Fearless Performance by Jeff Nelsen

Everyone's a Magician

My first experience with magic was when I was 7 years old.  That's why I've always loved it! My family drove from the pig farm in northern Alberta, Canada, to my cousin's place in Los Angeles.  He did a magic show and I was his assistant.  He blew my mind!  The next day we were at Disneyland, and I bought my first magic kit.  I was forever hooked.

Magic is identical to music, and many other performance-based activities.  You practice the technique and put it all together and then you go out and share it with an audience.  You can work up the technique and do the trick - you know, make the coin disappear. Ooooo ahhh!  But way better that just a trick, you can weave a compelling story throughout the technical trickery.

Talk about sights, sounds, smells, and spookiness, and then have the scary ghost coin magically move from your hand into the ear of a child.  Then when we pull the coin out of their ear, we've freed the coin just in time to be used to start their college fund. Ta daaaaaa!

Technique is good and great technical combinations are impressive.  I'll listen for awhile. But what gets my time and attention (during and afterwards) is a great story dramatically well told.

My success and learning through Fearless Performance is based in what I call "The Magic Line Method".  


I explain its premise to be that there's a magic line between backstage and onstage.  Every time you approach any performance situation, you bring every choice you've made your whole lives with you up to, and across this magic line. 

That's either a source of immense fear or inspiration to clean up your choices for next time. If you should have prepared more before this moment, too bad too late. You're standing at the line about to enter into your performance so let go of guilt or regret, and just focus on what you can do for this time.

Putting that magic line between preparation and performance is a powerful source of clarity. I use the magic line to simulate performance as often as I can, so as to experiencewalking into potentially stressful situations.  If you experience a dip in quality between your practice room version of something and your on-stage version, you've given your magic line some magical powers!  I call the dip in quality "The Quality Gap".  If you have a quality gap, you've done real magic...it's just not the good kind. 

Everyone's a Magician

Today I was working with a dear friend, Frank Graves.  We were working on our new workbook for some upcoming Fearless workshops.  Exciting stuff!!  Stay tuned, you're going to love it.

I'm stuck thinking about what deeper clarity Frank and I shared in today.  Basically, when we cross into a performance situation, we've crossed a boundary from preparation to performance.  If we get destructively nervous and perform less than our best, we have done some destructive magic to ourselves.  Through working with crossing magic lines often, all I want to inspire in people abilities to have that line be a source of magic that elevates us and others.  

One of my students did a ho-hum performance to begin a lesson and I asked him if he used his magic line.  He ho-hum-edly said, "uhhhh yeah, sure...it's over there.  Walked right over it and yeah...uh huh..."  I asked him, "Well, did you give it some magic?  It's a frickin' MAGIC LINE!!!  The magic doesn't happen TO you.  You have to GIVE it magical properties!"  To which he want, "OH!?  Ahhh!  Cool...Ok, I get it now!!  HA!!"

He brought good magic to every magic line performance after that one.  I think one thing that helped was his scratching in huge letters, "It's a frickin' MAGIC LINE!!!!" on his inspirational sheet.

Task for the Day - Believe in Magic

I experience essentially two types of audience members when I perform magic.  Either they are childlike and just want to enjoy the show, or they want to figure the trick out, and tell you how you did it.  The second type of person is curious to me because I kinda know how I'm doing it?  If the person is overly aggressive (aka ruining the childlike people's experience) I say, "So when you go to the ballet do you try to trip the dancers?" 


Nina and me dancing on our magical honeymoon


I respect that they're being curious, but we can share in curiosity later.  Be curious, but please let magic happen. If not to yourself at first, at least near others.  Let people share in the magic around you...




Please believe in magic.  If you experience a Quality Gap in performance, you are performing magic as you walk into your performance.  Why not believe in good magic?! 

Take some extra time during your day today, and find some magic.  Create some magic. There are things happening for your eyes and ears only.  There are moments that only you are seeing.  Bask in that.  Soak it in, because it's all you.  Walking?  Magic.  Hearing?  Wow Magic.  Talking to someone, or reading, or turning on the radio and hearing some music?!?! Total crazy sorcery.

And if you're usually one to wait to "believe it until you see it", if you want proof before you believe in your own incredible potential to see and create magic today, take Steve Buscemi's words to heart...




...and make a magical change sometime today.  Just something small to start. 

Smiles are magic. The next time you share an elevator or pass someone in the hallway, share a smile.  If they smile back, that's awesome.  You'll feel it.  

If they don't, they needed that smile more that you can know.



Stay fearless my friends, 


Jeff Nelsen
Jeff Nelsen


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