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Do These 7 Things To Make Sure Your Life Matters

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Do These 7 Things To Make Sure Your Life Matters

We all want to make our mark on this world. But how many of us are actually doing it? Maybe you think you are, or maybe you don’t, but it’s never too late to think about how you can make the world a better place. If you really want to leave a legacy after you’re gone, but you’re at a loss for what to do differently, remember these 7 things.

1. Teach empathy.

Empathy is a lost art, unfortunately. We live in a world where we teach people to be self-absorbed. If you don’t believe me, just look at social media. In essence, a “status update” implicitly says “Look at me! Look at me! I’m important and you’re not!” Not that there’s anything wrong with social media. But when we are so focused on getting attention from other people that we forget to show love and compassion for their pain, then I think it goes to far. So try to reach out to others and recognize their grief and struggles. Help them. Love them.

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2. Spread kindness and positive energy.

People will remember you in one very simple way: how you make them feel. Do you lift them up? Do you make them feel better about themselves? Do they want to spend more time with you because they love your positive energy and outlook on life? Or, to the contrary, do people think you’re an “Energy Vampire” who sucks the life out of others? Do you whine, complain, nag, and repeat your negative “soap operas” over and over so much that you make people want to run for the hills and never come back? Hopefully you don’t do that. But even if you do, you have the power to change. Start choosing new thoughts and words. Make people feel happy that they know you—not the opposite.

3. Teach other people life lessons you have learned.

The older we get, the more we learn. When we are kids, we think we know everything—that is, until we really start experiencing life and eventually realize how little we actually do know. Did you have a phase in your life where you drank and partied so much that you almost flunked out of school? Or maybe you were in an abusive relationship until you woke up and decided to love yourself enough to walk away. If so, take those life experiences and pass down the lessons to the next generation. Heck, it doesn’t even need to be the next generation. Just pass them along to anyone who needs to learn what you did.

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4. Put people first.

Our world values money—a lot. And not that there is anything wrong with money! Everyone loves money! But if you are so consumed with money, or power, or success (or anything else) that you forget how important people are, then you need to re-evauate your life. Treat everyone with love and respect—even your “enemies.” Treat the janitor the same way you would treat the president of the company you work for. Realize that everyone really just wants to be loved, accepted, and affirmed. It’s pretty simple. So live by the “Golden Rule” and do unto others as you would have done unto you.

5. Figure out your passion and do more of it.

Do you love creating art? Do you love writing? Do you love fishing? Whatever your passion is, do it more. You might even be able to find a way to channel it into a career. Perhaps you write in your journal or keep a blog just for the fun of it.  But maybe you can find writer’s classes to teach you how to write that novel you always had in your head. If so, do it. There is nothing more beautiful when passion meets a life purpose. The more passionate people we have in the world, the better it will be.

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6. Spend your money on experiences you will remember instead of on things you don’t need.

As the saying goes, “You can’t take it with you.” In other words, money is wonderful, but you can’t take it into the next world when you die. When you’re gone, all people will have is the memories they created with you. So if you’re using your money to buy huge house just to impress people, then maybe you’re channeling your money in the wrong direction. Instead, maybe you should downsize your house and take your family on vacations. Those are the things people remember, so re-evaluate your priorities when it comes to spending your money.

7. Keep a healthy level of social media interaction.

Sure, it’s great to re-connect with lost friends and keep up with long-distance family members. But if you find that you are literally narrating your life on social media for the whole world to see, then maybe you’ve gone too far. If you’re on vacation with your family in Disney World but you have to stop every 5 minutes to take selfies and upload them to your social media sites, then you are missing the point of a vacation. Instead, be in the moment. Enjoy the NOW. There will be time later to upload those photos. So try to disengage from social media a little bit and come back to the real world more often. You’ll be glad you did.

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Everyone’s lives matter. But if you have a sneaking suspicion that maybe you could change your ways just a little to make sure that you leave a positive legacy when you depart this world, then remember these things on a daily basis. That way, your life will have a positive impact for generations to come.

More by this author

Carol Morgan

Dr. Carol Morgan is the owner of HerSideHisSide.com, a communication professor, dating & relationship coach, TV personality, speaker, and author.

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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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