The decisions we make are often bigger than just ourselves. We have the capacity to influence a friend, a community, and even the world when we start to share our personal experiences with others. Most people don’t even realize the extraordinary impact they make in the lives of those who bear witness to their experience. It’s a remarkable thing. Here are 10 amazing things that happen when you start inspiring others with your own experience.
1. You’ll heal the broken parts of yourself
Everybody is broken in some way or another, but most people want to hid their brokenness. Iyanla Vanzant said, “When you stand and share your story in an empowering way, you heal yourself and you heal others as well.” Keeping your pain, disappointments, and struggles inside doesn’t help you grow. It doesn’t help you heal. Your healing begins when you let out what’s been bottled up inside you. When you share you’re experience with others you’ll start to heal past hurts and disappointments.
2. You’ll find a new purpose
Sharing your experience does not just benefit you. As the quote above says you also heal others. When this happens, your actions take on a whole new meaning. It’s no longer just about accomplishing whatever goal or purpose you set out to achieve. Now, it’s about helping everyone else grow through your story. You will inspire others to write and share their own story.
3. You’ll strengthen your courage muscle
Let’s face it, sharing our lives and vulnerabilities with others is scary. You open yourself up to judgement, ridicule, and negativity. Most people can’t muster the courage to endure the possibility of criticism. When you do you are increasing your courage. Even if every bad thing you thought of happens you realize it’s not that bad. You were courageous and you survived. How freeing. Now you’ll have the muscle to conquer even bigger fears.
4. You’ll hold yourself accountable
When people are watching you and feeling inspired by you, you can’t just slack off. You’ll have to go the distance. This whole thing is better than just you now. Even more so, you don’t want to look like a quitter in front of the very people who look up to you. You’ll learn to hold yourself accountable, because people are counting on you. You’ll learn to give it all you’ve got.
5. You’ll increase your bounce back ability
Everyone hits a snag in the road, but when you’ve inspired others with your story you’ll increase your bounce back ability. You now know there’s purpose in your journey. You’ll have a reason to get back up again. Your reason is all the people who believed in new possibilities for the first time all because their exposure to your story.
6. You’ll increase the quality of your relationships
When you grow you give everyone else around you permission to grow as well. I’ve experienced this myself. When I started to invest in real estate it wasn’t long before coworkers, relatives, and friends were branching out and investing as well. You will single-handedly raise the standard by which people in your life live and thus increase the quality of your relationships.
7. You’ll experience the joy of watching others create their own best life
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “To give is better to receive.” There’s something special about watching people, especially those you love turn their life around. It’s even more amazing to know you played a role in helping them create their best life. When you’re vision for your own life increases, the collective vision of your circle of influence increases as well. And you’ll have a front row seat.
8. You’ll create your own personal cheerleading squad
When you inspire others with your own experience you’ll create a tribe of people cheering you on. They are rooting for you. They want you to succeed so badly, because if you can’t do they’ll lose faith in their own ability. When you win, everybody wins.
9. You’ll inspire yourself again and again
You can’t inspire others without inspiring yourself. When you inspire people to go after their dreams, overcome setbacks and live their best lives you’ll create a pool of inspiration for you to draw from again and again. The inspired become the inspiring.
10. You’ll go further and accomplish more than you imagined
All these amazing things happen to you when you inspire others with your experience. You’ve healed yourself and found new purpose. You’ve strengthened your courage and learned to hold yourself accountable. You have a strong ability to bounce back from any setback. Your relationships and therefore your networks are of higher quality. You have supporters cheering your own. You are constantly inspired and full of joy. With all of this there is nothing you cannot do. You can go further than you ever thought. You can accomplish more than you ever imagined.
In Butterfly Effect: How Your Life Matters, Andy Andrews wrote, “Your actions cannot be hoarded, saved for later, or used selectively. By your hands, millions of lives will be altered.” Perhaps that is the most amazing thing that happens when you inspire others with your experience. You alter millions of lives.
So, don’t hoard your experiences. Don’t save them for later. Don’t share them selectively. When you start to share your experiences with others you will start a ripple effect which alters millions of lives including your own.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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: