The beast known as Approach Anxiety rears it’s ugly head so often that entire techniques are devoted to try and destroy it. The most famous technique is the “Three-second rule.” A technique where you approach a set within 3 seconds of seeing them. By rushing yourself, you don’t give yourself time to fall into the trap of overthinking. However, this technique can and often does backfire when it results in a different problem: Underthinking.
When approaching, you should take enough time to think about good technique. For example, if the 3-second rule results in you charging at a group from behind, startling them, and creating an uncomfortable situation, this is far from desirable. Yes, it’s important to get past your approach anxiety, but you also need to enter the set in a comfortable way. After all, that’s the whole point of an opener – to start a comfortable conversation. From there, you have a good base from which to continue the interaction.
The longer-term ways of dealing with Approach Anxiety fall under the heading: “Inner Game.” Often there’s a feeling of unworthiness or shame associated with approach anxiety that can be dealt with through deep introspective work.
While working on inner game is a healthy way to find the root of the issue, I must stress that you have to get into the field and practice. There is no substitute for this. Remember, if you aren’t in the field approaching, then you cannot truly say you have reduced approach anxiety.
There are techniques for alleviating approach anxiety. Evolve and I use reframing techniques and a system called micro-stepping, all of which are practiced In-field. You have to find and use what works for you, just be careful when selecting and make sure the tools you choose are making things better, not worse.