“If I have failed more than you have, I have won”- Seth Godin
We happen to think we are big failures when we are failing. We aren’t failures, we just need to go through the process of life when we try things. That’s the reality. We have to overcome the negativity. The sad part is that we low-key know about this but ‘fail” to take this approach because it’s unconventional. But you know what? Everything I have ever succeeded at was done through failing many times and not giving up.
“Failure isn’t fatal, but failure to change might be” – John Wooden
Volleyball had many practicing hours before I could even learn to serve. Writing took me writing 83 essays to every 1 my classmates wrote so I could top them. In all of those essays, 1 in every 15 would be really amazing. My driving test took me two attempts. So what I want you to do is to learn to fight the thought of failure being a bad thing. See the word “fail” and turn it mentally to “learn”. It’s hard but only through failing will we learn the most. It’s painful but it shouldn’t have to be.
“Success is most often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable.” – Coco Chanel
Bear with me for a second.
I asked my boyfriend what “failing” means to him. His response was “The End”.Advertising
What really is “failing”? I googled it and look what I found
You see this? A weakness in a character! A weakness! Weaknesses can be strengthened if practiced enough! Failing isn’t a life-ending and detrimental factor. It’s a good thing. It shows you what needs to be strengthened, not what needs to make you feel like you’re the worse person on earth and that you have no purpose. Ugh! I just hate it when people over-exaggerate. Don’t fall for their trap of allowing you to not believe that you can accomplish your dreams.
“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” – Robert F. Kennedy
Here are a few things we often “fail” at but it turns out beautifully if you keep working at them with an open mind:
You’ll fail with friendships
Friends forever? Ahh no. There will be times when your “friends” aren’t who you expect them to be. It hurts but it’s just one of those things that we have to get through as humans. Some will lie to you, have babies, get married and straight up not have the time for you. These are all normal because through it all, a select few will always be there no matter what and more than likely you will develop more friendships as you go along. Well, those often are more worthwhile. Don’t be afraid to allow this process to take its course. Be open to it and let it transition. Here you will learn who really has your back and who will be there for you no matter what. Most importantly, you’ll learn to be much wiser.
“The phoenix must burn to emerge.” – Janet Fitch
You’ll fail to make big decisions
As a 20-something, I cannot explain how many decisions I’ve failed at. Nope, I’d probably be embarrassed to say it all. Well, I’d look beyond that; anything for you. The point is that especially when you don’t have guidance (there is always some sort) we tend to make the crappiest decisions and then feel bad after. One thing is sure, if you’re tired of this happening then this is a pain point to make a change. Read more, find a mentor, a coach… something. How long will we be comfortable making the same bad decisions? Guidance from someone who is more knowledgeable at life will suffice. You can even get Cheatsheets on how to turn your life around on the internet. Here’s one I wrote specifically for you guys.
“I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.” – Michael JordanAdvertising
When you get older, naturally your priorities will change. Parties, liquor and whatever else is there to distract you doesn’t count as much. Getting ahead in your life becomes the main objective. You will begin to get curious and try new things to secure a future. However, trying new things has much trial and error in it. This can sometimes be a burden. We fail a lot by not having the results we want immediately but who cares? It’s okay to fail. Yes… it’s not okay to give up after you have failed though. This will teach determination and discipline. Keep going until you win! And you will win!
“If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.” – Ken Robinson
You’ll fail to compromise
As a 20 something we feel so many pressures from everyone. We want to find what our purpose is but try to please our moms and dads at the same time. That within itself curates failure. Don’t worry, we always figure it out. Just know it takes some time. By going through this process, you learn patience, kindness and the ability to reason from someone else’s point of view.
“Giving up is the only sure way to fail.” – Gena Showalter
You’ll fail to look after your body
Before you get to that stability level, you will fall short and cheat on certain things. Sugar, salt, alcohol, exercise you name it. It will take tonnes of effort to get to eating healthy but sometimes you’ll succumb to the junk. Look at it this way, when you wake up in the morning, beat it in your head that today is a brand new day. Forget the failures from yesterday then exercise that “discipline muscle” and start one more time. The biggest investment is you. No one should beat you up for this. Learning about mind conditioning and will power will do wonders for you. Trust me.
