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12 Choices Everyone Should Make When Turning 30

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12 Choices Everyone Should Make When Turning 30

I used to imagine that I would be an “old” man when I turned 30. Now that I’ve crossed the 3-0 line, I think the opposite. I have a refreshed vigor for life and look forward to what will be coming in the next decade. Naturally, some things changed when I turned 30. I remember waking up at 5 am on my birthday and taking a walk around the block. I wanted to set a good tone for my new chapter in life.

In this post, I’d like to share a little more about the changes and realizations that come when turning 30. Here they are:

1. Never give up on your passions and dreams, without neglecting people you love.

I dreamed that I would have a million dollars in the bank and be married with three kids right now. None of that is true at the moment. My life path has led me to more clarity about who I am and what I want to do in this world. Turning 30 also turned the switch on my focus. However, this focus had to be balanced with the relationships fostered over the years.

Rather than putting passions to the side, use your new network and resources to really dive in deeper. More importantly, don’t forget about the people around you. They need to know that you love them. A good way to do this is to let them engage your passions with you.

How will you use these resources to manifest what brings meaning to your life?

2. Travel more, but keep driving toward being debt free.

I moved to China in my 20s and took a boatload of credit card and student loan debt with me. Some say I am crazy. For me, it could have been one of the smartest moves I made. I was able to realize a childhood dream of living in China. I also leveraged the lower cost of living to work and pay down my credit card debt. I now have a plan in place for paying down never-ending student loans. Aggressive is the only way to go.

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Take a big-picture look at your finances. Decide how much you need to make a steady, aggressive payment against them. After you make the plan, it really boils down to sticking with it over the long run.

3. It’s time to trade in the B-52 shots for more B-12 Vitamins.

After a long work week, I really do appreciation the time of dolce far niente (the sweetness of doing nothing) that I learned from watching the movie Eat, Pray, Love. I used to laugh at older friends that slowly disappeared from the the Friday-night happy hour. Now I have become one of them. Looking forward to doing nothing has become so sweet. However, this doesn’t mean getting lazy. We have to also change up the food that we eat so our brain stays keen and active.

Spend more time eating more of those superfoods that you read about online. It may take a few sacrifices to get to a good routine, but you’ll feel better and have more energy.

4. Be more intentional about your fitness, AND don’t forget the recovery plan for the day after.

It’s no secret that my metabolism has shifted to a lower gear. One day I decided to go for an intense workout plan — like when I was on the basketball team in high school. What I didn’t realize about turning 30 was the amount of recovery time needed from my over-intense workout session. I had aches in places I didn’t know were muscles. As I pushed through maintaining a steady routine, I found that I could get back in shape. It just took a little longer than I expected.

Staying physically healthy will become more important. Getting started is not easy. Remember that the pain that comes will make you stronger.

5. Try being a minimalist and see what you learn physically and mentally.

For one year, I got rid of my bed, excess clothes, and anything else deemed “unnecessary.” I wanted to try minimizing my life down to two suitcases so I could travel anywhere. I learned that there were many things that I kept around for sentimental value, but didn’t really need.

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Take a look at your stuff and slowly start to declutter. This can be in your physical environment and your mind. You’ll learn something about yourself in the process.

6. Despite knowing many people, they all might not be the best for you.

I started focusing my “inner circle” of friends. Mostly, because I didn’t have enough time to hang around everyone. Also, I wanted to spend more time with people that were passionate about doing things that have meaning in their lives.

Once you find what is important and has meaning to you, take a look at the people you are around. Who we hang around influences what we do, where we go, what we think, etc. Take a look and decide what works best for you.

7. Start saying “no” more than you say “yes.”

As I get older, I find that I need to say “no” more than I say “yes” to things. There are many things that pique my interest, but I won’t have the time and energy to do everything at once. This goes back to point one: check that you are doing things that are in line with your values and purpose. There is a gentle art to saying “no” without coming off as an *sshole

8. Although you are super busy, find time to contribute to something greater than yourself.

I’m trying to build my own business at the moment. It takes up a lot of my time. We will always have more than enough things to do. It is important to keep in mind that life is not all about me. Our time on this earth is limited, and if we wait until later to start, it will probably never happen. Carve out some time in the schedule and make a contribution somewhere, to something.

Do something for the next generation. You’ll be glad you did.

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9. Learn to forgive yourself and others so you can keep moving forward in love.

Life happens. I know I’ve made decisions that I now look back on and see how stupid they were. People around me have also done some things that didn’t resonate with my core. Should I continue letting it bother me?

Pain and regret is a heavy weight on our life. Keeping that emotional pain inside is an even greater burden. It’s time to make amends with the things that have brought you pain in the past. By releasing this weight from your subconscious mind, you can free yourself and move forward in love.

10. Although you resist it, you are probably becoming like your parents. Embrace it. Talk to them.

My younger self wanted to figure out things on my own. I was trying to work through life changes as they came. As I meditated and reflected on the things that challenged me, I found that my tendencies didn’t fall far from the same ones my parents used to tell me about.

Your parents have some wisdom about life. It’s worth it to listen and then decide for yourself what you want to do with it.

11. It’s okay that you don’t understand why the youngsters like that new app.

When Snapchat came out, I didn’t understand why anyone would use it. I still don’t use it. There is going to be more and more technology emerging. Trying to keep up with everything will make you go crazy.

12. Listen to the “should’s” and then listen to what your heart says.

“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” — Jim Rohn

As I turned 30, everyone was giving me advice about what I should be doing. There were opinions about how much money I should be making, where I should live, when I should get married, etc. All of this advice is given with good intention. What mattered most was what where my heart was directing me. I decided to start making decisions for myself that were in line with my values and life direction.

Even if you don’t have a life plan, consider the direction that you are going.

Take everything written above with a grain of salt. It’s also just one post-30-year-old’s opinion for you to consider.

Featured photo credit: Rawpixel.com via shutterstock.com

More by this author

Paris Law

Life Coach & Designer

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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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