Overcoming shop fright

There's no doubt about it. Being a mystery shopper is rather like being inside a play.

Being a mystery shopper is a lot like being inside a play. Although the ideal mystery shopper is rather objective about the job, there's something a little unnerving about asking for something you wouldn't ask for otherwise or having to visit a shop at an unaccustomed time and take notes, as well as timing things carefully without being identified. It can be nerve wracking even for the most seasoned mystery shoppers.

Fortunately, there are ways to overcoming what Mystery Shopper's Manual calls "shop fright." The best way, just like performing a play or going to a job interview, is to prepare for it mentally. For example, if you were very afraid of going to a particular store to mystery shop, then go there through the same means you would for the assignment. Leave your house at the same time and go to the same places you're supposed to visit during your mystery trip. Try to make things feel as realistic as possible. Eat the same food you plan to eat, and take the same driving route. End your visit at the same time. You should even try to think the same thoughts!

All of this is to familiarize yourself with the emotions you will experience on your real assignment.

Accept and become comfortable with anxiety
The same anxiety you feel and find crippling is actually what many people thrive on: the thrill they feel in their body when they are about to do something exciting. It's about the difference between those who seek and avoid risk. If you are risk averse and still want to enjoy the rush of a good mystery shopping trip, then take the advice of Anxiety Coach and allow yourself to feel anxious. Even work with the anxiety and move with it. Allow this tremendous source of energy to let you focus on your job. Don't push it out but let it be the adrenaline that gets you moving.

Remember that anxiety is often about expectations, so once you're on the job, you will probably feel it less. Another good point to remember is people typically feel their anxiety increase as they go toward the source of fear. It will be at its strongest right before you push the doors to appear "on stage," but very quickly once you begin your job, you will find the anxiety will likely fade away like water vapor. The excess energy will remain and let you work quickly and efficiently.

After a certain amount of time doing this repeatedly, you will find there was nothing to worry about in the first place, and feel less anxious in the future.