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WebMD says that millions of people suffer from some form of stage fright. In fact, many would rather get the flu than perform! Plus, self-doubt rears its ugly head in other venues beyond the stage. Writers, painters, photographers—all kinds of artististas—struggle with self-doubt. Sylvia Plath once wrote, “The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”
If you’re one of those people who suffer from a lack of confidence, don’t let it defeat you. You still have creative gifts to offer, even if it makes you sweat to share them. In fact, you’re in good company! The following celebs have ALL suffered from stage fright, according to the Huffington Post:
Hayden Panettiere: Nashville’s country cutie admits she’s always had stage fright. But, she says, “[Nashville] is an amazing second step for me…This has been kind of the in-between because I get to go out there during scenes with a crowd full of people and pretend like I’m performing onstage, and I’m actually performing a live show.” Her confidence has continued to build, especially when she heard one of her songs on the radio for the first time! (An awesome moment for anyone—remember this Katy Perry gem?)
Adele: Yep, even Adele gets nervous. She shared, “I’m scared of audiences…one show in Amsterdam, I was so nervous I escaped out the fire exit. I’ve thrown up a couple of times…I just gotta bear it.”
Barbara Streisand: Yet another powerhouse singer, Streisand forgot the lyrics to a song during a concert in Central Park in 1976. Though she avoided live performances for many years after, she’s performing again, conquering her fears.
So how do you move beyond your fears? Fortunately, there are many strategies beyond picturing the audience naked. (No one needs to see that.) Here are a few tips for tackling both stage fright, as well as any kind of artistically-related self-doubt:
- Visualize success. Try not to focus on what could go wrong. Instead of cluttering your brain with thoughts like, “I hope I don’t forget the words,” try repeating, “I’m so excited to sing this song for others; they’ll love it!”
- Practice! The more you practice your craft, the more confidence you’ll feel. Nobody likes to walk into a test without studying, and it’s the same with any kind of creative endeavor.
- Push through. If you’re fighting stage fright, remember it often goes away once you get started. It’s always worst right before you perform.
- Take small steps. For example, don’t become so overwhelmed by writing the great American novel that you psych yourself out. Start by keeping a journal, writing a short story or even just 500 words.
- Surround yourself with like-minded people. Trying to embrace your identity as a painter? Find ways to connect with other people who are doing the same. You’ll feel like less of an “imposter.”
- Find what gets your creative juices flowing. Whether it’s going for a run or listening to a particular song, it’s helpful to find what gets you “in the mood” to create!
- Do it for YOU! If you’re struggling to take the first step, just remember you only need to be creative for yourself, if you want. You don’t have to perform, you don’t have to display your art, and you don’t have to submit your writing. But if it makes you feel good? Go for it. Sing in the shower, or keep your illustrations in a desk drawer if you want. As your confidence increases, you may develop the courage to share with others.
Feeling inspired? Check out our list of books for creative teens, many of which address self-doubt and nurture that part of you that’s screaming, “No really! I’m artistic!”