the 3 secret weapons of every successful entrepreneur

improve yourself

“People often ask me how I became a successful entrepreneur? Those same people often want to know what personality traits are inherent in entrepreneurs who are successful. Okay folks I will let you in on a little secret; ENTREPRENEURS ARE CREATED NOT BORN!

I began my journey in the internet marketing business with a very limited knowledge of the internet. In fact, I had never used the internet for anything more than sending an occasional email. I did encounter frustrating obstacles and at times giving up seemed plausible. Within those fleeting moments, I realized that there are three attributes that will sustain an entrepreneur as they struggle to reach their goals. I have learned to develop and perfect these qualities because with them I become invincible. These are the key ingredients to your recipe for success!

 1_Optimism 

Ever heard of a self fulfilling prophecy? You have to believe in yourself! If you truly believe that you can achieve your dreams then you will. If you surround yourself with positive things then you are creating the environment for success.

2_Persistence 

When things get difficult you can either give up or make a conscious decision to keep trying. It is the nothing ventured, nothing gained mentality that drives success! You have to constantly re-evaluate your goals and modify your plan of attack to fit them accordingly. Determination is a defining factor in EVERY entrepreneur!

3_Resilience 

No matter how optimistic or persistent you are some people will not be open to your vision. Rejection is a natural part of life. That should not impede the pursuit of your dream. I look at rejection as a learning process. What valuable information can I take away from this situation that will help me in the future?

The only person who can absolutely defeat you is yourself! All the others are only temporary set backs. So what are you waiting for? It is your turn to seize your dreams!”

Rebekah Prather

forget about setting goals: focus on systems

work smarter

“We all have things that we want to achieve in our lives: getting into the better shape, building a successful business, raising a wonderful family, writing a best-selling book, winning a championship, and so on. And for most of us, the path to those things starts by setting a specific and actionable goal. At least, this is how I approached my life until recently. I would set goals for classes I took, for weights that I wanted to lift in the gym, and for clients I wanted in my business.

What I’m starting to realize, however, is that when it comes to actually getting things done and making progress in the areas that are important to you, there is a much better way to do things. It all comes down to the difference between goals and systems. Let me explain.

What’s the difference between goals and systems?

  • If you’re a coach, your goal is to win a championship. Your system is what your team does at practice each day.
  • If you’re a writer, your goal is to write a book. Your system is the writing schedule that you follow each week.
  • If you’re a runner, your goal is to run a marathon. Your system is your training schedule for the month.
  • If you’re an entrepreneur, your goal is to build a million dollar business. Your system is your sales and marketing process.

As an example, I just added up the total word count for the articles I’ve written this year: in the last 12 months I’ve written over 115,000 words (the typical book is about 50,000 to 60,000 words, so I have written enough to fill two books this year).

All of this is such a surprise because I never set a goal for my writing. I didn’t measure my progress in relation to some benchmark. I never set a word count goal for any particular article. I never said: “I want to write two books this year”.

What I did focus on was writing one article every monday and thursday. And after sticking to that schedule for 11 months, the result was 115,000 words. I focused on my system and the process of doing the work. In the end, I enjoyed the same (or perhaps better) results.

None of this is to say that goals are useless. However, I’ve found that goals are good forplanning your progress and systems are good for actually making progress.

Goals can provide direction and even push you forward in the short-term, but eventually a well-designed system will always win. Having a system is what matters. Committing to the process is what makes the difference.”

James Clear (jamesclear.com)

define your goals the night before

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“If the first thing you do in the morning is check your email, you’re setting yourself up for a day filled with reactive work. This can easily lock you into a cycle of dealing with pseudo-emergencies well into your evenings, leaving you drained and with little to no control over your larger priorities.

Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek offers some simple advice on how to focus on your goals: define your one or two most important to-dos before dinner, the day before.

Dan Pink, the NYT bestselling author of Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, gives similar advice: by spending some time the night before to write your goals down for the following day, you’ll return to the driver’s seat.

By Hamza Khan for 99u.com

9 strategies for becoming the best CEO you can be

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“Learning to be a better CEO is key for entrepreneurs who don’t set off to be managers and have fallen into the role by virtue of their own creation. Below are the top nine lessons from Xenios Thrasyvoulou, founder and CEO at PeoplePerHour.

