The curtain rises on the scene of an epic battle on a New York City stage the main character — me and my fear.
Hi, I’m Fia Fasbinder and in 1996, I faced every actor’s worst nightmare. I was co-starring in an off-broadway production of the Scarlet Letter when I completely and I do mean completely forgot my lines. I froze, deer and headlights, totally paralyzed and I didn’t recover and keep going. I actually had to be rescued and escorted off stage by my fellow actors.
Now I’ve always had a thick skin – you have to when you attend NYU Acting School where they cut students every year and then is an actor where you swallow your pride and a dose of audition rejection on the regular.
Nevertheless, for some reason, that night fear won the battle. It took years before I found the courage to get back on stage and that process taught me something – that the only way to fight fear and really win is to fight naked.
It’s to break your heart open every night on stage in front of everyone because when we do that, when we act from a place of vulnerability not just as actors but as humans, it can change everything.
It certainly changed everything for me. After my acting career took off again I couldn’t wait to start sharing this message. In fact, this single lesson about fear helped me find my real purpose teaching public speaking and eventually starting my own presentation training company, and in the years since I’ve helped thousands of speakers and leaders take their performances to new heights.
I’ve seen how successful performances can completely change our sense of self and our sense of what’s possible. I’ve seen firsthand that when people walk towards their fear, they find confidence and a sense of purpose that they only dreamt was possible.
Over the last decade, I’ve developed 3 powerful strategies backed by neuroscience that I’d love to share with audiences.
- The first, fight naked— Open yourself up to the audience because that’s where powerful performances and powerful messages come from.
- The second, follow your fear— use fear as your GPS to find what’s most important to you in life and
- Finally, channel that fear— make it work for you by turning nervous energy into usable energy.
I’m excited to share a few body and breathing exercises culled from my experience as an actor that helps speakers command the stage. These warm-ups exercises aren’t just practical, they’re empowering and fun too.
I always say that it’s impossible to be fearless but it is possible to fear less. I’d love to show your audience how. Thank you
Check out our other blogs and videos about everything from soup to nuts presentations and how you come up with an idea for your presentation all the way to when you’re about to go on stage—it’s all there.