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I was gearing up for one of the most important performances of my life. It was my best friend’s wedding, and I had the honor — and the anxiety — of giving the best man’s speech in front of 300 guests. I’d spoken in front of my colleagues countless times. But this was new terrain. I knew what I wanted to say, but I was incredibly nervous.
While researching different ways to eliminate my pre-performance jitters, it dawned on me — maybe I was taking the wrong approach. In reading about actors and comedians, I discovered that many of them don’t try to quash their stage fright. Instead, they channel that energy into their performance. It comes down to reappraising emotions in a positive light. In the end, the speech went pretty well, even if I never felt less nervous about it. I just tried to stress less about my stress.