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3 Steps to Take Back Your Power!

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3 Steps to Take Back Your Power!

Have you ever felt powerless or immobilized? Have you ever felt that life kicked out your teeth?

Don’t despair. You are not alone. The universal answer to that question is YES and by universal I mean that everyone answering that question will say yes. The reason for this is simple. When life throws one of her curveballs you want to be with helmet and all.

What do you need in order to prepare for the curveballs? Does this mean I should hide away in my closet just in case I get kicked?

Let us discuss three ways you can use to take back your power and still enjoy a happy fulfilled life.

1. Let go

Almost every self-help guru has talked about letting go. You can let go in different scenarios. For example you can let go of an abusive relationship or aThe way of letting go that I am talking about is more brutal. This letting go will dump you in all sorts of personal conflict. However, if you can let go successfully it will mean that you feel truly free.

How can you achieve being free and springboard you to take back you’re power?

You can do this by letting go of your past. Humans tend to worry a lot about their past. What if I decided to take that job? What if I did not sell that house? What if I just asked that girl’s number? What if I made peace with my father before he died?

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These and other questions plague us day and night. The truth is that we have absolutely no control over our past actions and decisions.

So how do I let go of my past? Simply by deciding that from today onwards I am not bound by the decisions I made in the past. It can be difficult because our minds enjoy reflecting on the past and making judgements. Realize that your mind exist to serve you. Not the other way around. So make that decision now.

What helped some people let go of the past is to have a little ceremony to signify the act of letting go. List down some of the things in your past that stole your power. Make a fire. Throw the paper in the fire and see how the fire burns it into oblivion. You can also say out loud as the paper is burning: “today I am letting go of my past and it will no longer have a hold on me!” truly believe what you are saying. Say it straight from the heart. Say it with conviction. You can also create your own ceremony.

After making the decision to let go it is important to be aware of thoughts and feelings as it manifests in your mind. Don’t judge the thought and do not judge yourself. Just be aware of it and decide that you will not enter into any engagements with this thought. To create this new habit you will need repetition and time. Do it anyway because it will give you a feeling of freedom and it will help you to take your power back.

2. Create a compelling future

Now that you are free from your past it is time to create a compelling future. According to the dictionary the word compelling means:” evoke interest, attention, or admiration in a powerfully irresistible way“.

You need to create a future that you will excite you.

How do we create this irresistible future?

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First, we need to know what gets us excited. What makes our blood curl? So take some time now and write a couple of things down that really gets you going and that turns you on. Example: being able to help and influence young people.

Then ask the question: “What opportunities exist that I can do more of these things?”

Example: Give career speeches at local schools.

The next thing is to decide what it is that you must do to create more opportunities to do the thing that makes you excited.

Example: I need more time. I need to become self-employed.

Now write in full what a day will be like doing the thing that excites you. Take time and really flesh it out. What sights do you see? What smells do you hear? What textures can you feel under your fingertips? Got it?

Good. Now you need to put actions in place. What actions can I put into place in order to reach my compelling future? Example: Buy that book about how to become an entrepreneur. Remember that your actions should be specific, measurable, realistic and time-bound.

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Work continuously on this action plan and feel the excitement burning day by day.

3. How do you see yourself?

Another method to stand up and demand more power is to have a look at how you see yourself.

This can be a touchy subject. We are usually very quick to judge other people. I do it too, however it is awkward to turn those laser eyes on ourselves. In many cases the reason we feel powerless is because we have low self-esteem. How can we rebuild our self-esteem?

First, we need to take stock. Ask the following questions and list the answers. Be sure to respond as honestly and truthfully as possible.

  • What do like about me? This can also be physical things. Example: I am crazy about my legs.
  • What do others like about me? Here you might need to ask your friends or colleagues.
  • What is one thing that I think will make my self-esteem grow? Example: I need to stand up for myself.

 

Then pick someone that you think have good self-esteem (example: Oprah, or anyone that you can think of) and ask the following questions:

  • What in my mind constitutes a person with BIG self-esteem?
  • Is it because they share their opinions without fear?
  • What qualities can I see that makes me think this person has a lot of self-esteem?
  • Make a list of those qualities.

Take a look at the list you created about yourself. What areas do you lack in? What are the qualities that will grow your self-esteem? You now have a couple of qualities that you have identified as problem areas. Work on those problem areas by tackling one area at a time. Also share this with your friends. They will be able to tell you if it is working or not.

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Having self-esteem does not mean that you have the right to be vain and self-centered. Self-esteem will focus you on your path and you will be able to be yourself in every sense of the word.  If you consistently build your self-esteem it will ensure that you take your power back.

 

We should never be fearful of life and hide away in the closet.

You now have some tools to help you take your power back. The onus is on you. The only thing that will hold you back is if you don’t do something to change your situation.

You need to take steps to apply this in your life. Start today. Don’t let anything stop you.

 

Take action and reclaim your power!

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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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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