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9 Ways Mentally Strong People Retain Their Personal Power

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9 Ways Mentally Strong People Retain Their Personal Power

We can look at different aspects of someone’s personality to try and gauge what makes them seem to radiate power as soon as they walk into a room or during discussions and stressful situations, but the one thing that stands out the most is a distinct psychological fortitude. For a mentally strong person, projecting an aura of confidence and toughness seems to come naturally, as if they aren’t even aware of it – but there is a method to it.

There are a number of things that these people do that help them firmly cement their high social status and establish themselves as trustworthy leaders, skilled experts and people in possession of admirable characteristics. We will be looking at the 9 main ways of keeping your personal power, even when faced with great adversity and toxic people.

1. They don’t worry about what others think

Don’t get me wrong, being able to empathize with others and accurately gauge how they feel and think are essentials traits for anyone who wants to become successful, but you don’t want to try to please everyone all the time. Understanding people, social norms and proper protocol is one thing, but you should never allow yourself to make decisions solely based on what others might think. Mentally strong people aren’t afraid to be themselves and make their own decisions, and that’s what gives them power.

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2. They don’t wait for others to solve their problems

One of the main characteristics of mentally strong and powerful people is that they are doers. These people are confident and even a little boastful, but they can back up their claims, and they are active – they solve problems, jump on opportunities and aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty. This gives them a good amount of self-reliance, which in turn makes them incredibly resistant to attempts by others to take away their power.

3. They admit their shortcoming and continually strive to improve

While some people like to take shortcuts and aren’t above padding up their resumes with fake achievements and presenting themselves as something that they’re not, they are not acting from a place of true power. It is weakness that causes men and women to try to hide their shortcomings from themselves and blatantly lie to others about their skills, knowledge and competence.

To maintain a position of power, you must be able to admit that you have faults, and be willing to work hard on becoming a person that people respect and admire.

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4. They don’t wear their emotions on their sleeve

You cannot hope to retain personal power and project confidence if you keep exploding and throwing temper tantrums every time someone disagrees with you or says something that offends you. If everyone can instantly see that you are happy with something, sad, angry or disinterested, there is no way for you tactfully dominate the situation – in fact, you need to be aware of the things that trigger these emotional responses in you, and work on keeping your cool during heated arguments. This is how you retain a dominant position during an argument, and it’s how you build up a reputation as a level-headed and strong individual.

5. They make an actual effort to stay positive and relaxed

Just as mentally strong people don’t rely on others to solve their problems for them, or for those problems to magically resolve themselves, they also don’t wait around for others to motivate and cheer them up or the universe itself to align just right and give them what they need to be happy. Staying calm, relaxed and positive requires continual effort; anyone can flip out and resort to worrying, but it takes a special kind of mindset to acknowledge the harsh reality and still be able to keep pushing forward. It’s their ability to remain calm and positive, and their resolve to always find some time to relax, that makes these people stand out.

6. They think carefully before they act or speak

We’ve talked a lot about getting things done and trying to learn from mistakes, but that doesn’t mean that you need to be impulsive or actively seek out situations where you will be put on the spot. One of the most important fail-safe mechanisms for keeping your personal power at an admirable level is the ability to keep your mouth shut until you know what you need to say to tip the odds in your favor.

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No matter how emphatic and caring you are, the bottom line is that you need things to work out a certain way for you to be satisfied, and it’s not always going to be in everyone’s best interest that the situation unfolds the way you want it to. This is why you need to take the time to think things through and find the right approach, tone and words before doing or saying something.

7. They have a strong sense of self-worth and are assertive

It’s easy to take someone’s power away if the person does not know their own worth and can’t effectively set boundaries. The main thing is not to give other’s power over you, while at the same time protecting yourself from attacks aimed at eroding aspects of your power and confidence. You don’t have to resort to shouting or offending anyone – you just need to be assertive and unyielding when it comes to your core values. A good negotiator will make a couple of steps back if need be or make compromises, but they will also know when to stand their ground.

8. They leave their ego at home and look for logical solutions

Erratic emotions are only part of the reason why people lose their personal power and the respect of others during difficult social encounters; another big problem is ego-driven decision-making. It’s not always as clear as someone losing their temper, breaking into tears or going on a tirade about how their feelings are hurt, but the ego has a nasty habit of making everything seem personal.

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It is also the main reason why people get into heated arguments and even fistfights over trivial issues, and that is not something that a person that emanates power and confidence will ever do.

9. They create a realistic schedule for themselves

When you’ve covered all the important psychological aspects involved in retaining personal power and can exhibit a good deal of self-control and restraint, without sacrificing your integrity or giving your power away, it’s time to delve into the practical side of things. You can’t accomplish much if you don’t know how to organize your life, and the first step is being honest with yourself.

Be honest about what you can and cannot do, the time it takes to complete certain tasks and the myriad of smaller tasks related to the main one. For example going to the gym involves preparation, driving, changing, warming up, the actual workout, drying off, changing, driving home, a shower, another change of clothes and a post-workout meal. Even if it’s a short 30 minute workout, you won’t be going anywhere for a good hour or two, and you’ll have to schedule around it or potentially do the workout at another time or even tomorrow.

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Some people are more naturally gifted and skilled in the ways of mental toughness, but developing, projecting and protecting your personal power are things that can be learned through lots of practice. As long as you know the right way to do so, you can become mentally strong and take full control of your own life.

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Nemanja Manojlovic

Editor at MyCity Web

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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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