Any actor will tell you that they have a fair degree of stage fright before any performance. Even very famous stage actors like Lawrence Olivier have said that if they didn’t have a bit of stage fright, they’d be really worried. It’s the nervousness that comes across as energy on stage or on screen.
I’ve always had stage fright. Not crippling stage fright but definitely stage fright. When I was a screenwriter, I remember having to go to pitch meetings at studios and being unable to sleep the night before, tossing and turning, going over the pitch in my head. By the time I arrived at the meeting, I would be a wreck. But I noticed something else, also. The nervousness propelled me through those meetings. My nervousness turned into energy and I was absolutely wired in the meeting. I came across as far more enthusiastic than I actually was because I was out of my mind.
Nervousness is your friend. It motivates you to prepare, to be sharp. Use it to your advantage, value it. Nervousness can be better than an energy drink. But, it’s important not to be too wired so I’ve found that relaxation exercises in the form of deep breathing meditations, have helped me. It’s important at some point to calm the mind, to be focused.
As Franklin Delano Roosevelt said in his inaugural speech during World War II in one of the darkest periods in American history, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.“