Is Fear Holding You Back From Giving A Great Comedy Performance?

Bill Cole, MS, MA
Founder and CEO
William B. Cole Consultants
Silicon Valley, California

Recently I received a phone call from Hollywood. A first-time stand up comedian wanted help getting past her stage fright and nerves for an upcoming show case. I agreed to coach her. She had heard about my work with well-known professional and college athletes, actors, musicians, dancers and other performers, in helping them perform to their fullest abilities.

In a short few days, she was to walk on the stage at the world-famous Improv in Hollywood to a packed house to deliver her comedy debut. This was quite a project. She had extensive experience as a world-class model, but not very much as a comedian. But, comedy was her passion, and she was motivated to succeed. You can learn some of the mental game approaches I used with her to handle your own stage fright. I know you want to give an inspired performance. There are ways to do that, using your mind.

Here are the five main peak performance strategies we used to help her gain control over her performance nerves. You can use these too.

Use Self-Hypnosis To Gain Calm And Focus: You can learn self-hypnosis very quickly. This allows you to rapidly relax and maintain poise in the face of performance pressure. It also primes your mind to do creative visualization procedures that help you learn your material and performance cues.

Bring In Your Past To Create Excellence In Your Future: Using creative visualization, I took this first-time comedian back to her successful experiences modeling on stage, her best comedy practice sessions, and other areas in her life when she was in the zone. We then migrated the powerful feelings to her comedy debut so she would feel the same exciting feelings of competency and the rush of performing of the zone.

Use Centering To Ground Yourself: You can learn to center your mind, body and emotions very quickly so you can feel in control, even in an out-of-control environment. This grounded feeling is a mixture of feeling secure, confident and excited-all at the same time.

Make Breathing Your Best Friend: If you perform, you must have mastery over your breath. Otherwise, performer's anxiety shows up way too often. Performers who ignore their breathing are not in control of themselves. Under pressure, your breathing patterns are the first part of your system to degrade. Learn some breath-control approaches and you will feel 100% more confident when you perform.

Turn Off The Inner Critic: Everyone wants to succeed on stage. The problem is, if you critique, analyze, evaluate and assess yourself when you perform, you are sabotaging yourself big time. Vow not to self-evaluate as you are on stage. Trust your training and practice. Allow it to go on autopilot. Do that and the zone will be your friend.

You may be wondering how this first-time comedian did at her big show case at the Improv. She killed. She performed brilliantly in front of a packed house. She loved the experience.

You love show business too. You want to be successful. As a comedian you know the phrase, "No funny, no money!" To be funny, when it counts, you must side-step your fears, and allow your creative, performer self to emerge. To do that you need a system, a toolkit of peak performance strategies that fend off stage fright. I can help you develop that system. You deserve to make all your hard work and dreams pay off. See you on stage!

Learn more about mental game coaching for this first-time stand-up comedian, and see a video including an excerpt from her first comedy performance.

Copyright 2009-2011 Bill Cole, MS, MA. All rights reserved.


Bill Cole, MS, MA, a leading authority on peak performance, mental toughness and coaching, is founder and CEO of William B. Cole Consultants, a consulting firm that helps organizations and professionals achieve more success in business, life and sports. He is also the Founder and President of the International Mental Game Coaching Association (, an organization dedicated to advancing the research, development, professionalism and growth of mental game coaching worldwide. He is a multiple Hall-Of-Fame honoree as an athlete, coach and school alumnus, an award-winning scholar-athlete, published book author and articles author, and has coached at the highest levels of major-league pro sports, big-time college athletics and corporate America.

For a free, extensive article archive, or for questions and comments visit him at