The only difference is that the people on the stage have mastered looking calm. I don't know a single performer who doesn't have some level of anxiety about performing. Granted the level of anxiety and come of the symptoms are different, but everyone feels it.
The other difference is that performers have, one way or another, overcome the anxiety. That is because the reward is too great to miss. However, if you haven't overcome the terror, you don't know what you're missing [it is also possible that it isn't a reward to you!]. If you have set yourself the challenge to overcome your stage fright, there are a few steps you can take:
- Identify precisely what your "bugaboo" is - are you afraid you are not prepared? not good enough? going to trip on stage?
- Once you have identified it, address it - not prepared? practice more. Not good enough? there will always be people who are better than you are...and you will always be better than others. Tripping? well, that's been proven to be endearing - at least on national television!
- Define what venue will be doable for you at this point in time - where can you play (or for which audience) that will be outside your comfort...but not too far? Schools and nursing homes are great places to play with audiences that are thirsty for and appreciative of your performance.
- Acknowledge that you will feel trepidation - and that it will affect your playing...and go with it!
- Be prepared to learn from getting out there - you will be able to be proud of your accomplishment and you can learn what happens (not what you fear will happen but what actually happens!). Leverage what you learn. Then you can work on those things as you prepare for your next performance!