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How To Overcome Nervousness – Hollywood’s Best Kept Secret

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Nervousness can be used to our advantage or our detriment. It’s a human condition that everyone experiences at some moment in their life. I used to think that being nervous meant I wasn’t good enough at something.

It’s also a condition that can be forgotten about in highly successful individuals or celebrities. As I researched and consumed interviews from these two types of people, I realised that more than 80% of them still get nervous.

What I realised was that they had found ways to be appreciative of their nervousness and to reframe the sensation into a positive experience.

Below are the ten ways to deal with nervousness before any presentation, speech, performance, or business pitch:

1. Be happy you’re out of your comfort zone

Being nervous usually means you’re out of your comfort zone. This is an awesome place to operate your life from, and it will see you excel past your peers. The more you get into this state, the bigger the achievements are that you can obtain in your field of excellence.

From now on, reframe your states of nervousness to be linked to feelings of happiness. Hardwire the feelings of nervousness to your basic human need to grow, and then link all of this to your vision / purpose. By doing this, you will become unstoppable!

2. Remember it’s extra energy so use it for good

Nervousness in my mind is extra energy that can be utilized for good or for evil. It can make you more aware and help boost your senses.

I remember hearing Jessie J say that everyone she knows get’s nervous (including her) and that she has learned over the years to use the energy to help her performance. This is the secret sauce of many pop stars and Hollywood actors.

For some reason, I used to think that these top performers didn’t get nervous because they just magically grew out of it and it went away. This is not true. Some don’t get nervous, but the majority still do.

3. Concentrate on delivering value (not on yourself)

A recurring theme in almost every article I write is the simple power of giving. The reason it’s easy for us to get nervous before a big performance or speech is that we are focusing on ourselves. We are focusing on what the effects are going to be on us and what people might think.

Fundamentally, when we shift away from this default way of operating and make our priority those we serve, our nervousness changes shape.

In blogging, early on, I used to by default focus on how I sounded and what people thought of me. This was a natural human reaction that I did subconsciously even though I knew better. The shift for me happened when I consciously forgot about myself and committed to delivering everything I have with no stone left unturned.

Regardless of how I am perceived, good or bad, my goal is to go above and beyond people’s expectations and to serve an audience. As I took this habit from my blogging to public speaking, I found that a good proportion of my nervousness disappeared.

Instead, my new focus was on trying to teach one new thing, or inspire one person through a new idea, every time I spoke in front of an audience. I still have a long way to go, but public speaking is definitely high on the nervousness radar for many.

When I made the bold move to put my name up in lights in front of tens of thousands of my work colleagues and share my entrepreneur story, I opened the door for unwanted opinions and judgment.

It made me nervous about what could happen. Rather than dwell on all the fearful thoughts I was having, I just had faith in what I stood for and who I’ve become and shared everything I had learned. It’s no surprise that there were 1% of naysayers (expected), and the other 99% were highly supportive.

Dig deep and use your experience to draw out nuggets of gold for those who have given up their time to listen to you. What might seem like a meaningless life lesson to you, could be the one strategy that someone else needs to go on and be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company.

None of your life experience is meaningless, and you should be relentless in sharing it for the benefit of others. Social media makes this so easy to do so you have no excuse not to follow through.

4. Get in the pocket first

Nervousness can often begin at the start of a situation and then once you’re into the flow of delivering your performance – whatever that might be – it goes away. Expect that the first few minutes of a nervous experience might be uncomfortable, and then remember, once you get into delivering your content and you’re in the pocket, the nervousness will subside.

The audience can be a great way to get into the pocket. Use their energy to focus deep on your underlying passion that is driving you to do something that brings on this nervousness.

As you get further through the nervous experience, you will find yourself naturally fall into the pocket. It’s at that moment that your final goal should be to focus on how you can educate or help your audience.

5. Try this mindfulness trick

In a recent sales training session that I completed, I learned a very easy trick that you can use before you go into a nervous situation. What you need to do is before you are due to begin the nervous event, focus on three sounds that you can hear in the environment where you are.

By doing this exercise, you will bring your mind out of your anxious future and back into the present where you can control your experience. Five minutes of an app like “Headspace” or “Calm” can also have a similar effect too.

6. Get into an unstoppable posture

What if you were like the person you aspire to be like and you were unstoppable like them? Well, you can be. The mind is easy to manipulate so all you need to do is mimic the posture of the way this person you’re thinking of would act if they were doing the same activity you are about to do.

