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8 Signs You’ve Discovered Your Calling

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8 Signs You’ve Discovered Your Calling

Take a moment and take a deep breath, turn off the distractions and prepare yourself with a sense of excitement and positive expectancy because this is going to be an epic post taking you to the energetic fabric of who you are and why you have been called to Earth at this time.

Every human being experiences the Calling. Every moment is a calling, and as Oprah says, “If you’re here breathing, you have a contribution to make.” No matter what background, age, color, creed, religion or gender, we have all been called to Earth at this time for the authentic expression of who we are and the gifts we are here to give.

The Calling is sometimes thought to be associated with a career. Other times it’s thought to be associated with an adventure. Not to be mistaken with wanting and searching for the next thing (which is the game of the Mind), the Calling is a infinite wisdom that’s always there and never ends. At the core of it, the Calling is a knowing of what is true to us to feel and do, and it’s associated with every aspect of our life. Everything from the people we meet to the travels we embark on to the mentors that guide us to our natural gifts to the dreams we have, the miracles we experience and the contributions we make.

So, how do you know if you’ve discovered your calling? It took flight for me in the form of downloads every night from 9 months of vivid, lucid dreams. For others the heroic journey began with an unexpected person coming into their lives. For Harry Potter it showed up with his house flooded with tons of letters delivered by wise owls from Hogwarts. If you feel like you’re living your calling and if you feel like you’ve been struggling to find it (which is another game of the Mind), these 8 signs will serve you in knowing that you’re living your life congruently with the Calling.

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1. You have had an irrational urge involving a quest

Joseph Campbell describes the first phase of The Hero’s Journey as the Call To Adventure. It’s a setting where the hero (you) is living in an ordinary world, monotonously going about life in the same way, and often times wishing for more. At some point for us in discovering our calling comes the urge to venture out into the unknown world… in some sort of quest. For me throughout the 9 months of vivid, lucid dreams, I had the urge to leave the traditional academic world for a one-way ticket journey around the world focused on mentoring, adventure, extraordinary experiences, self-education, mastery and having soulful connections with the people I’d meet. For Peak Performance Strategist Tony Robbins, this came as an unexpected gift one of the worst experiences of his life where his father walked out on his family after feeling worthless because a man delivered a Thanksgiving basket for them. From that day to now, Tony Robbins has created a foundation that feeds millions of people every year during Thanksgiving with basket brigades.

2. It hurts you not to act on this irrational urge

Generally after hearing the call to adventure, many of us refuse the call. “Oh, I can’t do that. That’s crazy. That’s wishful thinking. Someday.” Those are all excuses to keep our sense of constancy in living an ordinary life as opposed to embracing uncertainty to live an extraordinary life. To not live purposefully, authentically, and heed the Calling is painful… and the only way we are able to survive with the pain is to numb it and distract ourselves — through alcohol and drugs, excessive television use, smartphone addictions, monotonous lifestyles, problems and limiting stories, and surrounding ourselves with others committed to mediocrity. There’s nothing wrong with anything mentioned above, and if we’re honest with ourselves… it hurts us at our souls to play small in this gift of life.

After having my first dozen vivid, lucid dreaming experiences, part of me got very excited to begin pursuing the messages of the Calling; another part of me ignored the call and wanted to continue in the traditional academic system that I felt was eating away at my soul… out of the fear of not being accepted by loved ones and others if I left this expected path they wanted to see me pursue. That winter of college, I went to Argentina and had a phenomenal month with my cousin. I shared with her many of my stories and dreams of exploring the world with this hunger for personal development. She was enthusiastic with what I shared and encouraged me to go through with it. I said I was going to leave college to pursue my passion, and when I returned I refused the call. What happened next was I got sick with salmonella for almost three weeks, and then a more intense case of strep throat for nearly another two weeks. Missing many of my classes, I went to the doctor’s office on campus and asked for advice. He recommended I take a medical leave of absence. The light of passion flickered in my eyes. I took him up on his offer and within minutes of leaving his office, all of my strep throat symptoms disappeared and I was enlivened with a new sense of passion, energy, vibrancy, inspiration, joy and being empowered.

3. You find yourself more embracing of uncertainty with open arms

The Calling does not follow logic nor rational thought, however it makes perfect sense. When engaged with the Calling, we become more trusting in the unknown; we trust in our experiences, in the timing of things, and in the people we meet as if everything is to shape us and guide our soul to who we are meant to become and what we are meant to contribute. In the beginning of The Matrix, Neo is at his work when he receives a call from Morpheus, a person who he has yet to meet and who asks for his trust and guidance away from the agents. Neo participates with embracing the uncertainty of where he’s going as Morpheus gives him step by step directions.

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Another case is with Oprah’s story about surrendering to God in receiving The Color Purple. She wanted the part so much, knowing she had been called for it spiritually, and as she tried to control her outcomes she was rejected… until she surrendered.

