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Friday, August 15, 2014

Offstage Fright

Most people have heard the expression "stage fright" to describe the immobilizing fear that can grip some musicians or actors from time to time. Ham that I am (yes Sam I am), I've never experienced anything approaching stage fright. But I do wonder if a parallel fear sometimes take hold of people from other professions.

For example, do accountants get "IRS stress?" Can it result in the loss of potential income like stage fright does for performers? How do they overcome it? And what about salespeople? "Closing fear", maybe? I made a living for four years in sales and didn't have much trouble going for the close. But based on the way I choke and subsequently lose every time I'm ahead in tennis, this notion doesn't strike me as that glib.

Dentists? I'm wondering if the expression "bite the hand that feeds you" is somehow cryptically connected to performance anxiety among dentists. Were I to continue and offer the tasteless rhyming and punning examples that occurred to me among some medical specialties, I could lose my legions. So, how about your ideas? Start with your respective profession - Is there something parallel to stage fright in your line of work? What would you call it?


  1. Not in my profession, but getting back to stage fright, I've never been able to overcome it in my guitar playing and singing. I've had many tell me over the years, including you Pat, I'm sure, "... once you get out there and perform enough it will not bother you as much...." I can do it, but I feel awful, before, during, and for a long time after. Every time. I wish I didn't, but I do. Small groups and people I know well, okay, but not beyond that. Too bad, because I would LOVE to be comfortable playing in front of groups. At this point I've pretty much resigned myself, it's not worth the way it makes me feel, takes the fun out of it. Bummer.

  2. Hey Jim; Thanks for the comment. I never knew performing carried such anxiety for you. My view? If anything takes the fun out of music, don't do it.