Stand tall, believe you are on the same level as this person and hold your head up. Do a few power poses and act as if you have more success than anyone around you. Act as if you are the big shot that you one-day hope to be. You’ll be surprised how this will positively affect your nervousness.

7. Breathe deeply and slowly

When you’re nervous, your breathing typically starts to speed up. This adjustment in breath will only make you feel more nervous and potentially bring on a panic attack.

Take a few deep breaths from your belly, hold each one, and then slowly breathe out. Deep breaths will help relax you and make the nervousness manageable.

8. Don’t let sugar or caffeine take you off course

If you’re already nervous, then caffeine and sugar will only make the issue worse. These two stimulants can play havoc on a nervous mind and make you feel more uneasy. Drinking water before a nervous event is a much better strategy that will keep you hydrated and make your throat moist.

You’ll notice in an office environment that some people sit in their chair and have a hand or leg shaking for extended periods of time. This can often be caused by too much sugar or caffeine. I noticed since giving up both substances that I became much calmer in high pressure, nervous situations.

9. Prepare in advance

Often when we are nervous about a situation, it’s because we haven’t adequately prepared, and our brain knows it. When we know what we are doing back the front, we are less likely to be nervous. So before a big moment where you know you will be nervous, anchor yourself by knowing your content, conversation, or audience really well.

The aim is not to practice so you’re perfect, the aim is to know how the situation is going to play out and have a plan. You can always move away from your plan in the moment, but if you don’t have one, then you set yourself up for disaster.

10. Try a workout

Exercise can be very effective at releasing endorphins that help to relax the body. Prior to a nervous event, you can try and do a forty-five-minute workout to get the blood pumping and take your mind off things.

Many experts claim that exercise is the best-known cure for nervousness so try it for yourself.

“Like most things in life, a positive mindset will get you through any challenge that presents itself”

***Final Thought***

So that’s the basics of how to overcome nervousness. Remember it’s completely natural to be nervous and there is a hidden power in the sensation if you will reframe your mind to look at the condition as positive.

Uncomfortable situations have a lot to do with how you’re thinking about them and less to do with any magical medical condition that you can take a quick fix tablet for.

Wish me luck as I prepare to leave the amateur round of Toastmasters and deliver a highly prepared speech. I’m sure I will be nervous, but I know I’m going to take my own advice and use the energy to motivate me towards my goal to inspire others through entrepreneurship and personal development.

How do you overcome nervousness? Are there any situations where it cripples you? Let me know in the comments section below or on my website timdenning.net and my Facebook. 

Tim is best known as a long-time contributor on Addicted2Success. Tim's content has been shared millions of times and he has written multiple viral posts all around personal development and entrepreneurship.You can connect with Tim through his website www.timdenning.com

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Stefanie

    Jul 27, 2016 at 6:09 am

    Thank you, Tim! Yeah, it was so different, and it was a great way to create another challenge to grow with. Looking forward to your next article.

  2. Avatar

    Stefanie

    Jul 26, 2016 at 6:46 am

    Hi Tim, great advice! I love the mindfulness trick and I’ll definitely use this the next time I speak in front of a group and get nervous before.
    I completed the first 10 projects from Toastmasters last year, participated in an area contest – and often, I still get nervous! Helpful to read that this happens to others, too. On the one hand, it’s about practice and being prepared. On the other hand, feeling a bit nervous is about to use this energy. Great tip.
    For me, power poses and deep breathing have worked a lot (especially alternate nostril breathing technique from yoga), as well as admitting I’m outside the comfort zone. And yes, that’s a great situation 🙂 Love your suggestion to link this to happiness.
    And one more thing. Getting centered in front, checking in with the audience first, smiling before starting are components that make it so much easier to deal with nervousness at the beginning.

    • Avatar

      Tim Denning

      Jul 26, 2016 at 8:18 pm

      Stefanie thank you sharing your experience. Your Toastmasters tips are very useful and I am going to try all of them. I like the fact that even though you were nervous you faced your fear and went through with it. To compete in an area contest takes guts so congratulations!

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Success Advice

5 Things You Can Learn From The 5am Club by Robin Sharma

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It has been said by Robin Sharma, “5 AM is the time of least distraction, highest human glory, and greatest peace.” This also happens to be the central idea or the core value he has discussed in his book, ‘The 5 Am Club.’ Speaking of early mornings, at what time do you wake up? Are you annoyed by the fact that you wake up on the edge of time and then rush to work in haste? 

The life lessons put forth by The 5 AM Club are exactly the learning and motivation you need to challenge your complacency. In your race against time, you may not have the time to read this fabulous book. So, we have summed up the key book’s takeaways for your convenience.

