FIFTEEN MINUTES IN THE GREENROOM

THE CONCERT WAS TO BEGIN SOON, AND SUDDENLY I WAS OVERWHELMED with fear. Although I was a seasoned performer who had gained control over performance anxiety years before, this time was different. Fear invaded my consciousness with its barrage of negative and destructive suggestions, including intense nervousness, the shakes, and self-doubt.

Many people, especially those who have had to get up in front of an audience, know the feeling of being flooded with thoughts like these: "You are not adequately prepared; you really should have practiced this more; you are going to make mistakes"—and, the ultimate, "You are not good enough." As is the case with most fears, whether generated by illness, extreme weather conditions, a broken relationship or anything else, such fears are engendered by the thought of some disastrous outcome in a future time, in my case, the upcoming performance.

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