1_Learn to ask what’s important. Learn to have three major priorities at any one time. Sure, you will always have a backlog of little things. But don’t become a victim of your to-do list. Develop daily amnesia — ask yourself what is most important every day.

2_Focus on stakeholder value. It’s easy to get too absorbed in your deep passion for what you do and lose sight of what you are there to do as CEO: drive stakeholder value. Create value for your customers, value for your team and value for your shareholders.

3_Tell stories. The best way to get your message across is through storytelling. Don’t use buzzwords, geek talk and heavy corporate language. Keep it human, light and humorous. You need to charm you team, your customers, your shareholders. People relate to stories, not buzzwords.

4_Have a deep sense of purpose. Ask yourself: if your business disappeared tomorrow, would it really matter? To whom? And why? Make a difference to the world.

5_Be the gatekeeper. Don’t confuse delegation with gatekeeping. You need to be the ultimate gatekeeper in your company — you are the one defining and setting the standard. People will push you to compromise your standards for the sake of moving faster or for more freedom. Don’t be tricked and stay true to yourself.

6_Set high goals. Don’t start small. Your team members will often tell you to to “start small.” If you start small you stay small! Start big and set big bold goals. If you set the goalpost low, you will be good at best. Stretch staff beyond their limits. They may complain that you expect too much, but in the end they will thank you for it. There is no greater reward then helping your employees achieve what they thought was unachievable.

7_Self-reflect and step up. Don’t confuse confidence with self-reflection. Great CEOs are very self-reflective and demanding of themselves. Don’t doubt yourself in front of your team. Doubt yourself when you go home and look in the mirror. Figure out what your team needs from you. If you’re not stepping up every day, you will remain stagnant.

8_Serve others. Your job as a CEO is to serve others more than they serve you. Stop thinking about what you need from people and ask them what they need from you. Figure out what your customers need, what your team needs, and what your shareholders need. Then help them make it happen.

9_Develop a thick skin. Being CEO of a business – especially if you are the founder – is an emotional roller coaster. You will have some very low moments. Don’t let the emotional pressure break you. People will read you better than you think, and if they smell vulnerability and weakness, you wield less power.”

Vía StartupCollective

 

15 daily habits of the rich and successful

improve yourself

“Want to grow rich? Why not follow the example of wealthy people by doing some of the very same things they do? You never know, these habits could be the key to your future success — at least, it’s worth a try!

1_Wake Up Early: You’re probably groaning at the very thought of it! But apparently, rich people are way more likely to do it than the rest of us.

2_Keep a To Do List: According to study author Tom Corley, “The daily To Do list is one of the tools the wealthy use to avoid procrastination, accomplish their goals, and maintain control over their day. Wealthy people understand that you cannot become wealthy if you procrastinate”.

3_Read: Love to read? If so, you’re in fine company! 86% of rich people love reading, compared to only 26% of poor people. And most of them make a habit of it. A staggering 88% of rich people read for 30 or more minutes each day — compared to a mere 2% of poor people.

4_Watch Less TV: If you’re one of the world’s richest people, you’re less likely to watch much TV. Maybe that’s because you’re too busy building and maintaining your wealth. Or maybe it’s just not a priority. 65% of the rich limit their TV watching to 1 hour or less per day. Only 24% of the poor do the same.

5_Avoid Reality TV: And when wealthy people do watch TV, it’s less likely to be the reality variety that they turn to. Only 10% watch reality TV — compared to 77% of poor people.

6_Get Your Kids to Volunteer: Giving back is something many rich people take seriously — as is teaching their children to do the right thing. Around 70% of rich people make their kids volunteer for at least 10 hours per month. Only 3% of poor people find themselves able to do the same.

7_Write Down Your Goals: How do the rich achieve so much? Maybe it’s because they’re so goal-oriented. They not only have goals — they also make a point of writing them down. Around 67% of the world’s wealthiest people put their goals into writing, compared to just 17% of the poorest.

8_Focus on Accomplishing a Specific Goal: The well off not only have a list of goals — they prioritize them and work hard to achieve them. A high 80% of wealthy people focus on accomplishing a specific goal. That compares to just 12% of poor people.

