Recently I received a scheduling for a puppet audition through The Jim Henson Company. When I was first called about it, I was initially pretty confident I could go in there and nail it. Then, I received the script and all the information about the audition and I was even MORE confident I could go in their an nail it. The character was something I could hit out of the part really easily, the script was funny (something I usually find is quite rare in these situations) and it would just be a tremendously fun project to work on.
Then, just a few days before the audition, I found out something that rattled my confidence completely. Just completely dashed that sense of ‘I got this” completely. The good old Negative Brain took full control. In one instant, I went from confident to a complete mess. “I got this” became, “Not in a million years.” In fact, my negative brain, as if does, started telling me, “Just don’t even do it. That way you won’t be disappointed when you don’t get it.”
Now, my negative brain is not strong enough for me to make majorly stupid mistakes. I completely understand the consequences of not showing up to an audition that The Jim Henson Company has scheduled you for. So, there was no way I was going to NOT go to the audition.
I began thinking about being nervous about something big in your creative career and how it can completely play with your mind. In situations like that you have two choices. Don’t do it, as your negative brain would have you and play it safe. Or, as the old Nike ad says, “just do it.” And really, there is no choice. Just do it.
Nerves are nothing. They are just a holdover from that primitive brain we’ve talked about before on here. They are there to keep you safe. But when you think about things logically you’ll see that nerves can sometimes misguide you.
Being nervous while swimming in shark infested waters is probably a good idea. You could die.
Being nervous when going into an audition, or unveiling your recent painting, or stepping out on stage to play a new song, recite a new poem, read a new story, etc., those things re not likely to kill you. You’ll be just fine. Sure, you may blow the audition, receive criticism, get booed, but is it going to kill you? Probably not. And in the unlikely event that those things happen (how many people really get booed anymore?) they will all be incredible learning experiences of what to do or not do the next time you are in one of those situations.
So, when it came to this audition of mine, there really was only one choice, do it. I studied the script harder than anything I had recently. I worked on my puppetry even more to be spot on when I went in. Part of the audition would be riffing/improv so I thought of things I may say in different situations that may pop up. I made myself completely ready for this audition.
Was I still nervous? Yes.
Was I going to let that nervousness stop me? No way.
Will I get the part? Who knows? But I’m more likely to get it now that I didn’t chicken out and not go to the audition.
If you are nervous about something, just do it.
How do you deal with being nervous about big events in your creative life? Has the nervousness ever won out? Or did you battle is successfully?