“If you don’t try at anything, you can’t fail… it takes back bone to lead the life you want” – Richard Yates
You’ll fail to invest in the future
“You only live once” is the mantra of most 20-somethings. That sounds pretty fun doesn’t it? Time and time again you’ll know what to do deep within yourself. You know it would be right for you but your mind will wander. Remember, if you want to have a family and keep it, more than one relationship isn’t as smart a move. The same goes for any long term goal. You will learn to be laser-visioned.Advertising
“Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” – Denis Waitley
You’ll fail to develop your own style
Society, family, & friends brainwashed most of us. When we see the whole pattern and is willing to change that, it will take much concentration to find what our “real” personalities are. Our personalities will lean less toward what’s trending and create our own styles. Easier said than done but why not learn about self development?
“When you take risks you learn that there will be times when you succeed and there will be times when you fail, and both are equally important.” – Ellen DeGeneres
You’ll fail to socialize differently
It’s kind of hard to put down our phones every once in a while and take a walk somewhere and strike up a conversation with someone new. It’s the norm for us so to go out of our comfort zones will be uninteresting and obsolete. My question to you is how far will the “norm” take you in life? It will absolutely change your life to put your phone down, leave it at home for a few hours and go try to speak to someone new. I dare you to try it. If you have issues making friends, you can find tips here. Now you are challenged to build on social skills.
“It’s failure that gives you the proper perspective on success.” – Ellen DeGeneres
You’ll fail to manage your money
Majority of 20 somethings don’t have a set plan. It’s these years that you try to find your purpose and what you should be doing. While some have their lives together, some are in college completing the wrong degree and others are just sitting around waiting for life to make a change for them. You probably know…Life won’t. We just don’t always have it all figured out. It’s the same with money. Funds often slip by until you learn the language of money. Buy what you need only, invest in something long term and in a couple of years, you will have the financial freedom you deserve. Oh how would it feel to buy a car but unable to buy gas? Don’t buy a whole pizza today if you’re not that hungry and don’t know what you will eat tomorrow. Change the perspective young grasshopper. It will take much living from paycheck to paycheck and struggles to teach you to develop your investment skills.
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison
You’ll fail to value your family
Teenagers and 20 somethings grow intensely apart from their families due to miscommunication and feeling misunderstood. That’s a regular thing but it doesn’t have to be. Instead of talking back, just be quiet even if you’re tuning them out. This helps a lot. Instead of spitting fire with your tongue in return of a conflict, let it slide… just this one time. Your parents will be amazed by this. I know mine was when I figured out this tactic. I failed many times too. Just try it and you too will learn the value of silence.
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill
You’ll fail to stand up for yourself
We really have been manipulative as kids trying to guilt trip people for what we want. Getting out in the real world where people are hard inside, it gets tough. Here, our defensive mechanism falters. We find it hard to ask for raises and even break down when people put us down. Well, just like a kid it takes years to master getting what we want, we must master standing up for ourselves. This too will take a while. Here you will definitely learn how to strategies, be creative and be quick on your feet. All in all you learn how to become very Independent.
“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” – Paulo Coelho
You’ll fail to love yourself
This is the hardest of them all to me and that’s why so many of us suffer from depression and anxiety. This is just my opinion. There are other scientific and proven reasons of course. I just know that when I felt ugly because of the excess weight I had was because I didn’t work on loving myself enough. I cared more of what others thought of me. Until I learned to tell myself that I was the one living my life, took control and did something about my health, I could not have felt beautiful and love myself the way I do now. Did I fail? What do you think? You’ll be more than successful when you learn self-love.
Unless you want to keep winning and not learn anything which is a bit of an illusion, then learn to think of failure as a good thing. In my tribe, we fail to win. We never give up. I believe in you and I love you! Keep trying <3
“It’s not how far you fall, but how high you bounce that counts.” – Zig Ziglar
Featured photo credit: Ryan McGuire via pixabay.com
Last Updated on July 20, 2021
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:
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:
- How to Give a Presentation Like a Pro
- 10 Tips for More Effective PowerPoint Presentations
- Tricks to Deliver an Impressive Presentation Every Time
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