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The 12 Most Important Lessons to Learn Before Your 30s

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The 12 Most Important Lessons to Learn Before Your 30s

I look back at my life and I certainly wouldn’t want to go back to my teenage years – too much awkwardness. My 20’s sure were a lot of fun and then, as I approached 30, I got nervous. I wondered what I was doing with my life and what I’d actually accomplished during college, other than being a three-year running beer pong champion. But now that I’m in my 30s, I have to say this is great. I’m loving it!

Rather than focusing on what hasn’t happened focus on what has! These are lessons that everyone should learn before entering their 30s. By learning these lessons you’ll set yourself up for some fabulous years in your 30’s.

1. Know Your Way Around the Kitchen

Ramen and takeout were fine for your college days, but you don’t want to be doing this every night anymore. If you aren’t sure where to start, ask a friend who has mastered the art of creating delicious eats in the kitchen to give you a few tips. Or you can get a few of your best pals together and take a cooking class. If you’d rather learn right from your own kitchen, or if there aren’t any classes available in your area, consider taking an online cooking class instead.

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2. Have a Better Understanding About Permanence

It seems like the number of people with tattoos nowadays is far surpassing those without ink. If you are considering getting a tattoo, be sure it’s something you are prepared to live with forever. If you decide it’s what you want, make sure you give thought to the placement of your new ink. Getting one that isn’t easily covered by business attire may hinder future job opportunities.

3. Be Knowledgeable About Insurance Coverage

Nothing sounds more adult than insurance, right? You don’t have to be an expert on the subject, but it’s important for you to familiarize yourself with what kinds of insurance you might need throughout your life. If you’re renting, you’ll need renters insurance and then it will change to home insurance when you take that step. Other types of insurance that are important are health, life, and possibly auto, if you have a car. It may be overwhelming at first, but there are insurance experts who can help you compare and learn about the different policies.

4. Know How to Speak Your Mind

It may not have been easy to speak up when you were in a lecture hall in college, but you’re past that now. Before reaching the third decade in your life, you should be able to speak up in meetings. Sure, it may be scary and people may disagree with what you have to say, but it’s important to develop your own voice and believe in what you have to say.

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5. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Quit comparing yourself to those around you. It means nothing if you aren’t in the same place professionally or personally as someone the same age – or younger – than you. We are all walking individual paths, and our journeys cannot possibly look the same. Be confident in the path your life is taking and, if you want to change something, take action to do so.

6. Learn to Love Yourself

I know this is easier said than done. I remember wondering if I’d ever learn to love my thighs and, to be honest, I’m still working on that. But I certainly am learning how to embrace my quirks and flaws and I hope you can do the same. Once you do, you’ll see how those things make you who you are who you are is pretty great. It’s the uniqueness that makes people interesting and, as cheesy as it may sound, there’s no one else out there like you. Enjoy that individuality in yourself and be proud of it. That positive energy will certainly radiate from you and make people have that same love and admiration for you.

7. When it Comes to Alcohol, Everything in Moderation

In your 20’s, this rule certainly doesn’t seem to apply, but now you’ve wised up a bit and know it should. Alcohol is like salt – it adds to a good meal, but it’s not wise (or good for your body) to add it to everything. Your ability to party all night and still arrive at work the next morning is less impressive than it was at 22.

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8. Have a Handle on Your Finances

Don’t panic. I’m not saying you should have an abundance of money, but you should know how to create and stick to a budget. I also hope you know how to balance your checkbook and, hopefully, pay off your credit card on time so you aren’t spending your hard earned money on late fees and interest. There are lots of apps you can use to help you manage your finances straight from your smartphone. Download a few and get started, if you haven’t already.

9. Know How to Do Things For Yourself

You don’t always need to call the repairman. There are many small household tasks you can accomplish yourself for a fraction of the cost. Thanks to YouTube, you can find how-to videos to guide you through most home repairs. Many home improvement stores hold free seminars on how to do simple repair tasks as well. Not only will you save yourself some cash, you’ll gain the satisfaction of having accomplished something you didn’t think you could do.

10. Start to Eat Healthy

This one goes back to our first point. If you’re cooking at home more, you’re more likely to eat healthier. Having a healthy and well-balanced diet will pay off for you in the long run. But we certainly don’t mean you can’t indulge in a cupcake now and then. In fact, we encourage it, because hey – you’ve got to live life, too.

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11. Speak Another Language

So, if you’re almost 30 and haven’t done this one, don’t panic. Just know that now’s the time to start. You can expand your vocabulary at a local community college or by using one of the many online language tools. Not only will this give you a good reason to travel to a new place to put your new skill to use, but it will make you more marketable in the workplace.

12. Take Risks with Your Heart

It may get broken, but you may also find worlds of wonder that you never imagined possible. Putting yourself out there in love can bring you the one you spend your life with or it can bring you great stories to tell down the road. Either way, the risk is worth it. In the end, success is rarely counted by the money we have in the bank but by the riches of our hearts.

If you’re approaching your 30th birthday, I wish you happy birthday and welcome you to this great time in our lives. And, if you’re in your 30’s, what other life lesson advice do you have to add to my list?

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Featured photo credit: Birthday Party via istockphoto.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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