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How and Why You Should Stop Changing Others

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How and Why You Should Stop Changing Others

By trying or wanting to change others, you’re setting yourself up for failure. You were put into this world to make a mark for yourself, not for others. The key to resist the urge to change others is simply to focus upon yourself.

Here are some ways to do that:

1. You are the only one who can change.

You are here in this life to be the best you can be. Develop the mental strength to improve your own weaknesses and change your own self-sabotaging habits. You can only change yourself because you’re the only one who knows your heart, your thoughts, your past, your struggles and your fears. Working on these things are what promotes change. Therefore, when you try and change someone else, you set yourself up for failure because you don’t know the true thoughts and feelings of others as well as you know yourself. For this reason, it is impossible to change another person.

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2. You need to identify at least one thing that you love about you.

Start by identifying one thing about you that is an absolute strength. Cling to this every single day. Find ways in work and personal life to improve this quality. Use it to your advantage by finding ways to use it to improve your life situation. Some examples include being a good salesperson, a good writer, a good marketer, or whatever. Play to this one strength more than your other strengths and find ways to coordinate your business and personal life to fit this strength in.

3. You need to write down your dreams and passions.

What is your passion? When you wake up in the morning, what are some of the things that you want to accomplish? Write these down. As you go about your days, keep these things in the back of your mind and find little baby steps to take that will pave the way toward some of these things. Think about them every single morning and make a commitment to look for at least one tiny thing you can do each day to move you in the direction of these passions. Don’t think about others or what they’re doing wrong. Just focus on you and what you can do to improve your life.

4. You must accept people for who and where they are in life right now.

One of the worst things you can do to yourself is wish that the people in your life were different, or had made different choices. You cannot control the destiny of others. Whether you condone the choices of others or not, accept them exactly for who they are and where they’re at today.

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5. You should connect with the feeling of relief.

Instead of looking for ways to manipulate others to change, look at them with gratitude. Find their strengths and praise them. Be grateful that you don’t possess the weaknesses they do, and if you do possess them, find solace in the fact that you have the power to overcome those weaknesses…in your life, but not their lives.

6. You must accept your situation and circumstances as they are.

Acceptance brings peace. Peace suffocates resistance and resentment. When you’re finally able to accept your life circumstances, you’ll be able to dig deep and take the steps necessary to change those circumstances. Go easy on yourself. Come to terms with past mistakes and choices that weren’t very wise and use them to catapult you forward.

7. You must deflect drama.

The best way to deflect drama is to mind your own business. Don’t gossip about other people, or repeat their personal struggles. Using your energy in this manner drains you so that you’re not as apt to work on your own goals. In addition, never allow others to drag you into their problems or fight their battles for them. Most of all, avoid negative confrontation. All three of the aforementioned circumstances suck your energy and take the focus off of you.

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8. You should revise your goals often to stay on track.

Every so often go back and look at the list you made of your passions. Take stock. Are you actively taking baby steps to work toward these? If not, realign your focus so that each day you’re taking at least one tiny step in the direction of one or more of these.

9. You need to have patience with others.

Part of accepting others as they are, as well as accepting your own life situation is to have patience and empathy for others. Don’t waste energy getting angry or intolerant of others’ mistakes. At the same time, give yourself some approval and encouragement and be patient with yourself.

10. You must forgive.

In order to preserve your energy and keep a positive attitude, always remember to forgive as many times as you’re offended. If you can’t do this for the other person, do it for yourself. When you find it difficult to forgive, try and look at the admirable qualities in those that offend you. Compliment and encourage these qualities in them and you’ll fine that in time, it’s easier to forgive and all you will see are the positive attributes. By doing this, you’re deflecting negative thoughts and feelings. This leaves your subconscious with positive energy that you can then focus on yourself with.

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As you can see, the trick to stop changing others is to focus on you and you only. Take baby steps each day and gradually incorporate each one of these steps into your routine. Pretty soon, not only will your frustration and intolerance of others disintegrate, but you will find it much easier and more productive to just focus on your dreams and your passion. These are mental skills that you can easily develop over time and drastically change your path in life.

Featured photo credit: http://www.morguefile.com/creative/ecerroni via morguefile.com

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Lynn Silva

Lynn Silva helps solo and entrepreneurs develop mental skills for business.

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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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