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15 Signs You’re Doing Better You Think You Are

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15 Signs You’re Doing Better You Think You Are

It is perfectly normal to get to a point where you feel stuck and feel the need to regroup. You have to arrive at that period in life where you assess the choices you’ve made/are making, the lifestyle you live and the company you keep at some point. If mankind had not at one point wondered “how can we make it better?” you’d not be reading this post.

We are all our worst critics, especially when it comes to judging how we measure up against what we initially set out to do. We don’t keep in mind that success is not the end goal, but a journey to something bigger than yourself. Even if you haven’t accomplished one thing on your bucket list this year, you’re doing better than you think you are.

Don’t write yourself off just yet. Here’s a checklist to measure how close you really are- even when you can’t see it.

1.You are more confident than you use to be

Confidence is defined as “the feeling or belief that one can have faith in or rely on someone or something”. Confidence is not about walking tall and bold in a room or bringing more to the table, it’s an unshaken faith and trust in one’s ability to overcome challenges when experiencing uncertainty. When you choose to step out of your comfort zone and take calculated risks, whilst trusting that you can and you will, you access the kind of confidence that can only be gained through learning from experience.

2.You don’t fall for the #Hype (#FOMO)

The #HYPE is that “#IT” thing or latest thing everybody else is doing, just because that’s what everybody else is doing. Some people don’t even bother to ask themselves, “why do I want/like that?” they just know that, at this point in time, they should be into it.

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When you’ve matured, you know yourself more and you’re able to discern what doesn’t speak to you. Then you can shift all your attention, focus and commitment to mastering and strengthening the best version of yourself. Being at a place or doing something you were not called to do automatically compromises you- and acting in this way means that you will always be inferior to someone who is in their natural habitat.

3.You’ve overcome your approval addiction

Approval addiction is the need to have other people validate you. Determining your life status based on the number of likes you can pull on Instagram and doing things to please people you wouldn’t like otherwise are examples of approval addiction.

We’ve all, at some point, done things only to please and get validation from others. But you are now at a stage where the only people you want to please are the ones who matter (i.e. yourself and your loved ones).

4. You are more responsive than reactive

You’ve stopped having fits, throwing tantrums, panicking and dramatizing everything that happens to you. Being reactive is a trait that means throwing in the towel, throwing a pity party, victimizing yourself, and giving up when things haven’t worked out.

People who are reactive let things happen to them.

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Responsive people ask questions like: why? How? And what?

Through being responsive, you allow yourself to feel the pain, but also understand the need for analysis. You are less likely to be swayed by other people’s actions and opinions; you don’t hold things people have done against them but you know to keep your distance for safety measures.

5. You’ve stopped waiting on people

You just go ahead and do it your damn self.

6. You have a handful of friends who can describe you in three words off the top of their heads

These are people you rely on, they are a good support structure and they see you through most situations. This is not family, family is by default. We’re talking about friends that you’ve chosen, you’ve made a good enough impression on them, and you have been so worthwhile in their lives that they have decided (with no inherent obligation or responsibility to you) you are worth them investing their hearts and time into a relationship with you.

7. You know the difference between savings, retirement and investments

You are no financial expert but you’ve gotten the basics of life and work and money down, just so that you know what is absolutely necessary for your future.

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8. You are sooooo over proving them wrong

You know, proving your haters wrong, revenge on the people who’ve hurt you, wanting to show the nay sayers that it can be done… What a draining, pointless and counterproductive exercise.

This kind of attitude evolves from the wrong energy and can cloud your judgement through fear that they might be right. Now you do things because:

a) you genuinely want to and you really love it and b), its the most rewarding and fulfilling thing for you and it’s all you want to do.

If they said you shouldn’t’ write because writers make no money, so your every day is committed to proving the wrong, how much creativity springs from that? Maybe a manuscript or two featuring the vilest characters and soapie drama, but other than that? Hate and resentment.

If you, however, write because that’s what you were called to do and you draw your inspiration from that gift that no one can take from you, you’ll go so much further and live in a very fruitful way.

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9. You are so over arriving late, being disorganized and unprepared

You understand the principle and importance of punctuality. So you don’t waste your time and you don’t waste other people’s time. You plan ahead for all your meetings and you organize yourself accordingly. That is true “adulting” and you know that it’s a habit worth mastering

10. You can organize a report in Word, graphs in Excel and present using PowerPoint

This is because you’ve actually been involved in projects that required these skills and you have once in your life had to present your findings on research that you did, whether it was for investors in your new start up, or a job report, or thesis.

11. You’re learning a new language

This is a good thing. You are open minded and you want to expand your horizons. You know the benefits of being bilingual and you have an interest in other cultures.

12. You can say good things about your least favorite person behind their back

Ah, the true test of character. This matters most because it says more about you than it does about the other person. When you have dignity you have no business tearing others down or giving a bad report on someone who is not there to defend themselves. You respect people by respecting yourself and self-respect does not involve dragging other people’s reputations down into the mud.

13. You have good tendencies

The general vibe about you is that you are reliable, kind, harmless, fun, loving and people get along with you. This does not mean that you go out of your way to please people but you are conscious of the impression you give and you try to be accommodating enough so as to make meeting you pleasant and worthwhile.

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14. You are so much more grateful

You don’t do comparisons as much, so you’re not as envious and spiteful. You realize just how blessed you are and when you lack you’re thankful whilst working towards the things you want, never neglecting what you have been blessed with. You know that there are people who don’t have what you have and you don’t take your health for granted.

15. You are the right person

Right person for the job, right person for that life partner, right person to befriend, right person for that dream house, right person to achieve those goals, right person to be at this point in time. You’ve just realized that you are not foolish for having those goals, because you don’t need what you thought you needed: a million dollar idea, more money, more education, more experience. You just need to develop and grow what’s been planted inside you to go forth and create the life you’ve dreamed about living.

More by this author

Kayiba Mpoyi

Writer by birth

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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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