Confidence Course: Performance Anxiety

Confidence Course: Performance Anxiety
Can Dr. Phil help a pianist overcome her stage fright?
Although she played the piano for more than 10 years, Jennifer says she eventually developed stage fright: "The idea of performing for people sends me over the edge," says Jennifer. "It is nearly impossible for me to play, even in front of my closest friends and family... What I fear is people thinking badly of me." She explains that when she was 8 years old, she forgot what she was doing during a piano recital and had to start over. The experience left her feeling humiliated.

Dr. Phil tells Jennifer that performance anxiety isn't uncommon: "Violent storms, fire, hell ... these are all things that people fear less than getting up in front of a group and giving a speech or performing." He then advises Jennifer to take her power back and refuse to live in a "prison of fear" for the rest of her life.
Dr. Phil tells Jennifer, "The difference between winners and losers is that winners do things that losers don't want to do ... You don't know what these people are thinking. What you know is what you think they are thinking — and you are responding to that. It's arrogant to think all these people do is think about you."

Dr. Phil continues, "You have been given an amazing musical gift. You are selfish with that gift by not sharing. You need to walk through the fear. Your internal dialogue needs to become, 'I don't have the right to waste this gift. I'm talented but not perfect and this fear is over.'"
"It sounds pretty easy," says Jennifer.

"It is!" exclaims Dr. Phil. "I'd love to sit here and tell you that you need to see me for a year of therapy, but the truth is, you don't need to do that. It's a choice and only you can make it. If I had a piano here, would you play it?"

"I was afraid that something like that was going to happen when I got out here," says Jennifer.

"But would you walk through the fear and do it?" asks Dr. Phil.

"I would," says Jennifer.

"Bring out the piano!" exclaims Dr. Phil.

"Oh my God!" gasps Jennifer.

Despite her anxiety, Jennifer takes Dr. Phil's advice and "walks through the fear," sitting down to play the piano — in front of the entire studio audience!

Afterwards, Jennifer's boyfriend Brian and Dr. Phil congratulate her as the audience applauds.