Coping with Performance Pressure

How do I cope with the performance pressure?

I am not only talking about the pressure related to the performance itself but also the challenge of promoting each performance sufficiently for each venue. It used to be so easy, or so it seemed…

All through my childhood, I walked on stage with the expectation of a full house, cheering me on throughout my performance, followed by hundreds of fans lining up for an autograph as I excited the theater. I had no idea what marketing efforts lay behind such a scene. It was just there for me to bask in and shine and savor.

As I grew into adulthood, I learned the art of marketing, creating my own shows and of running my own record label. Since I already had the expectation of full houses and a famed upbringing to draw from it was easy at first. My confident attitude combined with plenty of goodwill in the media got me off to a great start.

How do I cope with the performance pressure when life comes crashing down?

It’s not like my life was an easy one, by any stretch of the imagination. After getting completely smashed in a car accident at eighteen, I had to rebuild my leg, brain function, speech and memory from scratch. But the confidence and the work ethics that was instilled in me from childhood was still there, cheering me on.

Miraculously, I was able to utilize whatever obstacles came my way to further my creativity and performance value. Granted, it took many years to heal the trauma, quite a bit of schooling and a bunch of therapy to pull me through, but performance wise, I always seemed good to go. Almost always.

I have often struggled, however, with the emotional pressure that comes with being an artist. More specifically, I have struggled with the “need” to be as good as I can possibly be in any given situation. My father, the great entertainer, expected nothing less. And, even though he made work a lot of fun, the underlying expectation of excellence in all performance was loud and clear.

How do I break the cycle of workaholism and truly harness the power of my creative talent?

I have learned my lesson over and over, the hard way, that it doesn’t work in the long run to push or will my way through. And I have asked myself over and over why it is that I keep doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different outcome. Twelve step groups will tell me it is called insanity. My work ethic oriented mind will tell me it is the only way to succeed. All I know is, I have to find another way.

In order to break this thing, this cycle, I have to resist my mind and go against my deepest instincts. I have to disobey my inner dad and break the rules of my “perfectionist” ego. My heart, of course, tells me to relax, breathe and receive the good. But in order to follow my heart I need to make friends with my ego in order to prevent it from sabotaging. It’s a tricky thing…

Or maybe it’s all quite simple? Abraham Hicks, the author of “The Law of Attraction” and “Ask and It Is Given”, tells us that what we focus our attention on, we attract more of. In some ways, I have used my perfectionist upbringing as my excuse to hold myself from true, liberated excellence. So, here’s my genius plan:

Caroline Waters live in concert by Eva Groven

Photo by Eva Groven

Just breathe

When I set aside my intellect and listen to my body. When I slow my breath enough to feel my heart beat. When I open my mind wide enough to see the aura expand from every plant and flower as they are being observed. When I take the time to breathe and witness the miracle of life that is happening all around me, is when I can truly access the amazing speed of my unconscious mind and the genius power that exists in alignment with source energy.

It is my desire to sing and play my way across the stage of life in total alignment with the well being that abounds. This means I have to slow down enough to notice what it is that holds my attention, and from there make sure that my focus is in alignment with my desire. I simply have to breathe. Just breathe. That’s my genius plan.

I have enclosed one of my favorite tunes for your listening pleasure, and the lyrics in case you want to sing along:)

Love Always, Caroline

In the Moment (from the Being Totally Alive CD)
Words and Music by Caroline Waters

What am I supposed to do, loving you the way that I love you
What am I supposed to say, could there be another way
What am I supposed to see when you look at me
How am I supposed to be in this dream reality

Oh it is perfect as it is
In the moment as we are
In the moment as we meet
In the moment

How can I release this fear and just let you love me
How can I begin to near what I’m really meant to be
How can I begin to breathe all the love I see
How can I fulfill the need of this dream reality

Oh it is perfect as it is
In the moment as we are
In the moment as we meet
In the moment

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