9_Listen to Audiobooks: Many rich people find an alternative way of squeezing extra reading time into their day. Around 63% of the wealthy listen to audiobooks during their commute. But only 5% of poor people are believed to do the same.

10_Limit Junk Food: Junk food might be cheap, but it’s also horrible for your health. Perhaps that’s why 70% of rich people limit junk food calories to 300 per day — whereas 97% of poor people eat more than 300 junk food calories each day.

11_Exercise: Most rich people place a high value on physical fitness. Around 76% of the wealthy exercise aerobically 4 days per week — compared to just 23% of the poor. Why? According to Tom Corley, “Wealthy people are healthy people. To wealthy people being healthy is about making more money. If they’re healthy they have fewer sick days, they’re exercising, they have more energy, they maintain health their entire lives so they can work longer careers”.

12_Network: Rich people realize the power of networking. 79% of the wealthy network for 5 or more hours each month. Poor people are less likely to put a lot of time into networking — only 16% say they spend over 5 hours doing so per month.

13_Encourage Your Kids to Read Non-Fiction: Rich people may be more likely to instill the importance of reading non-fiction into their children. Approximately 63% of rich people encourage their kids to read at least 2 non-fiction books each month — compared to just 3% of poor people.

14_Believe Good Habits Create Opportunity: A high proportion of rich people believe in establishing and maintaining good habits. Roughly 84% of the wealthy believe good habits create opportunity. Only 4% of the poor believe that. Conversely, 76% of the rich think bad habits have a negative impact. Only 9% of poor people are inclined to agree with them.

15_Believe in Lifelong Educational Opportunity: A high percentage of wealthy people see the benefits of a lifetime of learning. Roughly 86% believe in lifelong educational self-improvement — whereas only 5% of poor people can say the same.”

http://www.teendayz.com

 

5 things you should do every day before breakfast

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“You can’t add more hours to your day, but you can make the most out of those hours by being more productive. Here are five things you can make part of your early morning routine that will help add focus, energy and speed to the rest of your workday:

1_Wake up early
Giving yourself an extra hour in the morning sets the tone for the rest of your day. You can accomplish your morning goals, stay relaxed and leave for work in the right state of mind. This may be the hardest goal to turn into a habit, but remember, it’s self-reinforcing. Do this for a week, and you’ll find that you’ve increased your productivity enough that you’ll have time to go to bed at a reasonable hour to make waking up early less painful.

2_Exercise
30 minutes of moderate exercise equates to about two hours’ worth of extra productivity over an eight-hour work day. Get this done in the morning, and the boosted productivity you’ll gain will affect every hour you spend at the office. As an added bonus, your exercise time never gets overrun by emergencies and extra-long meetings.

3_Review your goals
Take 10 minutes first thing in the morning to review your most important goals for the day. That simple check-in with yourself will keep those goals in the front of your mind as the day tries to distract you from getting them done. Make a list of the two or three things that, if that’s all you accomplished, would let you go to bed at night feeling as if you’d made real progress.

4_Make a to-don’t list
Everybody has a short list of habits they want to quit. Whatever your to-don’ts are, write them down and then review them along with your other goals every morning to help you keep your eyes on that particular prize.

5_Meditate
You don’t have to sit with your legs crossed and chant ‘Om’ to meditate. Simply take 5 or 10 minutes to breathe, relax and focus on the things you find most important. Depending on your goals and your to-don’ts, this can be a formal relaxation practice, positive visualization exercises, prayer or just thinking intently about what doing your best that day will mean to your life, career, business and family.

Once you’ve accomplished all five of these tasks, eat breakfast before heading out for your day.”

Jason Brick writer and public speaker, freelance

the simple trick to achieving your goals

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“If you’re anything like the typical human, then you have dreams and goals in your life. In fact, there are probably many things — large and small — that you would like to accomplish. But there is one common mistake we often make when it comes to setting goals. The problem is this: we set a deadline, but not a schedule.

Instead of giving yourself a deadline to accomplish a particular goal and then feeling like a failure if you don’t achieve it, you should choose a goal that is important to you and then set a schedule to work towards it consistently. So set a shedule, not a deadline. That might not sound like a big shift, but it is.

