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7 Steps To Understanding Yourself That Makes Dealing With Difficult People Easier

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7 Steps To Understanding Yourself That Makes Dealing With Difficult People Easier

Can you think of a time where you were fuming because you seriously just could NOT handle dealing with difficult people anymore?

It can be frustrating to deal with difficult people. It can test our patience and our limits. When a person is purposely being difficult and pushing your buttons, it may seem almost impossible not to blow up and put them in their place.

But today I wanted to share with you an invitation to let go.

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After reading Byron Katie’s book “Loving What Is” when I was getting my coaching training, it seriously transformed the way I look at conflicts and how I feel about them. In this post, I’m going to show you how understanding yourself makes it easier to deal with “difficult people.”

Although I have the practical business and marketing expertise, I have Life Coach training as well and have always placed very high value on personal development and self-discovery (that’s also a part of why I call myself a Holistic Business Coach). I believe it’s crucial to spend time learning and exploring who you are in order to become successful in your business. I do this process with my clients sometimes when they need it or direct them to the book for private exploration.

It’s life-changing.

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Step 1. Write down what’s annoying you about someone

Take out a piece of paper and write about the person that’s being difficult or annoying to you. Write in full sentences and in a way that really shows how you feel about it. For example, “Katie is really frustrating, she never cleans the apartment! She’s so lazy!” Be brutally honest with yourself when you do this – no one will see this piece of paper and the more truthful you are during this exercise, the better this Work will hep you.

Step 2. Ask yourself “Is this true?”

Then take it sentence by sentence and run each sentence you wrote through a series of questions below. For example, for the question “Katie never cleans the apartment” – ask yourself “Is this true?” See what comes up for you.

Step 3. Ask yourself “Can I absolutely know that it’s true?”

If you’re really frustrated with yourself, the answer that might come up to the previous question might be “Yes.” When that happens, ask yourself “Can I absolutely know that it’s true?” because you have to be completely 100% sure that what you are stating is, in fact, reality. Does Katie really never clean the apartment? Has she never cleaned an apartment? Not at all? Is it still a no? Well, how would you know? Do you monitor what Katie does 24/7? Chances are, that’s a no. So there’s a chance that the answer to this question is actually “No” because you cannot be 100% sure that she never cleans. She might clean sometimes when you’re not home. Who knows.

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Step 4. Recognize how you react when you think that thought

Think the original negative thought. “Katie never cleans the apartment” – Agh, how frustrating is this!? Recognize how you react when you think this thought. Do you react with frustration, anger, resentment, something else? Recognize it. Verbalize it so it really creates that impact on you.

Step 5. Ask yourself “Who or What would I be without the thought?”

This question is really important. Ask yourself how you would go through life if you were unable to think the thought “Katie never cleans the apartment” in the presence of Katie or ever. Would you feel more peaceful? More relaxed? How would you be in her presence without this thought? Would you be friendlier and happier and actually able to enjoy her presence rather than focusing on the fact she hasn’t cleaned? Most likely it’s a Yes. This question and inquiry makes you realize that the only reason why you see the person as “difficult” or frustrating is because of your own thought about it. Not about what the person has actually done – it’s your thought around it that makes you feel this way.

Step 6. Can you see a reason to drop the thought?

Since the thought is what causes all the negative feelings inside of you, can you see a stress-free reason to not actually have the thought? It’s important that you know that you can’t actually drop a thought. You can’t make that happen. But once you recognize that the thought is no longer necessary and you recognize all the things around it, the thought may float away on its own.

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Step 7. Turn the statement around

After you’ve done the inquiry it’s time to turn the statement around. Replace the name of the person in the statement with “you.” You’re basically turning the statement around to be about you. So “Katie never cleans the apartment” becomes “I never clean the apartment.” Think whether the new statement sounds as true or truer to you than the original statement you wrote.

Some eye opening a-ha moments may ensue!

Just spend the time and really do this and inquire within. Also, make sure you don’t just skip forward to the last statement, you have to do the questions first in order for this to truly make a positive effect. Hope this helps!

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Featured photo credit: joltevic via morguefile.com

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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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