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12 Things That Happen When You Say Yes More

12 Things That Happen When You Say Yes More
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Have you ever found yourself sitting quietly in a group of friends and realized that you’re the one who has nothing to say? Or you have the Sunday Fear because, just like every Sunday, you have to go to work tomorrow? Deep inside you know that you’ve got something offer, you believe it, even — but you have no idea how to start discovering that secret version of you, the potential you have, the key to the doors you’ve so far been unable to unlock.

As a human, you’re the only creature on the planet capable of actively developing yourself. Every time you do something new you grow and however rich life has been so far there is so much more to come as long as you give yourself a chance.

Saying yes opens a door for something new to happen and if saying yes becomes a habit far fewer opportunities will slide by unnoticed. In fact, saying yes more will leave you with so many options that you’ll also have to say no more, but let’s concentrate on the glass half full. The things you say yes to are the things that happen, the memories you create and the experiences that will make you who you are, and as soon as you begin you’ll find yourself on a journey that will shape the rest of your life.

Here are the 12 things that will happen when you say yes more.

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1. You become more interesting

It might take a little time, but when you have a different experience to talk about every time you catch up with your friends not only do you have new tales to tell, but as time goes on you will become more rounded, articulate and knowledgeable. Not only will your friends wonder what happened to you, but slowly they’ll become infected with your enthusiasm to do new things.

2. You realize the kindness of strangers

Stranger danger is a cold war myth. You’re a stranger to most people and you’re not so bad, so give everyone else the benefit of the doubt. Saying yes will mean you find yourself in brand new surroundings with people you’ve never met before, and more than likely you’ll need some help at some point. Just when you’re feeling down and feeling like maybe this yes thing wasn’t such a good idea, something good will happen and it’s likely to come in the form of a helping hand. Strangers are just friends waiting to happen and if you approach life with gusto, see color in the grayest of moments and start to push your limits you’ll be amazed at who you meet.

3. Your confidence skyrockets

Remember the last thing you said yes to? And the the one before that? Of course you do! You’re still alive — in fact, you feel more alive — and suddenly you’re not just waiting for opportunities, you’re creating them. As saying yes to cool stuff becomes second nature you’ll talk to more people which in turn will lead to new offers and ideas. You’ll feel less scared than ever before, more willing to take risks and as your field of vision opens up your eyes will shine brighter.

4. Failure becomes OK

There will always be moments when you’re scared to fail or that people tell you that you’re not en route to success, but even when your latest adventure doesn’t quite come off you’ll be better prepared to dust yourself off. What other people classify as failure shouldn’t matter to you because this is your life and you can do what you want with it. Saying yes is just as much about putting yourself in a position to accept that not everything goes perfectly, but that this is still OK. Success isn’t owning a big house and a fancy car, it’s waking up each day knowing that you’re going to give this your best shot.

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5. You get better at everything

You’re rubbish every time you do something new, unless you have some freakish talent or aptitude, in which case, now and then you’ll get lucky. But on the whole, you’re not going to be an expert when you try out a new activity or skill. But keep on plugging away and you’ll learn more, you’ll improve steadily and eventually your discipline will reward you. One day you’ll look back and laugh at how bad you were at the beginning, just as someone hands you a medal or you cross the finish line with arms aloft. Remember, not being able to do something does not mean you’ll never be able to do it.

6. You discover new-found creativity

OK, you’re fully into doing mode now. You’ve become pretty good at taking chances but now and then you’ll have to get creative. Whether it’s making a yes list, coming up with a one-off project or even setting yourself a huge adventure to complete, the extra purpose you’ve created for your actions will offer motivation and direction. Suddenly you’re starting to design life as you want it to look, and that means grabbing hold of your dreams and splashing them over paper. ‘I wish I could do that’ becomes ‘Let’s do that!’ and all of a sudden you’ll be doing something so unique your former self couldn’t have imagined it. That’s creativity and you’re an artist of life; keep painting!

