When I was a child I started practicing karate and loved it and also feared it too.
But when it came to sparring in front of others I'd get nervous and started to ask to be excused to go to the loo downstairs and hide in the toilet until it was over.
In my late teens I started taking up a new martial art that required physical demonstrations not only in front of others but in front of complete strangers at street festivals, different cities, countries and shows.
Thing was the pressure was always on but now there was a difference because of the way I perceived nerves and a this realization akin to Dr Eliot's take on pressure.
We need to realize a couple things, according to Eliot:
1. “Everything that your body does to you when the pressure is on is good for performance...
2. Pressure is different from anxiety; nervousness is different from worry.”
Wherever I was in the world when training I still had the heart pounding but I'd trained so much I trusted stepping in, even if it meant falling flat which I did a ton of times.
Check this from Eliot...
"Bill Russell is one of the great names in basketball, an all-American... the only athlete to ever win an NCAA Championship, an Olympic Gold Medal, and a professional championship all in the same year—1956... But Bill Russell had this one problem: He threw up before every game.”
“The physical symptoms of flight-or- fight are what the human body has learned over thousands of years to operate more efficiently and at the highest level. Anxiety is a cognitive interpretation of that physical response.”
Maybe the nerves you experience are not an indication of your perceived limitations, but actually getting you ready to express what you've already got. Look at the Russell example above again. Chundered at every game! And yet look at the results. Imagine if he did not follow through.
How you feel before a 'game' does not have to define who you are or what you are capable of.
Nor should it.