A child takes a step onto stage into the light, looks around, he stops, the colour drains from his face, and all the children who were following him bump into him like a train wreck. They start pushing him, the teacher tries to encourage him, but he’s frozen in fear unable to move. Parents look on in hope, anxiety, and amusement.
It’s that time of year again, where schools put on assemblies before the holidays and all through the country a version of the above. And yet stage fright happens everyday and doesn’t need a physical stage to occur. We freeze in a presentation, we freeze on a call with a client, a team member, a manager, we freeze up when we sit down and write.
Perhaps it would be useful to expect stage fright, expect our team members to freeze in situations, expect ourselves to freeze up and then build rituals, habits, and other triggers to help us to become unstuck. Instead of assuming it will never happen to us, if we expect it we won’t be surprised when it happens.