Productive and successful people practice the things that are important to them on a consistent basis. The best weightlifters are in the gym at the same time every week. The best writers are sitting down at the keyboard every day. And this same principle applies to the best leaders, parents, managers, musicians, and doctors.”

James Clear writer

 

42 practical ways to improve yourself

improve yourself

“I’ve compiled 42 of my best tips which might be helpful in your personal growth journey. Some of them are simple steps which you can engage in immediately. Some are bigger steps which takes conscious effort to act on. Here they are:

  1. Read a book every day. Books are concentrated sources of wisdom. The more books you read, the more wisdom you expose yourself to. What are some books you can start reading to enrich yourself? Some books I’ve read and found useful are Think and Grow Rich, Who Moved My Cheese, 7 Habits, The Science of Getting Rich and Living the 80/20 Way. I’ve heard positive reviews for The Tipping Point, Outliers and The Difference Maker, so I’ll be checking them out soon.
  2. Learn a new language. As a Singaporean Chinese, my main languages are English, Mandarin and Hokkien (a Chinese dialect). Out of interest, I took up language courses in the past few years such as Japanese and Bahasa Indonesian. I realized learning a language is a whole new skill altogether and the process of acquainting with a new language and culture is a totally a mind-opening experience.
  3. Pick up a new hobby. Beyond just your usual favorite hobbies, is there something new you can pick up? Any new sport you can learn? Examples are fencing, golf, rock climbing, football, canoeing, or ice skating. Your new hobby can also be a recreational hobby. For example, pottery, Italian cooking, dancing, wine appreciation, web design, etc.  Learning something new requires you to stretch yourself in different aspects, whether physically, mentally or emotionally.
  4. Take up a new course. Is there any new course you can join? Courses are a great way to gain new knowledge and skills. It doesn’t have to be a long-term course – seminars or workshops serve their purpose too. I’ve been to a few workshops and they have helped me gain new insights which I had not considered before.
  5. Create an inspirational room. Your environment sets the mood and tone for you. If you are living in an inspirational environment, you are going to be inspired every day. In the past, I didn’t like my room at all because I thought it was messy and dull. A few years ago, I decided this was the end of it – I started on a “Mega Room Revamp” project and overhauled my room. The end result? A room I totally relish being in and inspires me to be at my peak every day.
  6. Overcome your fears. All of us have fears. Fear of uncertainty, fear of public speaking, fear of risk… All our fears  keep us in the same position and prevent us from growing. Recognize that your fears reflect areas where you can grow. I always think of fears as the compass for growth. If I have a fear about something, it represents something I’ve yet to address, and addressing it helps me to grow.
  7. Level up your skills. If you have played video games before especially RPGs, you’ll know the concept of leveling up – gaining experience so you can be better and stronger. As a blogger, I’m constantly leveling up my writing skills. As a speaker, I’m constantly leveling up my public engagement abilities. What skills can you level up?
  8. Wake up early. Waking up early (say, 5-6am) has been acknowledged by many (Anthony Robbins, Robin Sharma, among other self-help gurus) to improve your productivity and your quality of life. I feel it’s because when you wake up early, your mindset is already set to continue the momentum and proactively live out the day. Seth recently wrote a waking up early series which you should check out to help cultivate this habit.
  9. Have a weekly exercise routine. A better you starts with being in better physical shape. I personally make it a point to jog at least 3 times a week, at least 30 minutes each time. You may want to mix it up with jogging, gym lessons and swimming for variation.
  10. Start your life handbook. A life handbook is an idea I started 3 years ago. Basically, it’s a book which contains the essentials on how you can live your life to the fullest, such as your purpose, your values and goals. Sort of like your manual for your life. I started my life handbook since 2007 and it’s been a crucial enabler in my progress.
  11. Write a letter to your future self. What do you see yourself as 5 years from now? Will you be the same? Different?  What kind of person will you be? Write a letter to your future self – 1 year from now will be a good start – and seal it. Make a date in your calendar to open it 1 year from now. Then start working to become the person you want to open that letter.
  12. Get out of your comfort zone. Real growth comes with hard work and sweat. Being too comfortable doesn’t help us grow – it makes us stagnate. What is your comfort zone? Do you stay in most of the time? Do you keep to your own space when out with other people? Shake your routine up. Do something different. By exposing yourself to a new context, you’re literally growing as you learn to act in new circumstances.
  13. Put someone up to a challenge. Competition is one of the best ways to grow. Set a challenge (weight loss, exercise, financial challenge, etc) and compete with an interested friend to see who achieves the target first. Through the process, both of you will gain more than if you were to set off on the target alone.
