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7 Beliefs That Will Help When You Get Stuck

7 Beliefs That Will Help When You Get Stuck
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Being stuck sucks.

There’s that part of you that wants to get moving, wants to make something amazing happen and doesn’t want to waste any more time, but there’s that other part of you that doesn’t know where to start, doesn’t feel enthused about the options and sometimes feels powerless to change anything.

So, yeah, it sucks.

The good news is, your best weapon in the fight against being stuck is in that wonderful brain of yours—your thinking and your beliefs.

So, here are seven beliefs that will help you get unstuck.

1. I don’t need to have all the information

It’s good to get your facts right before attempting to make a decision, but that can often become an exercise in gathering together and pouring over all of the information and details you can find, to the point where you contract a solid case of analysis-paralysis-itis. (Yeah, that’s a thing).

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You don’t need all of the information, and as there will always be unknowns in life, it’s unlikely that it’s even possible to get all of it. Surrounding yourself with information and details is really just swaddling yourself in a comfort blanket.

It’s much better to know enough to make a choice and to let go of the rest.

2. I can trust my intuition

That quiet little voice way down inside you is pretty darn smart. It knows what matters to you. It knows who you are. It knows what you can do if you get behind a decision. The trouble is, with all the pressure to succeed and get things right, it’s easy to not hear it among the sound and fury of everything else.

But it never goes away. Your intuition is there, right now. It’ll give you huge clues about what’s next, and it will always try to tell you what you need to know.

All it takes is the belief that you can trust your intuition; then you just need to practice hearing it.

3. I’m more than my circumstances

When you’re stuck, all you can see are the walls around you. Whichever way you turn, you just can’t seem to find a way out or through, so you keep on butting up against those walls, getting more and more frustrated, tired and disillusioned.

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After a while, it’s easy to start defining yourself by the circumstances you find yourself in. You may think you’re small, stuck and not good enough.

The truth is that you’re vastly capable, and have barely touched the ceiling of that capability. You have strengths, talents and experiences that amount to something. You have options, choices and the ability to make things happen. You have potential and possibility in your fingertips. You’re way more than any circumstances.

4. My next move doesn’t have to be “right”

The world rams success down your throat and tells you that you’re less than if you’re not successful. The pressure that creates to be successful and have your next choice be the “right” one is immense, and you can endlessly pressure, doubt and second-guess yourself in pursuit of what’s right.

But there is no right way. If I can paraphrase Frank Sinatra, there’s only your way. Pressuring yourself to get it right will get you nowhere fast, so what if there was no right or wrong answer?

How about simply believing that whatever happens, you can always make a great choice?

5. I can gently explore what’s next for me

Decisions are strange things. We sometimes in invest so much in them that we think everything hinges on our next choice; that it’s make or break, flourish or flounder, live or die.

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The stories you tell yourself about what’s next for you and the drama inherent in those stories cast you as the protagonist struggling against the odds, and they can feel compelling enough to keep you stuck for a very long time.

But things don’t have to be full of drama and weight. Look at a choice with a sense of playfulness rather than fear. Approach an opportunity with curiosity rather than dread. Take that next step with light feet rather than dragging your heels.

De-dramify where you’re at and go play instead.

6. I don’t need to judge the process

Do you blame yourself for being stuck? Do you beat yourself up for not being able to move forward? Or perhaps you blame other people or circumstances for not giving you what you need?

However much you might resist it, life will always be full of twists and turns; those ups and downs are part of the deal. Judging the swings and roundabouts of life is like blaming a year for having a winter, so watch yourself when you’re judging or blaming things for being how they are.

Embrace the process, don’t beat on it.

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7. Asking for help doesn’t make me “less than”

Ever felt like you need to solve your problems by yourself? What about feeling like you shouldn’t bother someone else with your “stuff”? Or, maybe you feel too ashamed or embarrassed to ask for help?

When you’re stuck, it feels as though it’s just you, doesn’t it? You see other people going about their lives, getting things done and having fun doing it, so you might think that nobody else gets stuck like you. But they do. You just don’t see what’s happening in their heads or hearts.

Asking for help and support doesn’t make you weak any more than having a bowl of pasta makes you Italian. It’s sometimes the bravest and wisest thing you can do, and we’re all stronger and better when we’re connected. You don’t have to do this alone.

The bottom line?

You’re only as stuck as you let yourself believe you are. There are always options and there are always choices. What counts then, are the beliefs you hold about what you do—or don’t do—next.

What’s your next move?

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More by this author

Steve Errey

Steve is a confidence coach who helps leaders build confidence.

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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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