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It Can Be Painful, But You’ll Learn A Lot In Your 30s

It Can Be Painful, But You’ll Learn A Lot In Your 30s
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Remember when you thought you’d have life all figured out by the age of 30?

But now here you are, officially a 30-something and yet your life is far from sorted. Well, don’t worry, you’re not alone.

For most of us, our 30s are a time of change and uncertainty. Perhaps things haven’t worked out quite how you would have liked so far. But the good news is, there’s still plenty time to shape the life you want and you’re sure to learn a lot along the way.

I turned 40 last month which means somehow I made it through my 30s in one piece. Now, I’m still no life expert but as I reflect on the last ten years, I’m amazed at how much I’ve learnt.

Here are some of the lessons you’ll learn during your 30s.

1. You’ll learn friendships change

Your friendships will change a lot during your 30s. As people pair up, have kids, move house or change jobs, your friendships inevitably alter.

You may discover friends you have known for years don’t make the effort to keep in touch anymore. Or perhaps you no longer have anything in common with friends you’ve had since childhood.

It’s difficult to accept but there may be people who simply aren’t meant to be in your friendship circle anymore. But new friendships will take their place and the good news is, the friends you have at the end of your 30s will probably be friends for life.

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2. You’ll learn to make big decisions

When you enter your 30s, you realize those big decisions you’ve been putting off can’t wait forever.

During my 30s I moved house twice, set up a business and had a baby. All demanded huge decisions that I’d been able to avoid during my 20s.

Decisions about your career, family, finances and relationships – you’ll face them all during your 30s. And no matter how old you get, making decisions is tough but with every big decision, your life changes; usually for the better.

3. You’ll learn about heartache

Divorce, fertility issues, bereavement, these are all things many people in their 30s have to face, often for the first time. The thing is, the journey through life isn’t meant to be straightforward and you can only really appreciate the highs, when you’ve also experienced the lows.

As Winston Churchill said: “If you’re going through hell, keep going”.

4. You’ll learn what’s really important

As you get older, your priorities change. The things that were important to you in your 20s such as making money or owning the latest gadgets will now seem less important.

Your 30s is a time to redefine your priorities; whether that’s traveling more, achieving a better work/life balance, or starting a family.

5. You’ll learn about compromise

Life is full of compromises and during your 30s you may find you have to compromise on big things such as taking a pay cut to get the job you really want, or moving city to be with the person you love.

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Of course, it’s equally important to know when not to compromise. If you want kids but your partner doesn’t, it’s probably impossible to find a compromise. Instead, you may have to make the difficult decision to walk away from the relationship to get the life you really want.

6. You’ll learn to look after your body

Alcohol, sugar, late nights; they all take their toll. In your 20s you can enjoy your vices without inflicting too much long-term damage. But in your 30s, all those bad choices suddenly have a huge impact.

When you look in the mirror and see wrinkles, grey hairs and saggy skin for the first time, it’s a shock. And while you can’t reverse the ageing process (at least not without lots of cash and a great cosmetic surgeon), you can slow down the effects of ageing by making smart choices.

Now is the time to nurture your body to keep you healthy throughout your 30s and beyond.

7. You’ll learn to invest in the future

“Live for today” is the mantra of most 20-somethings. And this is perfect when you’ve got plenty time ahead to iron out your mistakes. But as you enter your 30s, you’ll realize although enjoying the moment is still important, you also need to plan for the future.

By investing in your finances, your health and your relationships you’ll form good habits that will make your future healthier and happier.

8. You’ll learn life is short

In your 20s you had the luxury of knowing that your whole life was still ahead of you. Meanwhile in your 30s, the sensation that time is hurtling along just keeps getting stronger.

You’ll treasure every second more and only go for things you really like or really needed.

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9. You’ll learn about regret

Did you want to be a millionaire by the time you were 30? Travel the world? Win an Oscar? Goals you had in your 20s may no longer seem achievable and although it’s hard to let go of your dreams, with the wisdom you’ve gained, you can create new ones.

10. You’ll learn about children

Whether you already have kids, want kids, or definitely don’t want kids; there’s no escaping the fact that during your 30s everyone seems to be talking about children.

When you have absolutely no interest in kids, all the conversations about diapers and nurseries can become tiresome. But seeing your friends settle down and have kids can clarify how you feel about starting your own family.

You may find your thoughts about children change when you hit your 30s. Plenty of people (including me) change from thinking “definitely not”, to “definitely maybe” as they realize it’s a decision that can’t be put off forever.

11. You’ll learn to develop your own style

Knowing how to dress in your 30s isn’t easy. You’re too mature to wear teenage fashions but not ready to dress like your parents. Take the opportunity to develop your own style. It’s refreshing not to have to be a slave to fashion anymore.

12. You’ll learn to socialize differently

If your 20s were all about all-night parties and being seen in the hippest clubs; you may learn your tastes change in your 30s. Personally, I’d rather go for coffee than cocktails and much prefer watching a film with friends to hitting the town.

Being in your 30s gives you the freedom to do the things you really want to do, not what you think you should be doing.

13. You’ll learn not to sweat the small stuff

Remember when you were worried about everything? What to wear, how to cut your hair, whether your colleagues thought you were a dork for staying in on Saturday night? Well, great news; in your 30s you’ll learn not to care about the little things.

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It’s painful to realize how much time you wasted overthinking things but the worries that caused you sleepless nights in your 20s simply won’t matter anymore. And when you learn not to sweat the small stuff, you’ll have more energy to focus on more important things.

14. You’ll learn to manage your money

If you haven’t already got your finances in check, you’ll learn to during your 30s. No doubt you’ll make some mistakes along the way but you’ll quickly become an expert.

Whether you’re investing in business, property or parenthood; now is the time to focus on money matters and financial planning.

15. You’ll learn to value your family

During our late teens and 20s many people grow apart from their parents and siblings as they fly the nest and embrace freedom. But during our 30s, many rediscover the importance of family.

Having kids of your own can bring you closer to your parents. And as your friendships change, it’s comforting to have the stability of family relationships.

16. You’ll learn to stand up for yourself

Whether it’s asking for a pay rise, or standing up to bullies at work, once you’re in your 30s, you’ll learn how to be assertive when it counts. Confidence comes with age so don’t be afraid to ask for what you want; you just might get it.

17. You’ll learn to love yourself

Your 20s can be a difficult time when you’re constantly comparing yourself to others and worrying “am I good enough?”. Well, the good news is your insecurities lessen during your 30s.

You might not have life completely figured out yet but you’ll definitely care less about what others think and learn to love yourself a whole lot more.

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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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