The following is a sample from Day 1 of my Goodbye Butterflies 7-Day Stage Fright Solution online training course.

—Dr. Fish

The Answer

So, how did you do sitting with a quiet mind for thirty seconds?

If you’re like almost all of us, not so well.

Thoughts probably kept popping into your head. Maybe they even included “Isn’t 30 seconds up yet?” or “Where is all of this headed?” You could shoo such thoughts away, but others would then appear, seemingly out of nowhere.

And there you have the fundamental problem in trying to battle stage fright.

We simply don’t have enough control over our thinking to keep anxious thoughts from coming to mind, especially since one of the primary jobs of the brain is to detect possible danger and protect us from it. Our brains are always on guard doing so. (Think of how quickly you react when you hear an unexpected sound like a car backfiring.)


It’s no wonder then so many of us feel helpless and hopeless in the face of stage fright.

What I learned in practicing Zen though is this. While we can’t readily switch off our thinking, we can learn to detach ourselves from it. Such detachment comes through mindfulness.

It can be easy to achieve once you know how it all works and learn some straightforward techniques.

I’ve distilled the Zen approach to mindfulness together with modern concepts on the subject to create a simple process that goes by the acronym READ. It stands for remember, engage, accept, and detach.

These concepts may not mean much to you yet regarding your speaking, performing, or competing in front of others. Don’t worry, I’ll explain them fully as we go along.

For now, just know that they add up to a simple, no-nonsense process for finding your way beyond stage fright.

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