  14. Identify your blind spots. Scientifically, blind spots refer to areas our eyes are not capable of seeing. In personal development terms, blind spots are things about ourselves we are unaware of. Discovering our blind spots help us discover our areas of improvement. One exercise I use to discover my blind spots is to identify all the things/events/people that trigger me in a day – trigger meaning making me feel annoyed/weird/affected. These represent my blind spots. It’s always fun to do the exercise because I discover new things about myself, even if I may already think I know my own blind spots (but then they wouldn’t be blind spots would they?). After that, I work on steps to address them.
  15. Ask for feedback. As much as we try to improve, we will always have blind spots. Asking for feedback gives us an additional perspective. Some people to approach will be friends, family, colleagues, boss, or even acquaintances, since they will have no preset bias and can give their feedback objectively.
  16. Stay focused with to-do lists. I start my day with a list of tasks I want to complete and this helps make me stay focused. In comparison, the days when I don’t do this end up being extremely unproductive. For example, part of my to-do list for today is to write a guest post at LifeHack.Org, and this is why I’m writing this now! Since my work requires me to use my computer all the time, I use Free Sticky Notes to manage my to-do lists. It’s really simple to use and it’s a freeware, so I recommend you check it out.
  17. Set Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAGs). I’m a big fan of setting BHAGs. BHAGs stretch you beyond your normal capacity since they are big and audacious – you wouldn’t think of attempting them normally. What are BHAGs you can embark on, which you’ll feel absolutely on top of the world once you complete them? Set them and start working on them.
  18. Acknowledge your flaws. Everyone has flaws. What’s most important is to understand them, acknowledge them, and address them. What do you think are your flaws? What are the flaws you can work on now? How do you want to address them?
  19. Get into action. The best way to learn and improve is to take action. What is something you have been meaning to do? How can you take action on it immediately? Waiting doesn’t get anything done. Taking action gives you immediate results to learn from.
  20. Learn from people who inspire you. Think about people you admire. People who inspire you. These people reflect certain qualities you want to have for yourself too. What are the qualities in them you want to have for yourself? How can you acquire these qualities?
  21. Quit a bad habit. Are there any bad habits you can lose? Oversleeping? Not exercising? Being late? Slouching? Nail biting? Smoking? Here’s some help on how you can quit a bad habit.
  22. Cultivate a new habit. Some good new habits to cultivate include reading books (#1), waking up early (#8), exercising (#9), reading a new personal development article a day (#40) and meditating. Is there any other new habit you can cultivate to improve yourself?
  23. Avoid negative people. As Jim Rohn says, “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with”. Wherever we go, there are bound to be negative people. Don’t spend too much of your time around them if you feel they drag you down.
  24. Learn to deal with difficult people. There are times when there are difficult people you can’t avoid, such as at your workplace, or when the person is part of your inner circle of contacts. Learn how to deal with them. These people management skills will go a long way in working with people in the future.
  25. Learn from your friends. Everyone has amazing qualities in them. It’s up to how we want to tap into them. With all the friends who surround you, they are going to have things you can learn from. Try thinking of a good friend right now. Think about just one quality they have which you want to adopt. How can you learn from them and adopt this skill for yourself? Speak to them if you need to – for sure, they will be more than happy to help!
  26. Start a journal. Journaling is a great way to gain better self-awareness. It’s a self-reflection process. As you write, clarify your thought process and read what you wrote from a third person’s perspective, you gain more insights about yourself. Your journal can be private or an online blog. I use my personal development blog as a personal journal too and I’ve learned a lot about myself through the past year of blogging.
  27. Start a blog about personal development. To help others grow, you need to first be walking the talk. There are expectations of you, both from yourself and from others, which you have to uphold. I run The Personal Excellence Blog, where I share my personal journey and insights on how to live a better life. Readers look toward my articles to improve themselves, which enforces to me that I need to keep improving, for myself and for the people I’m reaching out to.
  28. Get a mentor or coach. There’s no faster way to improve than to have someone work with you on your goals. Many of my clients approach me to coach them in their goals and they achieve significantly more results than if they had worked alone.