1. The vigor of waking up early

This is what the book’s most fundamental advice to everyone is. Waking up at 5 am every day can work wonders to avert failures and make success a natural habit. When we wake up at 5 am, we have more time on our hands than others. Besides, this is when we have minimum interruptions and maximum powerfulness of the mind. 

To add, the early morning peace is priceless! You can schedule your most important tasks of the day between 5am, and 8am. This book teaches us in the simplest way, how we can train our mind and strengthen it to deliver the highest productivity by waking up early. This energy that you have when you wake up in the morning and the few additional hours in your day are what serve as perfect ingredients for success.

“The secret to productivity is simplicity.” – Robin Sharma

2. The power of finding the right balance in life

The book talks about a precious lesson of finding the right balance within. We often talk about the need for mindfulness and achieving the right mindset to perceive things. But this book goes a few steps ahead of our usual approach to life. It highlights the vitality of mindset and introduces the concepts of heartset, healthset, and soulset.

These terms may seem new, but they are self-explanatory. The idea of heartset endorses the essentialness of emotional stability and well-being. Next, the perspective of healthset indicates the need to look after physical health. At last, soulset is an attribute of spirituality. As explained in this book, success prospects can be enhanced big time by achieving the right balance between these internal virtues.

3. The iconic 20/20/20 modus operandi

What is the first thing you will do if you start waking up at 5 am every day? Did you ever spare a thought about it? This book has the answer to this question, and you will be convinced that it is a great way to begin your day!. The author suggests that you should split the first hour of the day into three equal parts of 20 minutes each.

In the first 20 minutes of the day, you should prioritize your physical fitness and exercise. In the next 20 minutes, you should energize your soul and spirit via self-reflection and soulful meditation. This will prepare you for the rest of the day and will enable you to bolster your commitment and focus. In the last 20 minutes of the first hour, you should read and learn. But what are you going to read about in those 20 minutes? Read about successful people and their inspiring journeys to the pinnacle of success.

4. The significance of a proper sleep schedule

In this book, there is a mention of ‘a ferocious global sleep recession’, which is intriguing and enlightening. It hints at the state of sleep deprivation that this world is sinking into gradually. We often associate success and hard work with the notion of staying up all night and testing our endurance beyond limits. But that is not the right approach to accomplishing success, or rather, it is a flawed methodology.

Sometimes even if we do not have any critical work, we keep whiling our night time on social media or television. What are we gaining from it is the real question, and I am afraid the answer is nothing! We learn from this book that it is critical to look after your sleep cycle and start your day at 5 am afresh. Sleep and rest are indispensable for mental and physical well-being, or your productivity will decline.

“If you want to have the results only 5% have, you must be willing to do and think like only 5% do and think.” – Robin Sharma

5. The art of evolving

The book sheds light on the need to be spiritual and master self-reflection. However, do you realize the purpose that the routine of reflection each morning serves? The idea is to keep learning, keep reflecting on the mistakes and keep evolution an ongoing process. You should evolve every day and strive to be a better version of yourself every day. So, one of your primary goals after waking up should be to reflect on your actions and missed opportunities of the previous day.

To recapitulate, The 5 AM Club is a must-read book if you are a passionate reader. It has the prowess and charm to refurbish your perception of life altogether. Even if you cannot read the book for some reason, make sure you incorporate the above key takeaways into your life. By starting your day at 5 am, you can rediscover your lost soul and enthusiasm, and you would not have complaints to make about the lack of time. If you can own your mornings, you can go places on the ladder of success, for excuses are only for those who are not committed to their goals.

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Success Advice

Prepare Yourself for Prosperity With These 6 Success Habits

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Success stories don’t come from naturally successful people. They come from ordinary people with starry eyes and big dreams who stayed true to their end goal and consistently put in the work. They are just like you and me. What sets them apart is their mindset — a success mindset. (more…)

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Success Advice

How to Overcome the Emotional Rollercoaster of Success

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If you’re reading this, I’ll let you in on a little secret: you’re a human being. You have feelings, emotions, beliefs, complexity, and a mind that’s always racing. Your feelings at any given moment in your life have the power to affect what you do and how consistently you do it. (more…)

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5 Important Choices that Make Life Worth Living and Success Taste Sweeter

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As we start another year, you’re probably thinking about your life goals, dreams, aspirations, and what you want to accomplish. We know that New Year’s resolutions have gotten a bad reputation because most people lose focus after the first few months and the first signs of resistance. (more…)

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