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30 Things I Realized About Life Before Turning 30

30 Things I Realized About Life Before Turning 30
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Where does the time go??? The dreaded 30 is just around the corner beckoning at me but instead of looking back and wondering what I could have done, should have done or shouldn’t have done, I choose to celebrate it. I think we take life for granted these days and we dread getting older. Getting older should be a celebration of how far we have come, the achievements we have made and the experiences we have had along the way. We can all agree we are better for it.

There are a few things I have learned on this journey of my life and I put together a list of things that I have come to realize are true and have stood the test of time. Turning 30 does not have to be a dreadful experience it can be an introspective one where you can look back and appreciate the person you have become. So take the leap with me.

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  1. Don’t settle. If it doesn’t make you happy don’t even try. You will end up wasting time that you could have been spending with someone else.
  2. Family comes first. Whether it’s you first family or your second family,  put these people first. They will always have your back.
  3. Friends are more precious than gold. A good friend is priceless. You can have all the things in the world but without people to enjoy them with it can get pretty lonely. You will need good friends more as you get older.
  4. A good reputation is worth everything. People may not like you but they will respect you and from where I’m standing respect gets doors opened for you.
  5. Find something greater than yourself to believe in. No revolution has ever been started without a belief in something greater than ourselves. Whether it is a god or belief system, just find something that centers and grounds you.
  6. Being debt-free is the best thing you could do for yourself. So savor those ramen noodles if you need to but get out of useless debt. If you are not debt-free yet, now is the time to work toward your goal.
  7. Travel when you can. Those are some of the best memories you will have and they make for such great conversation.
  8. Drop your prejudices. You are now old enough to form your own opinions about people without your parent’s influence. The world is such a better place without angry people.
  9. The important decisions don’t have to be made on the fly. Weigh your options, ask for advice and make sound decisions for things that will have a long-term impact on your life.
  10. Create a filter for your thoughts. You can’t allow everything you see or hear to influence you. In the same way, you have to know which things to let in and which ones to discard.
  11. Learn to love your own company. Some people are so afraid to be by themselves but sometimes you need to be alone to truly find yourself.
  12. Invest in your future. Maximize your 401K contribution, have an IRA, or another type of investment. Whichever avenue you choose just invest in your future unless you want to work forever.
  13. Make a change if you don’t like your job. If you don’t like what you do for a living now would be the time to make that change.
  14. Have one person in your life who will tell it like it is. We all need a reality check once in a while, we also need a voice of reason.
  15. Take care of your health. Exercise often and stay fit. See your doctor for that annual check up, you pay insurance after all USE it. Take care of your teeth. I can’t imagine having to wear dentures so visit your dentist at least two times a year.
  16. Spend your money wisely. Spend it on things that you need. Don’t be the type of person that has to have the latest model of everything. Is it really necessary? In that same line of thinking make sure you have a few nice things. You only have one life to live and this is no rehearsal so don’t save the best for last. You might not be around to enjoy it.
  17. People’s opinions are just that, opinions. As I said above have a filter for the things you let it and people’s opinions should not change who you are.
  18. Life isn’t fair, it just isn’t. Some people will always have more than you have and they’ll have better things. Teach yourself to be content with what you have. You will be so much happier for it.
  19. Be grateful for what you have. Nothing more to say just take a moment and just be grateful. Think of that song.
  20. Learn to let things go. Don’t hold on to your anger and to grudges. Anger and hatred are consuming and not in a good way. They eat at you and make you a version of you that is not pleasant. Forgive and move on.
  21. Never pay full price for anything. This is a fun one but I don’t ever pay full price for anything unless I can’t help it. I am not a couponer but I have bought $300 suits for less than $50 so…I definitely hate paying full price!
  22. Don’t take yourself too seriously. No one else is.
  23. Learn from your experiences good and bad. Don’t repeat the mistakes you made in your twenties over and over again. There is a name for that – foolishness. If something worked the first time then there is no point trying to re-invent the wheel keep doing what you are doing if its working.
  24. Don’t make decisions when you are angry. I have made big mistakes when I have made decisions when I wasn’t in a reasonable state of mind.
  25. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you deserve. I learned this from experience. If you think you deserve a bigger raise than what is offered, make sure you say it. The worst that could happen is they say no BUT they could say yes.
  26. You can’t make everyone happy so stop trying too hard. There are people who will never appreciate you as you are. You are not perfect so quit trying.
  27. Time is your greatest asset. It is the one thing you will never have more of. Your days are numbered, remember? So make the best of the time that you have.
  28. Be kind to people. Extend yourself even when you don’t want to. It will make you feel so much better. I promise.
  29. Know who you are and don’t let people try to define you. If you stand firmly in what you believe people learn to respect you. It doesn’t matter how trivial it may seem, when you stand for something you won’t fall for anything.
  30. NO is a full sentence. You don’t need to qualify it or explain yourself. If you don’t want to do something or whatever the case may be just say NO and leave it at that.

Featured photo credit: Long Road/paraflyer via imcreator.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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