“To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life.” ~ Robert Louis Stevenson
Ambition is having a strong drive to do or achieve more in life. Unfortunately, a lack of ambition can be an individual’s own worst enemy. Un-ambitious people sabotage their own potential and happiness through self-limiting beliefs, bad habits, and negative thoughts.
Ambitious people, however, believe in themselves and their capabilities. They understand that everyone is capable of achieving far much more than they typically give ourselves credit for. You won’t find ambitious people speaking negatively against their own interest — you won’t hear them say stuff like:Advertising
1. “I can’t do this—it’s too hard.”
Ambitious people never limit themselves or undervalue hard work with these words. They tell themselves they can do it and press on until it’s done. Nothing worth having comes easy: you’ve got to work hard to for it. As Sir Roger Gilbert Bannister says, “The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man who will win.”
2. “I’m not good enough.”
Ambitious people never say they are not good enough. Saying you are not good enough holds you back and makes you vulnerable to quit when things get a little rough. And quitting when things get a little rough is never a good thing. The most successful people in the world are not quitters. They are hard workers who believe in themselves and their abilities. Be confident and believe in yourself, or no one else will.
3. “I won’t make it through the obstacles.”
Challenges and obstacles are tests of your resolve and desire to succeed. Ambitious people never say they won’t make it through the hard times. They say they will make it because they know better things lie ahead—the sun always shines after the storm. Besides, as an old Arabian proverb says, “All sunshine and no rain makes a dessert.” Gold is fashioned through fire.Advertising
4. “People won’t take me seriously.”
The only time people won’t take you seriously is if you don’t take yourself seriously. Period. Insisting that people won’t take you seriously is an excuse not to do what you know you should do. Ambitious people never say these words. They respect themselves and honor their work and that earns people’s respect. Start respecting yourself and honoring what you do and people will respect and take you seriously.
5. “I’m going to fail for sure.”
Failure is not entirely bad. It can teach you valuable lessons and redirect you to the right path. Ambitious people don’t say they are going to fail and let that stop them from trying. They defy the fear of failure by taking calculated risks because they know the only time you are truly defeated is when you don’t try at all. Jim Carrey says it best: “You can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”
6. “I can’t handle success.”
Ambitious people never declare they can’t handle success before they even achieve it. Dr. Jason Plaks, a social psychologist at the University of Toronto, and Kristin Stecher, a research scientist at the University of Washington, conducted studies and found that those who think their capabilities are fixed are the ones more likely to suffer disorientation and anxiety when faced with dramatic success. Those who think of their abilities as changeable handle success far better. If you think your capabilities are fixed and say you can’t, you’re right. Confucious said, “Those who think they can and those who think they can’t are both usually right.” Say you can and you will.Advertising
7. “I’ll probably make a mistake and mess things up.”
Ambitious people never utter these words because they believe in themselves and understand you can’t please everyone. Some people will consider your effort terrible, others will consider it okay and yet others will consider it excellent. Don’t worry too much about it all. Give your absolute best each time in everything you do and learn from your mistakes. Ultimately, say like Cheryl Cole said—“I’ve learned so much from my mistakes, I’m thinking of making a few more.” Say it because making a mistake is not the problem; the problem is not learning from your mistakes.
8. “I’m waiting for the perfect moment to start.”
Ambitious people never say they are waiting for the “perfect moment” because the “perfect moment” to do something is a myth. Moments are what you make of them. Ambitious people simply start and really focus. It’s never too late to do something. Start now and do all of the things you’ve always wanted to do. Stop procrastinating and wasting your life waiting for the stars to align. There will always be reason to procrastinate and wait another day, but only those who actually start get things rolling. Keep in mind the best time to start was yesterday. The next best time is right now.
9. “I’m not as good as that guy/girl.”
As long as you are always comparing yourself to others, thinking you are inferior to them and not being your true self, you will always try to be what other people are and always fall short. Ambitious people know this and never think or say they are inferior to others. They work on being the best version of themselves. You are not that guy or girl. You are you, and that’s not bad. Everybody is unique and gifted in their own way. Situations vary and we all grow at our own pace. Check what others are doing only to learn from them. Don’t be jealous or resentful. Be happy when you see others succeed because it means you can too.Advertising
10. “I’ll never be successful.”
Words have incredible power. You won’t hear ambitious people say they will never succeed. That’s because they actually believe they will succeed one day. That conviction keeps them sufficiently motivated and driven to put in the hard work and time necessary for success. Say good words, think good thoughts, and do good deeds because what you say and believe is what you are destined to get.
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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