Gaining Control at the Start of a Performance

Centering helps you stay calm and grounded.

© iStockphoto/spooh

It's the worst nightmare for many people: You're about to give a speech before hundreds of people, and the speech could impact your career for years to come.

Performance experts and life coaches have told you, time and time again, that you should walk onstage excited and confident about this opportunity. But inside, you're a mess. You're shaking, sweating, and afraid you won't remember what you're supposed to talk about. As you walk onstage, your inner voice tells you that you're not ready, and you never will be.

Have you ever been in a situation like this? Have you been so stressed and nervous that you don't want to go through with the speech, the interview, or presentation? Have you ever wished you could find a way of managing and overcoming this 'performance stress'?

Well, there is an effective process that can help: It's called centering, and anyone can learn it. The technique basically helps you change stress into concentration, and it can take as long as you want it to – from 10 seconds to 10 minutes or more. In this article, we'll explain what it is, and how to do it.

What is Centering?

Centering is a technique that originated, and is still used, in Aikido – one of the Japanese martial arts. Aikido is nonviolent, and is perhaps the most cerebral of all the self-defense arts. It literally means 'the way of unifying life energy.'

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