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7 Ways To Have Amazing Relationships When Chasing Dreams

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7 Ways To Have Amazing Relationships When Chasing Dreams

I read somewhere the right person always comes into your life at the wrong time. In my experiences, this is very accurate. I think this happens because we don’t truly appreciate something when it’s handed to us. Most people feel more possessive of what we’ve worked for, be it a goal, item or person’s affection.

We’ve all had dreams. You might have wanted to be a fireman, school teacher, doctor or business person who makes so much money you could buy anything your heart desired and crush anyone in your path. Whatever your dream is, the way you get to the end result is to set goals. Your dream is the long-term goal but a lot needs to happen before you get there. Inevitably along the way, you will be smitten with someone.

You might decide to focus on the end game and pass on taking on anything which could distract you from your goal. Or you may decide to take a chance and give the relationship a shot. Deciding to accept another person into your life will immediately split up your free time and focus. Below are essential things you’ll need to do if you want the relationship to last after the new relationship feeling wears off.

Take your relationship seriously.

Making your relationship a priority is important. When you are focused on chasing dreams, it’s easy to put blinders on and give everything else the minimum amount of attention needed. Minimum attention might work here and there once you have an established relationship, but you need a great foundation first.

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When you are a couple of months into a relationship, you start to slack off and fall back into your old habits and routines. Slacking off at this point is a mistake if you want to keep the relationship going. Showing effort to talk and share company can go a long way.

Listening to your partner is a must.

Listening means more than hearing words. Aside from small talk, people tell you things because they want you to know about their life. They want to involve you. Sure what they are saying can be mind-numbingly boring to you, but they are telling you for a reason. Try to be part of the conversation instead of just a pair of ears to talk at.

Asking a few questions about what they are talking about can give you insight into the way they think and why they react to things the way they do. You might not know your new boyfriend lets out a girlish shriek when he sees a ladybug due to trauma caused by his older brother when they were kids. Listening to his story about how he was driving to work and had to screech the car to a halt because there was a bug in the car might clue you in. Asking about the incident might help you know him better.

Set relationship goals like you did for your dreams.

Goals in a relationship might seem a little bit out of place to some. However, knowing if your partner wants kids, marriage, to travel the world or all of the above is very advantageous to the relationship. When the two of you aren’t on the same path and there isn’t a middle ground, consider calling it quits. A relationship is a collaboration of your lives to make one happy life for two people.

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Goals aren’t always marriage, travel and stuff like that. Relationship goals can be financial goals such as getting out of debt, moving in together or how to be involved in a child’s life when one of you is a single parent. Remember, not all of your goals need to be lofty; they are meant to be something to work toward together.

Take a deep breath, think and respond to loved ones.

Stress can take its toll on a relationship. When one or both of you is overwhelmed, you can easily take out your frustration on the other. When you feel overwhelmed, remember your better half is there for you. When you belittle and take out your frustrations on him or her, he or she is not the cause of your frustration.

When things aren’t going your way, try taking a deep breath, relax and talk with your partner. Having a civilized talk will accomplish a couple of things for you and your relationship. While talking about your situation out loud to someone else, you could come up with a solution. It works for the people on Wheel of Fortune doesn’t it?

Talking it over with your partner will help him or her feel a part of the relationship. He or she will appreciate you valuing him or her enough to involve him or her. If you try to do everything yourself, the other person in the relationship can wonder where to fit into your life.

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Little things add up and make a big difference.

Little things are just that, little. Making it a habit to pay attention to the person you choose to be in a relationship with will go a long way. Here’s an example: If your girlfriend asks you to go to an antique store and points out a beat up kid’s rocking chair she really likes, you might not see it as anything more than something you’re going to kick in the dark on your way to the bathroom in the middle of the night. However, if you were to go back and buy it for her, she will see it in a couple of ways.

She will see you didn’t just zone out when she took you to a place she likes. She will also see you listened to her and why she liked the rocking chair. A lot of times it’s the gesture more than the actual action that counts. The saying about it’s the thought that counts applies here. When she says, “AWWWWW… you remembered I liked the chair because it’s like the one I had as a little girl!,” you did it right.

No matter how busy your schedule, make time for your partner.

Some people will disagree with me, but date nights work. The key is not to have the same dinner and a movie date every single time. Mix it up. One time you pick the activity and the next time let him. I have begrudgingly agreed to go places and do things I had no interest in but now I really look forward to those things.

When both of you have busy schedules, making the gesture to spend time with someone means that much more.

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Talk to your partner in a way he or she understands.

I’m sure you know how differently men and women are when it comes to how they need to hear things. The same can be true for two people. When one of you is going to school for a masters degree in journalism, you will value some things differently when your husband is focusing on being the best step-dad he can.

Getting to know the person you share your days with will clue you into wording to use to describe your thoughts and actions. I don’t mean you should get to know how to sweet-talk, I mean you should know if he wants to know just the facts, if you need to beat around the bush and let him guess, if he likes it sugared up or if you need to use more layman’s terms to talk about your situation. When he can understand what the heck you are talking about, you will get a lot further and the conversation will be more productive.

Talking about what’s going on and what the other person’s focus is can seem like a time-suck and not necessary but it really is. If you aren’t talking to your partner, he or she can only assume what you’re doing based on past experiences. Speculation is rarely a good thing in a relationship. The more you play the “what if” game, the more misunderstandings you’ll have. Just talk it out.

While I talked mostly about a spouse, these apply to relationships with family and friends too. Any relationship can get stagnant and fizzle out if you don’t work at it. Every relationship is the result of the work both put into it.

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Featured photo credit: chase-your-dreams via flickr.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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