Overcoming Performance Fears and Anxiety
(02/02-2015) – Performance fear or performance anxiety takes on different forms. However, it is associated with the growing wareness and the need to perform according to the standard of your own field of activity, whether in the workplace, or an upcoming presentation, or for a sports activity. With the pressure to perform one’s best, there is always this preconditioned mindset for the person suffering from performance fear that anything could go wrong that will eventually impact your performance and reduce it to failure.
Studies are still ongoing to determine exactly the cause of this fear but it is closely tied up to one’s desire to do better at something. However, you need to understand that experiencing performance fear is completely normal. But some often have unrealistic fear or misconception about given situations that impair their logical decision making capacities and end up in your not performing up to standard.
Different Types of Performance Anxiety
There are various types of performance fears or anxiety, whether at the workplace, sex, speech delivery, or sports. Therefore, the ways in which you deal with them must differ as well. Below are some basic methods suggested in order to minimize the level of fear associated with performing these different tasks and the level of anxiety that is entailed.
The best way to get rid of any performance fears associated when competing at a sports event is to take it easy on yourself. Even the world’s best sportsmen or women have their days off, wherein they do not perform at their maximum potential. When engaged in sports, you cannot expect to win all the time and you will find your team lose on some occasions. Whatever your sport, setting realistic goals is then the first step that will help you deal with sports performance fears and anxiety. However, you can turn that adrenaline produced by your anxious feelings into energy that you can harness to perform better at your sport. And when you are on the actual performance, try to enjoy the experience and you will find the process of competition more rewarding.
Several people have this fear of speaking in public. Much of that fear is produced by the pressure of having to deliver a flawless speech that is able to communicate the message to the audience effectively. Instead of letting that fear overtake you, harness it into a systematic plan that will ensure you have control over the situation.
Here are added tips you can apply:
- Carefully plan ahead your speech.
- Do some research to be well-equipped about the topic you are going to deliver a speech on, even when you are already an ‘expert’ at that field.
- Practice. Practice. Practice.
- Plan ahead the schedule and venue where the speech is going to be held.
There are a few innately stressful jobs that require high level of standards for their employees to meet. To keep up with performance anxiety, you need to stop and talk about it, with either your boss, co-workers, or family members. Being in isolation and confronting your fears alone could increase the fear or make the situation worse. It is important to have the support of other people.
Then, change your perspective. There are moments wherein there are job inadequacies but use that as a learning curve. Aiming for perfectionism is good but you need to realize that it is unachievable. Just try to focus on what you can contribute to the company instead of what you are failing to deliver.
Managing and Overcoming This Fear
You need to understand that you have power over your fear, especially when it determines how well you perform at something. Then, think of the following steps that must be taken in order for you to overcome these fears:
- Try to identify the source of your problematic perception or anything that could trigger such fears.
- Then, once you have identified the outside source for such levels of anxiety, look into yourself. Determine how you react to it and why you react that way.
- Refrain from criticizing yourself nor questioning your ability to perform.
- Instead of letting fear consume you, make the necessary preparations needed for your performance, whether at a sports event or at the workplace.
- Once you are through with the performance, do not focus on areas of mistakes or failures in a way that it impairs your self-confidence. Instead, look at them as areas that need improvement in order for you to do better in your next performance. (Cyril Malka)