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7 Impossible Goals You Need To Stop Going After

7 Impossible Goals You Need To Stop Going After
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Setting goals is a critical aspect of both short and long-term success. Goals help propel you forward, keeping you focused and on track. Goals can also transform unconquerable mountains into passable hills. These are the seemingly “impossible” goals worthy of pursuing. While difficult to achieve, these incredible endeavors stretch you, bring out your best and force you to find new opportunities and resources.

However, some goals are not labeled impossible goals just because they are really, really hard. They are labeled impossible because they actually cannot be achieved. Save yourself the heartache and kick these energy suckers to the curb. Here are 7 impossible goals you need to stop pursuing:

1. Aiming to Please Everyone and Avoiding Conflict

Bill Cosby once said, “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” He was right. Life is comprised of duality, but aiming to please everyone and avoiding conflict is an impossible pursuit. At some point you are going to ruffle some feathers. Not everyone is going to want to do business with you. There will be some who turn their noses at your crusade. That’s okay.

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Whatever the circumstances, one of two things will likely happen: 1) those not of the same mindset or interested will simply leave you to do your good work, uninterrupted or 2) those who do not immediately leave will be challenged by you and perhaps come away with a different point of view. Be open to different perspectives, without being rattled.

2. Never Experiencing Failure

In John Maxwell’s book, Failing Forward, he says, “Fail early, fail often, but always fail forward.” What a great way to look at failure! Failure ends many good endeavors because it’s perceived as an indicator of worthiness and most of us cannot endure the pain. We cannot conceive of failing greatly and having to try all over again. Failure is going to happen. It’s inevitable. The sooner you face, accept and utilize it, the faster you will achieve success.

3. Achieving Success Without Making Any Mistakes

Where failure represents a possible end result, mistakes occur as a part of the process. I’m of the belief that there are no mistakes. There are choices, and those choices have consequences. We only consider a choice a mistake if we don’t like the consequence. If the consequence is favorable, we don’t consider the choice a mistake.

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So do we really make mistakes or do we merely learn from the consequences we face? Either way, it’s the little stumbles that make us stronger. If you’ve made a choice and the consequences are not favorable, learn from the lessons and apply them as you continue your journey to greater success.

4. Being in Love All of the Time

All relationships are cyclical. The stages include getting to know each other, infatuation, passion, intimacy, compassion and back to getting to know each other all over again. The passion that comes with feeling and being in love is the most celebrated stage. This is when the sparks fly! Unfortunately, no relationship can sustain that level of intensity indefinitely. Hopefully those strong emotions resurface cyclically, but having an expectation of always experiencing romantic fiery love will leave you assuming something is wrong when you’re not feeling it.

All stages of relationships are important to grow closer and fall more deeply in love. Acknowledge where you are in your relationship and enjoy it!

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5. Being the Best in Every Area of Your Life

Diluting your energy, focus and resources trying to master or perfect several areas is a quick path to mediocrity. Just as we can’t be all things to all people, we can’t be perfect in every area of our lives. We all have strengths and weaknesses. We can collaborate with others to fill in our gaps, and our strengths can be invaluable to others.

Identify your strengths and your priorities and put your energy there. I have a friend whose favorite acronym is FOCUS: Follow One Course Until Success. It’s brilliant and has led him to be an expert in a very specific area and he has capitalized on that.

6. Never Having to Ask for Help

Why is asking for help so difficult? It is because we perceive it as a sign of weakness? Does it make us seem needy or incompetent? Whatever it is, thinking you can go it alone will leave you struggling far longer than is necessary. This is an unproductive and highly stressful way to live. There is going to come a time when you are in dire need of help. Accept that reality and don’t be afraid to reach out to others when some assistance is needed. To build this muscle, start by asking for small favors. “Do you have a piece of gum?”

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7. Staying Young Forever

Bette Davis said it best: “Old age ain’t no place for sissies.” Age is a state of mind and youthfulness will lend a quality of life that will serve you as grow older. Extreme practices to maintain an appearance of youth are futile. You can’t stay young forever, at least not where the hands of time are concerned. Play for as long as you can play, but don’t try to defeat aging. Embrace it and live your life.

There is something to appreciate at every stage; what do like about your current age?

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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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