How I Handle Pre-Performance Nerves

Caroline Leon
5 min readAug 22, 2023

“The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
~ Nelson Mandela

In this piece, I want to share with you a few things I do whenever I feel nervous about “performing” in my business. That might be teaching a class, doing a live video, being interviewed, or speaking to someone else’s audience and even though I dislike the term performance, I trust you’ll get what I mean when I say that’s how it can feel to us!

As a solopreneur who is committed to getting the word out about conscious business and ethical marketing, I regularly need to face my fears and put myself at the front of the room, so to speak.

To give you a few examples, I presented on authentic outreach to Sarah Santococe’s Humane Marketing Circle, hosted a live online workshop (or 2), and was one of 4 speakers at a roundtable discussion on business model for Tad Hargrave. All of these things, to varying degrees, result in what I’m calling pre-performance nerves.

Back when I had a 9–5 office job, I had a lot of presentations to do and they absolutely terrified me. My voice would start shaking, my stomach would be in knots, I’d feel my face flush and I’d be dying inside (side note: people always told me I came across as very confident and didn’t see any of what I was experiencing inside). The thing was I didn’t have a choice, they were part of the job description, so I sucked it up and somehow got through the excruciating anxiety of it all.

So, you can imagine as a business owner, choosing to volunteer myself for speaking opportunities or “putting myself out there” has required some courage on my part. What spurs me on though is knowing that people need to know that I and my business exist if they are going to buy from me. So I’ve developed a couple of strategies I always do when I start to feel the nerves of presenting get the better of me.

I think about people who love me

I’m a proud Mama of two gorgeous boys and I have a wonderful and loving partner. I keep on my desk at all times photos of the four of us together as a family. Whenever I’m about to do something scary, I’ll pick up one of my photos and take a good hard look and I remind myself that no matter how badly I do in this… interview…

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Caroline Leon

Business Coach helping conscious change makers to build and grow sustainable businesses, using strategies rooted in integrity. https://carolineleon.com