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5 Common Mistakes People Make in Staying Motivated

5 Common Mistakes People Make in Staying Motivated
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Imagine sitting on a cozy swaying hammock on one of the most exquisite islands of the Caribbean. Listening to the rippling waves thrusting against the rocks, you inhale the majestic aroma of the ocean. The sunlight beams into your eyes and you just feel the incredible urge to smile. When you look up into the bright blue skies, you spot a jet passing. This intrigues you, getting you motivated to fly high in pursuit of your goals.

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    What makes this jet so high, so fast, and so efficient?

    This jet (along with similar aircrafts) uses 80% of its fuel just for takeoff. The other 20% suffice for the rest of the journey. Fun fact right? You might ask, “But I’m not a jet, Shay. What does this have to do with me?”

    Quite frankly, I think aircrafts are super cool, exciting, and valuable… exactly the way I view you. Even if you don’t think so, I still do. You’ll catch up with reality some day. For now, think of your makeup as somewhat similar to a jet.

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    Check out these points that you tend to forget when it comes to motivation.

    1. Motivation is needed most at takeoff. 

    People tend to forget that the beginning is always the hardest. Why? The foundation of anything needs to be the strongest point so the process will be much smoother. Before you can cruise or have a flow, a robust momentum must be created. Would you use the weakest blocks to begin a 3 story house? Absolutely not! So why do you think a little motivation can suffice for a whole project? That’s absurd.

    You should bear in mind that the best foundation is having a strong and firm belief system. Here is where you will probably find the most pain, barriers, and hardships. Be open to changes but with a balance of believing firmly that you can accomplish what you set out to do. You must not only believe, you must KNOW that it is possible.

    2. Discipline is motivation on autopilot. 

    Before the jet can continue on its path, it doesn’t need as much fuel anymore. Don’t get me wrong, it still needs fuel to go, but just not as much. It’s the same with us humans. After trying over and over then failing, we tend to think we need the same amount of motivation that we began with. This is another common mistake.

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    It will take a mighty long time to gain the same motivation you started off with; however, you only need 20% to continue. If you can manage to maintain more than that without beating yourself up, then I’m very proud of you.

    3. Motivation is like a ramp. 

    I’ve been working at the JFK Airport in New York for a while now. To get on the aircraft, I’ve got to walk up and down ramps most times. Did you see that? UP and DOWN. Motivation along with anything in this life has similar principles. There are levels, and if you don’t go up your motivation ramp enough you are going to be out of breath when you get to the top. What’s so wrong with being breathless if you’ve reached the goal by getting to the top? Why work towards something you won’t be able to enjoy? Let’s not be backwards now. Life has much more to offer than to strive for something that you’re not going to reap the full rewards.

    How do you exercise on these ramps in real life? Attack your problems like a beast! Whenever issues arise, go headway in KNOWING that you’re in control. You can conquer anything!

    4. Motivation requires a captain aboard. 

    For the jet to have a successful flight, it requires a captain or two. Who will drive you if you depend on yourself for everything? It is possible but much harder when you do it alone. Remember that saying, “NO MAN IS AN ISLAND. NO MAN STANDS ALONE”? Accountability is needed, along with guidance from mentors, books, or somewhere else. Just make sure you have that special someone who has the knowledge, stature, and wisdom to help you move from point A to point B. They can be vital in your success.

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    How long will you study on a subject? You won’t always see eye to eye, but remember to be humble. Gather the information and steps, act on them, and create your own legacy. Always be grateful to the things and people who aid in getting the results you once prayed for.

    5. Map the motivation route.

    Alas, we have arrived. How can you arrive somewhere of which you don’t have a route for? How can you have a route without mapping it? You must know where you’re headed. If you have no idea where that is, no captain can help you and your fuel will be wasted. Set out with one specific goal then work towards that. People make this mistake then give up afterwards.

    If you even want to wander around, you must have a specific reason why you’re doing it. Give it a certain time-frame for how long you wish to wander and alternate for results. I map my goals is by using an app called Lift. I create my goals then it reminds me throughout the day to get the goal done. I got it from a mentor. Now you don’t have a reason not to act on your map.

    You can also listen to audiobooks on YouTube and find that specific thing that excites you. Keep doing it over and over. If it isn’t maintained, your jet loses power then eventually loses value.

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    Conclusion

    Now you can avoid all of these mistakes we often make. Invest in you and the power waiting to burst out. The world needs you and what you have to offer. The grind is never over, so keep on with it.

    Always remember to try.

    Featured photo credit: Paul Szigety via unsplash.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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