  29. Reduce the time you spend on chat programs. I realized having chat programs open at default result in a lot of wasted time. This time can be much better spent on other activities. The days when I don’t get on chat, I get a lot more done. I usually disable the auto start-up option in the chat programs and launch them when I do want to chat and really have the time for it.
  30. Learn chess (or any strategy game). I found chess is a terrific game to learn strategy and hone your brainpower. Not only do you have fun, you also get to exercise your analytical skills. You can also learn strategy from other board games or computer games, such as Othello, Chinese Chess, WarCraft, and so on.
  31. Stop watching TV. I’ve not been watching TV for pretty much 4 years and it’s been a very liberating experience. I realized most of the programs and advertisements on mainstream TV are usually of a lower consciousness and not very empowering. In return, the time I’ve freed up from not watching TV is now constructively used for other purposes, such as connecting with close friends, doing work I enjoy, exercising, etc.
  32. Start a 30-day challenge. Set a goal and give yourself 30 days to achieve this. Your goal can be to stick with a new habit or something you’ve always wanted to do but have not. 30 days is just enough time to strategize, plan, get into action, review and nail the goal.
  33. Meditate. Meditation helps to calm you and be more conscious. I also realized that during the nights when I meditate (before I sleep), I need lesser sleep. The clutter clearing process is very liberating.
  34. Join Toastmasters (Learn public speaking). Interestingly, public speaking is the #1 fear in the world, with #2 being death. After I started public speaking as a personal development speaker/trainer, I’ve learned a lot about how to communicate better, present myself and engage people. Toastmasters is an international organization that trains people in public speaking. Check out the Toastmaster clubs nearest to you here.
  35. Befriend top people in their fields. These people have achieved their results because they have the right attitudes, skill sets and know-how. How better to learn than from the people who have been there and done that? Gain new insights from them on how you can improve and achieve the same results for yourself.
  36. Let go of the past. Is there any grievance or unhappiness from the past which you have been holding on? If so, it’s time to let it go. Holding on to them prevents you from moving on and becoming a better person. Break away from the past, forgive yourself, and move on. Just recently, I finally moved on from a past heartbreak of 5 years ago. The effect was liberating and very empowering, and I have never been happier.
  37. Start a business venture. Is there anything you have an interest in? Why not turn it into a venture and make money while learning at the same time? Starting a new venture requires you to be learn business management skills, develop business acumen and have a competitive edge. The process of starting and developing my personal development business has equipped me with many skills, such as self-discipline, leadership, organization and management.
  38. Show kindness to people around you. You can never be too kind to someone. In fact, most of us don’t show enough kindness to people around us. Being kind helps us to cultivate other qualities such as compassion, patience, and love. As you get back to your day after reading this article later on, start exuding more kindness to the people around you, and see how they react. Not only that, notice how you feel as you behave kindly to others. Chances are, you will feel even better than yourself.
  39. Reach out to the people who hate you. If you ever stand for something, you are going to get haters. It’s easy to hate the people who hate us. It’s much more challenging to love them back. Being able to forgive, let go and show love to these people requires magnanimity and an open heart. Is there anyone who dislikes or hates you in your life? If so, reach out to them. Show them love. Seek a resolution and get closure on past grievances. Even if they refuses to reciprocate, love them all the same. It’s much more liberating than to hate them back.
  40. Take a break. Have you been working too hard? Self-improvement is also about recognizing our need to take a break to walk the longer mile ahead. You can’t be driving a car if it has no petrol. Take some time off for yourself every week. Relax, rejuvenate and charge yourself up for what’s up ahead.
  41. Read at least 1 personal development article a day. Some of my readers make it a point to read at least one personal development article every day, which I think is a great habit. There are many terrific personal development blogs out there, some of which you can check here.
  42. Commit to your personal growth. I can be writing list articles with 10 ways, 25 ways, 42 ways or even 1,000 ways to improve yourself, but if you’ve no intention to commit to your personal growth, it doesn’t matter what I write. Nothing is going to get through. We are responsible for our personal growth – not anyone else. Not your mom, your dad, your friend, me or LifeHack. Make the decision to commit to your personal growth and embrace yourself to a life-long journey of growth and change. Kick off your growth by picking a few of the steps above and working on them. The results may not be immediate, but I promise you that as long as you keep to it, you’ll start seeing positive changes in yourself and your life.”

