The opposite of stage fright is presence, the powerful state of being integrated. When you are integrated, all of your human energies, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual, are working together, with no part of you split off or dis-integrated. You are connected to your whole Self*, and able to express yourself fully.
Athletes know about the integration state because they are very physical. Athletes are trained to relax deeply into their bodies and focus attention on the here and now activity of playing their game. In the process, they often stumble into the experience of presence while on the field or court. In recent years, mind/body experts from the sports world have taught about this wonderful state of flow and tried to devise ways to train athletes to create it consciously because it allows for excellent performance.
Dr. James E. Loehr, author of Mental Toughness Training for Sports: Achieving Athletic Excellence, describes the integration state as the “ideal performance state.” He has created a composite description of the inner climate of athletes when they achieve this state:
I felt physically very relaxed, but really energized and pumped up. I experienced virtually no anxiety or fear, and the whole experience was totally enjoyable. I experienced a very real sense of calmness and quiet inside, and everything just seemed to flow automatically. I really didn’t have to think about what I was supposed to do; it just seemed to happen naturally. Even though I was really hustling, it was all very effortless. I always seemed to have enough time and energy and rarely felt rushed – almost at times as if I were performing in slow motion. I felt like I could do almost anything, as if I were in complete control. I really felt confident and positive. It also seemed very easy to concentrate. I was totally tuned in to what I was doing. I was also super-aware – aware of everything but distracted by nothing. It almost seemed like I knew what was going to happen before it actually did.
Dr. Loehr’s internal climate for the ideal performance state is the same state of awareness as presence. Presence is experienced both internally by the Self, and externally by other people. It is an inner experience of being totally here, now. It is also an external quality that others sense as a palpable power.
The processes I describe in my book It’s Your Time to Shine can help you to create some of that inner climate and maintain it while you are presenting, performing or communicating.
I am Sandra Zimmer, author of It’s Your Time to Shine and founder of Self-Expression Center. I offer group training and individual coaching that can help you transform fear of speaking and become a compelling, persuasive speaker so that you can shine when you share your ideas, insights and expertise.