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Backstage Experts

1 Simple Trick For Turning Fear Into Triumph

1 Simple Trick For Turning Fear Into Triumph
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Clients and readers often ask me questions about overcoming fear. It may be that they are terrified of auditions. Sometimes, the fear is about getting up in front of an audience. Maybe they’re insecure when meeting and working with others in new surroundings. Perhaps they’re afraid of interviews or improvisation or taking chances. These fears range in degree from merely uncomfortable to absolutely debilitating.

Fear?! Who, me??  

Come on and admit it—you feel fear sometimes. I know I do. Fear is a perfectly natural and necessary feeling. Like pain, there’s a reason for it. If you don’t feel pain, you won’t take your hand off a hot stove before it burns up. If you don’t feel fear, you won’t pay close attention to dangerous situations. But are you allowing your fear to become deconstructive instead of constructive?

Let’s say that you are riding in your car with your family and hit a wet spot on a bridge. The car hydroplanes and lurches off the bridge. As you careen toward the stream below, what do you do?

One type of person screams bloody murder. He continues to scream in a panic until the car goes beneath the water into the stream below. All is lost.

The second type of person starts to see the world in slow motion, and gets very clear and ticks off the procedures: “Keep your seat belts on until we hit the water. I’m going to break the window as soon as we hit. When I say the word, I want everyone to release your belts. Bob, you knock out the back window with the device that is under your seat. Ready?  Go!” And everyone swims out of the car to safety.

READ: 3 Questions to Ask Yourself to Ensure You're Acting With Purpose and Power

Fear is a natural reaction to anything that is unknown or dangerous. It causes a release of adrenaline to get your organs and muscles ready for fight or flight. This is a good thing.

As an actor, don’t you warm up to make sure you’re at the top of your game?  As a singer or dancer, don’t you prepare your throat and body in order to set your muscles up to work optimally? In all of these circumstances, isn’t it vital to convince your mind that you will succeed? Fear is simply a warming up of your body and mind in case you need to act in a powerful way.

Fear is in your head.

Fear is controlled by your mind. Usually, it’s the thinking about what you fear that’s scary. If you’re actually doing what you fear, you tend to be alright…even empowered. I will say it again: Fear takes its marching orders from your head. What is it that you fear most? Do it first thing in the morning.

What is the trick to changing fear into triumph?

Let’s look at fear physiologically. Something powerful and unknown is looming. Your body responds with a surge of adrenaline to prepare you for fight or flight. But your mind is actually still in charge. It has a choice of screaming and running in fear or fighting to the death for survival. But it actually has an even more basic choice: Your mind is also determining if this is a real danger or just something new and possibly uncomfortable.

All you have to do when you’re afraid is take charge of your mind. You don’t want your mind to be screaming; you have to take charge of your mind and tell it, “This is fun and exciting!” Even if you don’t believe it, say it over and over to yourself.

This is one of the simplest tricks I know. It will turn fear into triumph in a heartbeat. I use it all of the time. Try it and see if it works for you. Now, go get them, you got this!

Cathryn Hartt is a Dallas-based acting coach, founder of Hartt and Soul Studio, and Backstage Expert. For more information, check out Hartt’s full bio 

Ready to conquer your fear? Check out our TV audition listings!

The views expressed in this article are solely that of the individual(s) providing them,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.

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