park on Wien, and I actuly cant belive that my friends talk me into going on one realy scary ride, that turns you upside down, and we also went into realy BIG scary house that we actuly got lost in… so I realy challlenget my fear.
    And thank you for those amazing tips. :)

  5. Christine Bronson

    24. Nov, 2009

    PER, Congratulations! Thanks for sharing this amazing experience with us. I learned in the past: IT'S NOT FEAR ~ IT'S EXITMENT! This reminded me of my own stepping out of my comfort zone and overcoming my greatest fear of heights … and I did the bungeee, paragliding and high rope climbing … once you got it ~ you own it…. and it's FUN. Everyone, go for it! The planet needs courageous hearts.

  6. Ali

    22. Oct, 2009

    WOW i can’t believe you went on that ride. I am terrifed of hights. I don’t think i would be able to do that.

  7. Irene

    25. Sep, 2009

    Hello,

    I would like to sing bossa nova, blues, but I was wondering if for those kind of songs I have to have a special tone of voice or is more talking&song together. does your method teach to sing bossa nova?
    thanks,
    Irene

  8. Catherine Mein

    20. Sep, 2009

    Hi Per,

    Thank you for the nice and very useful video & good to see you having fun with your kids.

    I have one other point about fear, or not being able to do something (e.g.singinig in public or giving up smoking.)

    Remember the golden rule is:”TO TRY IS TO FAIL”

    To try is not achievement, so if you say you (or anyone else) will “try” to do something you can bet your boots you will NOT do it. If you say “I WILL” then there is no turning back because when you hear yourself saying “I will” you have inwardly accepted that you can! Per proved it in his video.

    TIP! If you want to get on in life and have fun, NEVER catch yourself saying “I’ll try” to something which sounds fun but scary or you risk regretting it for the rest of your life!

    I come from Scotland where we have the saying “There’s nae sic word as cannae!
    “REMEMBER IT!

    Best wishes & good luck to all,

    Catherine.

  9. kohmalaysia

    18. Sep, 2009

    Dear Mr Per,
    I will be having a stage performance in two months time. DO we need to do this “UP AND DOWN” fearless things to be able to sing culturely??
    thanks.

    HAPPY HOLIDAYS.
    CK

  10. Brian McGugan

    04. Sep, 2009

    Dear Per

    Great analogy about fear and just going for it.

    I share a similar process myself with my recent exploration of skydiving. I’ve now jumped tandem 3 times and am looking forward to training for solo freefall.

    I’m a vocal performer and actor, and find a similarity between my skydiving experience, and Improvisational theatre, as well as singing.

    I use that first moment of freefall at 12,000 feet as a metaphor. I simply go back to that moment in my mind when I’m stuck in my day, my process.

    I’ve documented my 2nd skydive on YouTube:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/boytoynorth#

    Thank you!

    Brian McGugan
    Vancouver

  11. Praveen

    15. Aug, 2009

    Parakkal, that is really interesting. Indian classic music can be so complex and complete – it is nice to hear that Per’s lessons can help an Indian Classical Artist. I would like to know more about how his lessons continue to help you. Keep us up-to-date :)

  12. Hannah

    14. Aug, 2009

    I thought I was the only one who got scared going up. I thought it was supposed to be the going down part, where everybody screams, that was the really scary part. I find this is true for me in life as well. It’s scary trying to achieve something.

  13. Parakkal

    12. Aug, 2009

    Hi Per
    Its been a great experience going through your lessons. A lot of stuff you have been doing overt the years which does so much of damage to the voice. Trying to undo all of them through you lessons. I am an Indian Classical Musician performing for over 20 years. It will be interesting to see how I can adapt your technique to our kind of music. I did some of your voice excercices before a concert and its really amazing. Your lessons at truly enjoyable and a revelation. It was the perfect warm up. Hoping to get rid some of my voice problems especially the strain and tension in the muscles and the relaxation of the tongue. Enjoyed watching the video. Hope you had a great holiday. Cheers

  14. Anil

    12. Aug, 2009

    Thanks for posting Per. Your teaching/coaching style is just what I need right now. Thank you for all of the inspiration and your positivity.
    In response to Dave (comment #8): you can’t love anybody else until you love yourself first. You should try it….

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