Performance Anxiety


Hi, Brooke! I am in month 3 of Scholars and I am really getting a lot out of it. I especially like the reminders not to just consume…which I realize is my tendency. So, taking a leap here with a pretty specific question. I have been listening to your podcasts since joining, and I recently listened to the one on Shyness. Interestingly, before listening to it I would have identified myself as shy, but after listening, I realize that it is not shyness but my severe performance anxiety that gets in the way of things I would like to do. I especially hate to speak in public, but it is not limited to that. I have a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, and have certainly been in situations that require me to be front and center, but it is so anxiety producing and takes so much out of me that I usually avoid those situations as much as possible. My “center of attention” fears have definitely impacted me professionally and personally. When I am nervous, I have physical manifestations such as trembling and shaky voice, that bring me great shame. I am working hard on feeling every emotion, but this one is so toxic to me that I can’t truly imagine myself conquering it. I should also mention that I am in my 50’s, and definitely have a “now or never” mindset as to whether I can work with this or just make peace with it. I know that this has not been one of your personal struggles but I am wondering if you have any suggestions for how to work with such a powerfully negative emotion. Thank you.