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12 Signs You’re Doing Better Than You Think You Are

12 Signs You’re Doing Better Than You Think You Are
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Sometimes in life, we become so focused on what we haven’t achieved that we lose sight of what we have. It’s easy to forget about all the progress we’ve made, and be discouraged by all the things in our lives that are going wrong or ‘missing’.

But maybe it’s time to start taking pride in our progress. Maybe it’s time that we recognize all the accomplishments we’ve made and the true significance of these accomplishments.

That being said, here are 12 signs that you’re doing better than you think you are.

1. You know what you don’t want.

We spend so much of our lives searching for what we truly want. The life partner that will make our lives more meaningful. The career that will make us more fulfilled. We look at those around us and wonder why we haven’t yet achieved all that they have.

But we don’t have to base our lives on other people’s schedules. It’s okay to take your time to figure out what you don’t want. It’s okay to narrow down your choices.

It’s okay to discover what you want through finding out what you don’t. You want to be happy, not just content – and you deserve that.

2. You take responsibility for your life.

We’ve all experienced some form of pain in our lives. Maybe we’ve suffered heartbreak, death of a loved one, financial hardship, or problems with our families and friends.

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We can’t erase those horrible experiences, but we can choose to move forward from them. If you’ve realized that your future is in your hands, then you’re taking responsibility for your life and what happens to you.

You understand that you can’t change the past but you can change what happens from now on.

3. You know the value of genuine relationships.

At one point or another, you’ve probably surrounded yourself with negative, toxic people. People who bring out the worst in you. But now you’ve let those people go.

You understand that it’s not about the quantity of people that you know – but the quality of the relationships. You know that you deserve to spend your time with people who deserve your time.

You refuse to be around people who bring you down and who are unable to share your happiness and you know that you deserve so much better.

4. You know there’s more to life than material possessions.

It’s so easy to get caught up in trying to find happiness through objects, but such happiness doesn’t last. You don’t need to buy the latest products to be happy. Likewise, you don’t need the most expensive clothes or house.

If you know that happiness doesn’t lie in material possessions, then you’re placing more importance in the relationships in your life. You know that a homemade birthday card from a friend can be much more meaningful than an expensive gift from the shop.

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5. You don’t let the little things bother you.

We all get upset from time to time, and for different reasons. Regardless of what the problems are, no matter how big or small, our feelings are always valid. However, we need to remind ourselves that life really is short.

If you don’t let the little things bother you, then you’re giving yourself more time to experience all the good that life has to offer. You’re bouncing back sooner and finding the maturity to move on.

You’re making the conscious decision to choose happiness over anger.

6. You don’t let pride get in the way of asking questions.

We all need help sometimes. Naturally, we all want to grow and to expand our knowledge. If you find yourself struggling to ask questions, don’t let embarrassment and shame talk you out of it.

There’s no such thing as a stupid question. If you already find yourself asking questions when you’re unsure, be proud that you do. You understand and value achieving growth through learning.

7. You know that life is about balance.

It’s easy to struggle with the work-life balance, but you know where your priorities lie. You may not always get it right, but you try your best and that’s what matters. You do what you can to spend time with your family and friends.

You do what you can for yourself and for your career, and you do what you can to look after yourself physically, emotionally and mentally.

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8. You’re grateful for what you do have.

There’s a lot in your life that could improve, but you choose to be a ‘glass half full’ person. You know that there are people in your life that you can depend on and who care about you. You know that your house may not be the most extravagant, but you’re grateful that you have a roof over your head.

Some people aren’t blessed with the basic necessities that you have and you can appreciate that fact. You’re grateful that you have the freedom to do what you want with your life and although you may not ‘have it all’, you’re grateful for all that you do have.

9. You’ve picked yourself up after challenges.

We’ve all climbed mountains we thought we’d never surpass. We’ve been confronted with challenges that have tested us on so many levels.

Yet, here we are, still standing. If you’ve fallen down and picked yourself up, recognize the amount of strength that it took. Acknowledge that you’ve overcome so many adversities you once thought you couldn’t and how you’re so much stronger than you knew.

10. You’ve made progress in an area of your life.

You may not be the best at a specific skill but you’re trying your best. You’ve made improvements and that’s what’s important. Don’t spend time comparing yourself to others – you are your own unique person with your own unique skills and talents.

If you’re making consistent progress, then give yourself a pat on the back, because you’re already heading in the right direction and that’s what matters.

11. You add meaning to the people in your life.

Sometimes, when we’re feeling down about life and all the goals we haven’t achieved, we might forget the impact that we’re having on people’s lives. You might not have the career that you want or achieved the goals that you’ve planned yet, but you’re making people smile. You’re making them laugh. You’re making their lives brighter just by being in it.

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Even if you don’t realize it, you’re likely adding much value to the lives of others just by being there. Paying your friend a compliment may not seem like much to you, but it could be making all the difference to them. I

t could be the thing that gives them hope when they need it the most.

12. You’re striving to become a better person.

Life is a learning curve. We don’t need to be perfect. We don’t need to live free from mistakes. If you are determined to improve yourself and to become better, then you are already halfway there.

You may not be happy with your career, your relationships, with who you are, but you still have the chance and the opportunity to have a brighter future. If you are doing all you can to become better, then maybe you’re doing better than you think you are.

Featured photo credit: Attractive Hipster Male Relaxing Near River via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

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

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