Kris Carr is another phenomenal example of embracing uncertainty. She was diagnosed with a stage 4 cancer that was deemed untreatable, and she went on to create the documentary Crazy Sexy Cancer. She still has the cancer, it’s still untreatable, and she continues to live an extraordinary life filled with passion, joy, fun and inspiration, and has gone on to be a voice for health, wellness and living an amazing life regardless of circumstance.

4. You have mentors that guide, teach and support you for your journey

When Tony Robbins was starting out in the personal development industry, Jim Rohn was his mentor. For Oprah Winfrey it was Maya Angelou. For Mark Zuckerberg, it was Steve Jobs. Richard Branson accredits David Beevers and Sir Freddie Laker as significant mentors in his life.

In today’s day and age, our mentors are not limited to only showing up in person. We can find the book that inspires us, YouTube channels and online blogs that teach us just what we need to know for where we are and where we’re heading. For me it was a few books, including The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, The 4-Hour Work Week and The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferris, and The Education Of Millionaires by Michael Ellsberg. I actually drew a water color painting of myself reading two books, one with an orange cover and the other with a blue; this was weeks before I even knew about both of Tim’s books, and I was shocked at the coincidence of discovering them after creating the water color painting.

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The key is that you will find the right people at the right time to support you on your journey, and they will find you as well (as you’ll support them on their journey) with grace when you’re living with the Calling.

5. You have heightened sensitivity, intuition and awareness

Intuition is what helps us understand something immediately with the Mind’s reasoning. You’ll just have clearer insights, a strong sense of knowing of what is true and where to go. We are all intuitive at our Soul, and the Calling is an urgent invitation to live our Soul’s journey. As we embrace the Calling, intuition along with heightened sensitivity and awareness becomes more accessible as tools to guide us to fulfill our Calling.

Sometimes this comes with a gut feeling like you’ve known someone all your life, and maybe you have only met them once. This has happened to me a number of times and I’ve taken it as a great sign to be more curious and see the wisdom we can share with each other… and it’s been an extraordinary experience every time. Sometimes you might notice your heightened sensitivity when you’re in a coffee shop full of noise, and in the midst of all the activity you notice a conversation relevant to what you’re doing right now in your life.

Steve Jobs accredits his intuition as more powerful than his intellect in creating the extraordinary technology he has in the world. He’s famously known for having said, “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow know what you truly want to become.” Now you don’t need to go to India, nor take psychedelics to experience intuition. We all have it. All you need to do is call for it, ask for what’s real, and pay attention. Heightened sensitivity, intuition and awareness are all gifts for you to experience to hear the Calling and live your legend.

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6. You notice that time seems to fade away

When you’ve discovered your calling, you’ll notice that time fades away in the mystery, joy, excitement, wonder, awe, passion and thrill of being alive. On my journey around the world, I constantly forgot about time. Sometimes I felt like things were lasting for hours when it was just minutes, and vice versa. When Oprah spoke about surrendering to the higher organizing power and experiencing the ebb and flow of life, that is living in sync with the Calling in a sense of timelessness, and yet experiencing perfect timing… all the time.

7. You notice serendipity and synchronicity more clearly

Serendipity has been defined as good luck in making unexpected and fortunate discoveries accidentally. Synchronicity is a concept defined by Carl Jung, which means that events are meaningful coincidences. In mathematics, when two angles are to fit perfectly together, it’s called a coincidence. In life, when things click together, it makes perfect sense. If you listened to Oprah’s story about surrendering from the link above, you’ll hear how she noticed the strong coincidence when she was praying to be in the movie The Color Purple and got a call from a casting agency for a movie called Moon Song (which later became The Color Purple). She was to act for a major role as Sofia, who is married to Harpo. She realized that Harpo is her name spelled backwards and was stunned at the coincidence of that.

When you’ve discovered your calling, these phenomena become more transparent in daily life. In fact, they become guiding messages to keep you on purpose.

8. Your life becomes centered on growth and contribution

The purpose of the Calling is to guide you on your personal Soul’s journey. It’s about evolution and contribution of the gifts you have to bring to humanity, and perhaps the greatest gift you can give is yourself. As you grow, evolve and change, humanity grows, evolves and changes… and it can happen at the level of your lineage, family, community, and at the level of the world based on the depth and width of your contributions.
I wish these 8 signs have given you the clarity you needed to know when you’ve been aligned with the Calling, and have inspired you to live congruent with the Calling, so that you can live and contribute soulfully.

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Now, these are just 8 signs that you’ve discovered your calling. There are plenty more, and from reading this… have you been living your calling? If not, I invite you to now give up the Mind’s quest for constantly searching for the next best thing and claim the destiny that’s calling you right now. It’s simple, Oprah said it… just surrender to it.

Featured photo credit: Warner Bros Inc. via tiffanymetzger.files.wordpress.com

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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