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10 Steps to Erasing a Tarnished Reputation

10 Steps to Erasing a Tarnished Reputation
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    Change is an uphill battle you should be ready to fight.

    I could blindfold myself and throw a veggie dog into a group of strangers, and I know that the person it would hit would be guilty of at least one of the repulsive yet often observed human flaws listed below.

    While we aren’t ever going to sprout wings and be puritanical saints all the time, it’s absolutely imperative that when we notice hideous character flaws in ourselves, we set a goal to change them. I have to set these goals on a daily basis, and though it pains me greatly to stop myself from being shallow, scared or loudmouthed, the effort is changing me as a human. That ability to trump my instincts is like tasting raw power. I feel like it might make me a good grandma, scratch that, aunt who tells it like it is, but with a bit of heart and a heap of learning.

    In 2017, I propose that every human on the planet attempt to kick the next 10 behaviours out of their lives so they can move on to greener, better pastures.

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    1 – Stop doing things to put yourself above others. No matter what car you drive, how much money is in your bank account, or how ridiculously overpriced your underwear is, you are going to be buried under the same dirt or tossed over the same cliff as the rest of us eventually. You can’t take these things with you, and besides, have you ever stopped to ask yourself where they all came from? “Things” can make us all feel good from time to time. However, rubbing those things in someone’s face or using those things to measure your greatness or someone else’s lack thereof is pretty lame. Fine, tote the LV handbag, but maybe tilt your nose a little further south if you can at all help it.

    2 – Stop giving hard times out like candy. Negative energy sucks for everyone it flows through. Running people through hell becomes a hobby for some people who are bored. They create a world of brimstone in which to live. Why get other people involved in your misery by criticizing, abusing, nagging, and making life difficult? If you’re the guy who steals ideas at work, the girl who keeps her kid from seeing his father, the neighbor who leaves trash on his lawn, or the man at the gym who sneezes into the water fountain and doesn’t re-rack weights, stop. Think about your actions and how they impact others. Be mindful, and spend more time spreading light than covering your world in a cloak of darkness and phlegm.

    3 – Remember that you only live once. Acting like you have nine lives doesn’t necessarily turn out in the wash. Take time each day to remember that you only live once, and you’ll find that small things will bother you less and happiness will be your priority. Regardless of your weight, bank account or address, there is beauty in being alive that we should be paying very close attention to. This is pretty hard to do when you’re stressed, drunk, hung-over, anxious or just a career jerk. In short, remove the obstacles that blind you and limit your realization of the short precious time we have on earth and you’ll find that your attitude shifts with very little effort.

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    4 – Stop being a human slug and take some pride in your appearance. Basic self-care includes showers, exercise, nutritionally balanced meals and adequate sleep. These measures will make you a person everyone can stand being around. Make sure your contribution to the world is not your stink, overtired yawns or dirty fingernails, but your fresh face, twinkling eyes and meaningful presence. These will be a perpetual wellspring of happiness for you and a serious attractant to those you meet.

    5 – Evolve. Coaches need coaches. Teachers need teachers. The learned need educating. Outright refusal to learn and grow is vomitesque. Humans are born curious and able to see the other side of each coin if they try. Ditch the selfish attitude and the jealousy, and learn to be happy for other people. Good people try their best to understand where others come from in terms of geography, religion, and personality which in turn helps them to undergo their own process of evolution and personal growth. Always remember that your ride is not the ride of others, and trying to force someone onto your bus of black and white living is annoying, petty and common.

    6 – Pinkies turned up, elbows off the table! Rules, regulations, prim and proper manners…do they all really matter that much in the end? You don’t need to be in a race to be the mature, level headed one at every turn. The Debbie Downer that constantly brings the “that’s dangerous” to every adventurous dreamer in the room sucks. There’s nothing worse than hearing why we should be scared of every activity on the planet. Sameness and consistency shouldn’t always win. Being the pusher of “grow up” steals childhood from kids and playfulness away from life. You might not believe in the magic of Santa, but you’re a real jerk if you’re telling small children that he doesn’t exist! Be playful, believe in magic, and enjoy rubbing spaghetti in someone’s face once in a while.

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    7 – Your pants have been on fire for your entire life. I’m not sure how you’re still alive. Sure, everybody has a few white lies they tell to get by, but when you’ve crafted a foundation of lies as the basis for who you are as a human, it gets old and gross. Lies become unmanageable, and your tall tales get in everyone’s way, including your own. Telling the ugly truth takes far less work than carrying a bag full of fully leaded BS.

    8 – Why pretend to be nice, giving or happy if that’s not who you are? If your mission in life is to channel Bela Lugosi, own it so that the rest of us can stay away from you. It’s really a great thing to see someone own who they are, warts and all. Maybe you’re always going to be the villain. Heck, we need ‘em, so go out and get an Oscar doing it. Just drop the sheep’s robe at the door.

    9 – Stop blaming everyone else for your shortcomings. I’m not the only person on earth who should be admitting on a weekly basis that I’ve screwed up. Owning bad behaviour is part of coming into ourselves, trusting the path we are on and being gracious humans. Having to watch someone squirm through excuses not only takes away their credibility as a full-fledged adult, it also causes serious eye damage to anyone in the room who is trapped rolling theirs backward. Here’s a crafty mantra to battle this problem in 2017: It’s not you, it’s me.

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    10 – This last one is for my doppelgangers and me. Stop reacting in anger and fear to things you don’t understand. You need to take the time to digest where a person is coming from or what their true intentions are before you vow to murder them in a violent fit of anger. Sometimes reading an email thrice works, sometimes asking for clarification works even better. The best you can hope for is to engage in intelligent conversation about the matter, understand, appreciate and let go. Harboring ill will is a bad form of self-poisoning that will stop your heart. Since you only have one of those, I’d suggest making the most of it every single day.

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    Sasha Williams

    Plant Powered Lifestyle Designer

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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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