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How to Trust Your True Calling

How to Trust Your True Calling

The Connection

We all have a Calling. The trick is “How to Trust Your True Calling?”  A Calling starts out like a first-time meeting with someone absolutely captivating or mysterious. It’s sexier than anything you’ve ever seen. You keep bumping into your Calling here and there, but never the right time or place for an extended hook up. Then, it disappears.

A little time passes, then “BAM”, something seen, heard, smelled, touched, or tasted screams “Here’s your Calling’s number” and it feels right! You muster some courage and you make the call.

Near Misses

Unfortunately, your Calling has lousy cell reception. When it calls you, it sounds like a possessed, static breathing robot you can’t understand. Or, you connect sporadically amidst dropped calls. This becomes phone tag frustration and uncertainty about your Calling. This experience leaves you wondering if this relationship is going anywhere.

However, your Calling becomes a rock in your shoe. It irritates and nags you off and on. It won’t leave you alone. And, you can’t leave it alone. How do you get rid of life’s static and dropped calls where your Calling is concerned? The answer is getting exclusive with your Calling.

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Getting Exclusive with Your Calling

You solve your poor Calling connection and relationship trust issues by boosting your Calling’s signal in three easy steps:

#1 Same Carrier Plan

All relationships begin with the same plan of action: Fit or No Fit. You must determine if you and your Calling are a good to great fit. You must ask yourself tough questions, before getting exclusive with your Calling. These questions revolve around positive and indelible experience with your Calling that were “Good to Great”, captivating, compelling, driving, satisfying, fulfilling, enriching, helped others, etc.:

  • What internal dialog or external experiences scream this Calling is for you?
  • Do people comment on how well you two fit together?
  • Do people assume you and your Calling are together?
  • Do you feel happiest, engaged, and meaning-filled hanging out with your Calling?
  • Can you imagine your best life without your Calling?
  • Do you have a vision for your best life with your Calling dead center?

If your responses prove indelible and positive, you and your Calling are moving closer to crystal clear communication and a trusted life’s direction. Let’s talk plan upgrades for you two love birds.

#2 Upgrades

You can’t afford communications issues in a new relationship, so you’ll need to upgrade your thinking. Your brain will run old programming or negative thoughts until you proactively challenge and change them.

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Your brain operates on a closed loop system. Your loop is driven by what you say is important. It is not driven by what you WANT or NEED. It is driven by what you FOCUS ON. This focus concretes into your trusted beliefs (Good or Bad). Your beliefs shape your reality, drive your actions, and impact your results.

Not sure? Look around. Bingo – you are the sum of your decisions. It’s not what happens to us, but how you respond that shapes your life. We respond to life based on our beliefs about life. Change your beliefs – change your life. This begins with you solidifying belief in your Calling, which requires a change in your thinking.

Here’s how you will upgrade your thinking:

  1. Focus on positive inputs (affirmations, information, experiences, preferences, hope, faith, etc.) and tell your brain “Fetch my Calling”.
  2. EXPECT and ACCEPT the evidence your brain fetches, to demonstrate you are on the right track.

Your Calling’s fit will help solidify your life’s direction and best life shifts. Finally, get some insurance. Insurance against the static of your old habits, fears, and doubts. Unchecked, this static can disrupt your Calling’s communication and relationship.

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#3 Get Insurance

My first I-Phone fell into a Maryland snowbank and was never seen again. Fortunately, I had insurance. Your Calling communication and relationship needs insurance too. The insurance takes two forms: Clear Development Goals and Disciplined Behavior Management.

Clear Development Goals:

Your calling must be developed into life support for your lifestyle, based on increasingly complex goals. As life changes, you update or change your development goals accordingly.

GOAL: You believe your Calling is to be a Veterinarian. This best life has you opening a clinic and serving rural Iowa.

EXAMPLE:  Your development goals would include (1) formal education and (2) professional exposure illuminating successful rural Veterinarians in Iowa. You MUST enroll in a Veterinary Sciences program, then follow through with studying and tough choices supporting your studies.

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If you have other major life commitments (job, children, mortgage, etc.), you will re-prioritize those responsibilities around your Calling’s development. In time, your Calling will return the favor by centering everything you want around you.

Disciplined Behavior Management:

Nothing happens unless you take consistent action. 92% of New Year’s resolutions fail, because they lack a clear plan and supporting disciplines. Pursuing your calling is no different. You need goals supported by disciplined behaviors. Continuing our Veterinarian scenario:

ACTION: You would (1) FIND a mentor and (2) get direct experience from professionals directly. This reinforces your trusted belief and direction. You learn success skills from those living their Calling as successful rural Veterinarians in Iowa.

Goals and disciplined behaviors INSURE you are continuously growing in skill and knowledge. It INSURES you are forming the right behaviors needed for achieving the Veterinary expertise required for`and supporting your best life and lifestyle.

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Conclusion

With all relationships, you will hit bumps in the road. You will question whether you and your Calling truly fit. This is normal, so revisit Steps 1 – 2. This will help you re-affirm your love for and belief in your Calling. In time, your Calling expertise will grow, pay your bills, fuel your happiness, serve others, and give you the life and lifestyle you desire.

Featured photo credit: Photodune via photodune.net

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John St. John

Blogger, Writer, Leadership Developer, and Purpose Coach

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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)

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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