Celestine Chua founder of Personal Excellence

how to kick ass at public speaking

improve yourself

“Does the thought of speaking in front of a large crowd or even a small group of respected professionals send a chill down your spine? If so, you’re not alone: 74 percent of people suffer from speech anxiety. Glossophobia, or the fear of public speaking, is one of the biggest fears of the average human.

Kicking ass at public speaking doesn’t happen overnight. It’s something that takes time and practice to nail down. Here are 10 things great public speakers do, that you can do, too:

1. Find the happy medium between “winging it” and over preparing.
Great public speakers like Martin Luther King Jr. knew the importance of finding a happy medium between these two levels of preparation. The “sweet spot” varies from speaker to speaker, but don’t focus on completely memorizing every word of your speech. Instead, work to understand all of the messages you’re planning to drive home, and your speech will flow naturally.

2. Get to the heart of your audience.
The most effective and captivating speakers are those who can get to the heart of their audience. All great speakers know this trick. Putting together a great speech could be a huge waste of time if you don’t take the time to get to know the audience you’re speaking to and find ways to engage them. Make yourself more approachable and get on the same level as your audience by studying their demographics, interests, values, and desires.

3. Know your end goals.
Every speech should have a clear purpose. Our world’s greatest orators always had their message in mind the entire time they were speaking. Begin writing yours with the end in mind. Maybe it’s to persuade, inspire, or even just inform. Knowing this as you begin writing and preparing is going to work wonders for you in the long run.

4. Get inspired.
Sometimes being more successful at speaking comes down to seeking out inspiration. Many great public speakers thrive on topping their rivals, so why not do the same? Start getting inspired to be a better speaker by watching some of the greatest speeches of all time online, or visit nearby college campuses to attend lectures or speeches from professionals there. Then spend time carefully analyzing their body language, how they weave together their thoughts, how they use accompanying visuals like a slideshow, and how they address the audience. Model yourself to be more like these figures.

5. Record yourself practicing.
No one particularly enjoys watch themselves on camera, but this reflective activity can completely transform the way you speak. You’ll start to realize you tend to fidget a lot or stumble over your words at certain points. Recording yourself speaking will help you to make the necessary tweaks and get you more comfortable with your speaking persona.

6. Get straight to the point.
Avoid overwhelming your listeners by rambling endlessly. The great speakers know the importance of getting straight to the point in their speeches. Keep things as simple as possible and focus on driving home your main message, rather than building up to them in a long-winded or boring manner.

7. Don’t rely on PowerPoint or props.
Sometimes building the coolest presentation to accompany your speech actually takes away from what you’re talking about. In fact, building the best PowerPoint presentation possible can actually confuse and lose the attention of your audience: your message alone should be powerful enough. Having a presentation or props as a part of your speech should only be necessary to back up points or make them easier to remember. And remember to never, ever read directly from a PowerPoint slide. Your audience can read for themselves — you’re there to add and synthesize information.

8. Tell personal stories.
This ties back to connecting with your audience. One great speaker who knows the importance of injecting his speeches with personal stories is President Barack Obama. Almost all of his great speeches drive home personal stories and anecdotes that help better convey the points he’s making. By doing this, you’ll show more passion and make your speech personally relatable.

9. Be aware of your body language.
Don’t forget the importance of nonverbals during your speech. Focus on your facial expressions, where you’re resting your hands, fidgeting, etc. Moving around or using hand gestures is encouraged — it will help you to appear more confident, calm, and collected during your speech. You don’t want to be a stiff, awkward orator.

10. Showcase your passion.
The best speakers are truly passionate about what they’re saying. Aside from the personal stories you may share in your speech, you’ve got to find a way to kick up your passion and let it show. How much you care about your speech will directly correlate to the interest you derive from the audience. People are more apt to listen to someone who truly enjoys what they’re speaking about.

Now, calm your nerves and focus on using these habits of great public speakers to kickstart your transition to a great public speaker.”

Ilya Pozin Founder of Ciplex and Open Me