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Starting Today You Can Live A Unique Life If You Take These 10 Steps

Starting Today You Can Live A Unique Life If You Take These 10 Steps
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You’ve dreamed about it. You want it. You wonder if it’s really possible. You worry about being realistic. You worry about failing miserably. You worry about missing out. In your heart, you know you’re ready to live a different life. It doesn’t matter that it might seem odd to everyone around you to want something out of the norm. Your heart is calling you to reach for a life that is unique. Well, it’s possible. You can do it.

Here are 10 steps to help you start living a unique life – right here, right now, starting today!

1. Define Unique

Most people have never thought about what a unique life would look like for them. Think about it. If you designed a unique life for yourself, what would that life be? Define how unique would look like is the first step to living it. Your unique life is like your fingerprint. It was not meant to be exactly like anyone else’s life. It’s yours and yours alone. Describe it in detail. Write it down right now. Who knows, you might already be living your unique life and didn’t even realize it.

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2. Decide To Make It Happen

Ok, so maybe your current circumstances don’t exactly measure up to your unique life. That’s okay. Today is the day you begin to live a unique life if you decide to make today the day you begin to live a unique life. It may sound like an oversimplification but it is not. You have more control over the life you live than you may realize. Right now, today, make the decision to live a unique life. Now, don’t get ahead of yourself with the excuses and challenges. Just say ‘Yes’ to doing everything within your power to live your unique life.

3. Stop Making Excuses

If you’re going to live a unique life, you must stop making excuses. Yes, even the really good reasons and real problems. Excuses, all of them. Each reason you have not to live the unique life you were meant to live is a terrible excuse born out of your doubt, fear and uncertainty. Think about it again, YOUR unique life. Custom-made, designed especially with you in mind. Those reasons to delay beyond today are just excuses. Don’t settle for anything less. Stop justifying and rationalizing your fears. You don’t even need to fight them. Just set them down right over there. We’ll come back to them in a moment.

4. Allow Your Heart To Guide You

Part of living your unique life is understanding your true heart’s calling. Shhh. Listen. Tune into your inner wisdom. The more clarity you have about your heart’s calling the easier it is to find the focus, courage and consistency to pursue it. If you are going to start living your unique life, you’re going to need to hear what your heart is telling you. Rational has it place. Right now, let’s work with the emotional. Visualize your unique life. Notice how it’s making you feel. Focus on the courage, joy, the peace, the excitement. Turn up the volume on the love and peace that swells in your heart. Pull out the courage and wisdom that is growing there. Let it spread. Love is stronger than fear. Focus on your heart guidance and the joyful feelings grow until they overshadow your fears.

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5. Feed Your Curiosity

Did you realize you are built to follow your heart? Even without knowing or fully understanding your purpose, you have had moments when you were living your unique life. When you feed your curiosity, you allow your authentic self to gravitate to the things that give you life and happiness. Feed your curiosity. Follow that rabbit down that hole and see where it takes you. Your most powerful purposeful self is guiding you to stumble upon that unique life. How can you build space in your day to pursue something you are curious about? The more you feed your curiosity, the more you can see the trends and patterns in what interests you. Passions and purpose are tied to your curiosity. Explore what interests you.

6. Keep Learning

Don’t just feed your curiosity, go deeper. Explore nuances. Pursue theories. Sit and think. Google it. Become an expert on whatever it is that makes your unique life unique. Learn everything and anything you can about it. Find your community. You might not know anyone else in the world who shares your interest but they are out there. Learning is a life long pursuit. Allow your most powerful purposeful self to encourage you to keep learning more about the things that are interesting about the unique life you have decided to live.

7. Do More Of What You Love

Where your attention goes, energy flows. Spend time doing more of what your most powerful purposeful self loves to do. Build your life around it. It’s not enough to talk about living this life, get up, get out and start living. Take a step in the right direction. Even if it isn’t a perfect step, you are moving in the right direction. Each day you take a step toward your unique life, the closer you get to it being your consistent reality. Life is too short to spend time doing things you don’t love.

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8. Stop Doing What You Don’t Love

This is simple. If you don’t love it, if it is not purposeful and pulling you toward your unique life, stop doing it. Now sometimes we do things we would rather not do because it facilitates something we love. That’s maturity. Don’t discard necessary steps on your long range path to design your unique life. This is why clarity about your unique purpose is so important. If you are clear on your direction, you can make better decisions about what you love and why you love it.

9. Be Courageous

When you make a decision to go against the grain or do something purposeful, life will test you to see how serious you are. Challenges will pop up to test your resolve. Obstacles and risks will block your path. Living a unique life calls for the courage to enforce your personal boundaries and set priorities. You cannot live your unique life if you are busy living a life someone else decided they wanted you to live. It’s said if you don’t take risks, you’ll live your life working for someone who will. Be bold, be courageous with your priorities. Say yes to things that challenge you. Say no to things that distract from your unique life.

10. Check Back In To See How You’re Doing

If you decide today is the day you are going to start living your unique life, don’t forget to check back in later today and again tomorrow to see how you’re doing. What’s the difference between the life you wanted to live and the life you are living? Are you getting closer? Did you get distracted? Be accountable to your bold courageous declaration and stick to it! When you check your progress, each day becomes another chance to get closer to your unique life or to jump up out of bed to live it all over again!

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Featured photo credit: mgf26.jpg/GaborfromHungary via mrg.bz

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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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