7. You feel more healthy

Living life on your own terms comes with its downs but your ability to take charge and take or create new opportunities has done wonders for your mind and your body. You’re more positive, which means you challenge illness or inactivity as soon as it presents itself. You’re in a stronger position to help others which always makes you feel better, and physically you’re more confident — especially because now you know that if you wanted to, you could run a marathon, even though you haven’t started training yet. Crucially, looking after yourself and knowing when to say yes to rest will preserve the energy you need for the next big thing.

8. Asking for things becomes easier

It’s not always simple stepping out of the box but if it’s taught you one thing, it’s that you’re OK with being vulnerable. There’s no shame in feeling lost or in need of help and just as you’d step up to assist someone if they asked for your help, you become more confident that it works in the opposite direction too. Maybe you’re cycling through a foreign country and a storm is coming in — just knock on the door of a local farm and ask if you could sleep in the barn (they’ll probably end up giving you a bed, a meal and a shower too). Perhaps you’re fundraising for a charity, organizing an event or need help moving to a smaller place (because who needed room for all that stuff anyway?!), just reach out and others will help, especially because now you have a good reason to be asking.

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9. You start to enjoy Mondays

You only used to hate Mondays because you hated your job, and if all of this saying yes has taught you anything it’s that you no longer have to accept a mediocre life. Without a doubt that means that you don’t have to spend the majority of the week doing something you have no love for. You’ve worked out an escape plan despite a few people around you saying that ‘you definitely shouldn’t give up everything you’ve worked for’ and, your game strengthened by all the things you learned between points 1 and 9; you’re ready to take things to the next level. There is a way to make a living doing something you enjoy and yes, it’ll take some time and work, but you’re ready for the struggle. It’s not like that job filled you with joy anyway. One day you’ll wake up on a Monday without a looming malice stirring in your belly — that’s the day you know you made it.

10. You have to learn how to say no

Life got epic and busy, but now you’re in a position where you’ve opened up so many doors you simply can’t take them all at the same time. You’re also being approached by others asking your advice — yep, you’ve now gotten to a stage where you’ve done so much that people are coming to you for help — but this takes time, too. You have a hunch that maybe if you carry on saying yes to everything that sure, you might not get any sleep, but that’s OK. But it’s not: sleep is the best medicine you have. S

o you have to learn to say no sometimes, after all, every time you say yes you also say no by default to pretty much everything else. Knowing what’s right and wrong comes down to instinct, and this has been honed (and will continue to be so) by all of the yeses you’ve said so far. You know what’s good for and not so good as well, you just have to decide on the Big Yes for any given moment and protect your investment in that by saying no to the rest.

11. The world starts to make sense

It didn’t use to. Remember when you were a kid and you thought your twenty-five year-old teacher was a fully blown adult, totally sorted in every way? And then you got to twenty-five and realized you were still figuring everything out? Well, that doesn’t ever change. There will always be questions we can’t answer and part of understanding what makes this world revolve is accepting that we don’t have control of everything. But we are capable of influencing our own decisions and the happiness of the people around us, and nothing matters much more than how you make others feel when you go through life. The longer we spend on this wonderful planet the better we get to know our place in it, and the value of that place is multiplied by your willingness to learn and experience as much as you dare.

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12. Things just work out

They do, they really do. You have to trust in this fully to get the most out of life, to turn disappointment into opportunity, to let heartache run its course and doubt evaporate into hope. The process of saying yes to so many things has meant that you’ve broken down barriers, learned more about yourself and started to help others too. Sometimes it feels like you’re totally in control but now and then life throws you the most unfair-seeming curve balls which you can’t escape from. Who knows why we’re here but if we can accept the best of life we should be able to accept the worst of it, and moving on to the next good moment will happen in time, especially when utilizing the most positive habits.

For the last ten years my personal motto has been to say yes more, and it has changed my life unimaginably. Of all the benefits, learning and experiences that came along with each yes, it’s worth noting that in the face of an increasing virtual, dislocated world, nothing worthwhile happens without people. Our ability to communicate, inspire, help and be helped and to share with others will paint the picture of our lives, one we only get to see in full when we look back right at the end, on our last day.

Let’s make this time we have here count, for us and those around us. Make life memorable. Say Yes More.

Featured photo credit: DaveCornthwaite//www.davecornthwaite.com via davecorn.smugmug.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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