Well this week I am late with my blog entry as I am sure you have noticed. It has not been an especially eventful week but I nevertheless became absorbed in some new ideas I had and put off the blog.
This week I actually wanted to take the time to talk about something that is very hard for me. I suffer from severe anxiety. I know you think how severe could it be you get on stage and perform for people. Well anxiety is just fear. I am afraid of almost everything all the time if involves any sort of social interaction. I have problems talking with people, visiting crowded places or sometimes even just going to the store. It doesn’t even need to be physical. I have the same problems communication online that I do in person. People make me nervous. I worry and stress about every interaction I have with any person. Did I say that wrong? How did that take that statement? Was I staring at something? How weird did I look when I did that? These statements constantly stream through my thoughts when I am in public.
So how so I deal with that in the face of performing. Well like I said anxiety just means I am afraid to do those things. Not that I don’t want to. I crave social interaction and acceptance, in some ways more than others. But I know ill never achieve anything if I let that fear stop me. So I take things very slowly. Adhering to a schedule helps take some of the anxiety of interaction. I celebrate every step in my progress no matter how small and try to reinforce that progress. It is hard and some days I just cannot do it. But I wake up the next day and try again because I don’t have a choice. I can’t sit at home alone my whole life being scared of people.
This week I had to start making cold calls to businesses to market my show. I am trying to get more performance time to perfect everything. I decided to do that by offering a deeply discounted show to retirement communities and organizations is my area that usually have to small a budget for this sort of entertainment. But for me it is a chance to work out the final bits of my show and get more experience in front of an audience. The idea of calling and talking to people especially cold was terrifying though. But how could I move forward with my mentalism if I didn’t? The answer was I couldn’t and I struggled with it. What I ended up doing was taking the process and breaking it down bit by bit. The same that I do when I am working out a routine for a new act or show.
I started by making a list of which types of place would want my style of entertainment that may not be able to have regular access. The first places were old age homes. I wanted to separate it further into assisted and independent living facilities. I think that mentalism can be harder to follow that magic at times because it is less visual and the assisted care folks may not get much out of it. I decided to try independent first and then check around about the assisted homes and get an idea if they may like it later.
I googled retirement homes, nursing homes and independent care facilities for my area. Every place I found I jotted down and then looked up their website or reviews online to see what type of facility and if they offered activities or entertainment for the residents.
When I had my list of good facilities that I thought may be open to entertainment I was left with about 70 places within 100 miles. I took all that and put it in a spreadsheet and devised a color system to keep track of where I had called and what information I had got or even if I got booked.
I am sure all that seems like just a lot of work that maybe you do or don’t already do now. But by taking it and breaking down into steps like that I found a way to help combat the anxiety I feel. It is still there but you know what. I called several of those places yesterday and got a few potential new leads that are interested in booking a show.
So I will keep pushing forward because that is what you have to do. Don’t be the lobster waiting on the rocks for the tide to wash you back into the ocean. Take the few steps and get to the ocean yourself. It may be harder but its the only guaranteed way to get there.