One of the keys to successful public speaking and overcoming fear is to have a positive mindset. An attitude of being ready and prepared and that you are going to succeed. I enclose 6 of my favourite strategies to help you achieve a positive mindset so you can take on daunting and scary speaking assignments.
TIP #1: Ready Fire Aim – or as Nike say “Just Do It”
For a long time the paradigm has always been Ready Aim Fire. You need to get ready, then aim and research and ensure that everything is perfect before you launch into your project. You double check, you do your risk analysis, you do your SWOT analyses and then you double check it all again. Now the new paradigm is Ready Fire Aim. This means that sometimes you jump in at the deep end, you take a risk and you get out of your comfort zone. I spent 5 years thinking about my small business, just dreaming and planning but never acting. When one day I handed in my resignation for my full time job, I had fired and I was now in small business. Ready Fire Aim prevents the curse of perfectionism, procrastination and analyses paralyses that comes from too much aiming.
TIP #2: Use Positive Affirmations
Find those saying or words that really mean something to you. They can be famous quotes or energizing chants or other words of wisdom. Affirmations can be used to create a winning mind set by replacing self-doubt, negative self-talk and even negative talk from other around you. Dr Susan Jeffers in her bestselling book, “Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway” talks about the power of positive affirmations. My favorite affirmations are:
- If it’s to be it is up to me.
- I am in control of my own life
- One step at a time is enough for me
- I cannot fail, I can only learn
- There are no mistakes in life, only lessons
- My life is unfolding just perfectly
What affirmations can you use when self-doubt creeps in?
TIP #3: Create a Positive Mind Set
This is about thinking positive, successful and winning thoughts. Use these to replace any doubts or thoughts of failure. Henry Ford said “whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you are usually right”. Ellen Langer said “Our limits are of our own making”.
These thoughts and our mind set are sometimes referred to as self-fulfilling prophecies. So have a positive prophecy rather than a negative prophecy. It takes great strength and self-belief to continue when everyone tells you that you are not good enough, you won’t make it, and you won’t be able to do it.
TIP #4 Use Visualizations:
Dr. Charles Garfield looked into peak performers and peak performance. He found that all the peak performers are visualizers. They see it, they feel it, and they experience it before they actually do it. They begin with the end in mind. In neuro linguistic programming (NLP) they would call it future pacing. So visualizing your success and imagining a positive outcome is a big step toward achieving that outcome. Victor Frankel, during his internment at a WWII concentration camp, always imagined and visualized what he would do on his release. He survived where many didn’t.
TIP #5 Be Prepared Rather than Reactive
Use practice and use repetition and expand your comfort zone to be ready for those opportunities that come your way. Publilius Syrus, a famous Latin writer said, “practice is the best of all instructors.” Anthony Robbins said “Repetition is the mother of skill”. Be deliberate and be consistent over time and have a structured and planned persistence. Deliberate and planned persistence helps you get in a winning mindset and a learning mindset.
TIP #6: Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining.
Look for the lessons in every experience and everything that you are involved with. Some outcomes are positive, some are negative and some are ambivalent, but what did you learn. What was the lesson? If you approach ever situation as a learning event and you value the lessons, then you can approach all situations with a positive mindset, knowing that you cannot lose and regardless of outcome you will receive great wisdom and learning. Dr. Susan Jeffers describes this as a “no lose mindset.” And to quote one of my favourite affirmations, “There are no mistakes in life, only lessons”.
Which strategies are you going to use to ensure that you have a positive mindset before your next presentation?