I didn’t know that the key to a better life was in the 39-year-old book in my hand. I had not seen this book in two decades. I only found it because during the coronavirus crisis, I was dealing with some materials in storage.
Opening the book at random, I discovered an idea that has stayed with me. The book is Isaac Asimov on Science Fiction. I wondered what I might learn from viewing this author’s words. I found his story about a woman named Peg, who was the wife of the famed science fiction editor John W. Campbell, Jr.
John Campbell and Isaac Asimov fell into a big argument. Their dispute escalated and became worse. They even wrote letters that hammered at each other.
Peg read the letters from both men and told them, “Any more and the friendship will be destroyed, and this argument is not worth a friendship.” John Campbell and Isaac Asimov dropped their argument and talked about other things. The friendship was saved.
Years later, John Campbell died. Asimov ended his chapter of the book with: “Then [Peg] died, too, in 1979. But I remember her.”
“But I remember her.”
For weeks, this phrase resonated in my mind like the chorus of a song.
Why did Asimov remember Peg? She was the peacemaker who saved his friendship with her husband, John.
My question for you is: How will you be remembered? As a friend? As a peacemaker — as someone who did the most important things? Or someone who got caught up in small things in anger and in arguments?
Recently, a friend on Facebook invited people todescribe themselves in Three Words.
This brings us back to Peg and “But I remember her.”
I think of Peg as peacemaker, friend, memorable.
What is most important to you?
Have you noticed that our energy is being drained by the coronavirus crisis and upheaval throughout the world?
To stay strong, do something each day that nurtures your spirit and your well-being. Then, you’ll have the energy to have a positive impact on people and the world around you.
Strength rises in focus.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
… and how would people, who are important to you, describe you in three words?
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What’s worse, when swimming in the ocean, than a cramp in your left leg? I found out. A cramp in both legs! How am I still alive? My sweetheart pulled me into shore. I helped by swimming with my arms — so she wasn’t alone in saving my life. Still, my legs were no help.
Many of us approach the need to give the best speech or sales presentation in our lives like we have cramps in both legs. I’m using cramps as a metaphor for what shuts you down. The “cramps” include the obstacles: Fear, procrastination, and the perception of rehearsal as a bad chore.
Additionally, this relates to the 3 Deadly Mistakes centered on No Time, No Rehearsal, No Pretesting.
What does this boil down to? — No coaching.
The good news is: I can serve as your coach here.
Here are the 3 Deadly Mistakes:
1) No Time (Mistake: I’ll just procrastinate and do something at the last minute.)
2) No Rehearsal (Mistake: I’ll just have a few notes and talk off the cuff.)
3) No Pretesting (Mistake: I’ll just wing it. I know what I’m talking about.)
When I was in the ocean, the cramps made my legs nonfunctional. The 3 Deadly Mistakes cramp your ability to do what’s necessary to speak powerfully and inspire people to say Yes to you.
Here are 3 Methods so You Can Rapidly Improve and Make Your Breakthrough Speech or Presentation:
1.Use a Streamlined Process for Rapid Improvement (Solution to “No Time”)
I advise my clients to rehearse for 9 minutes-a-day over several days. This yields better results than cramming all the rehearsal into one night-before, 3-hour session. Why? Because the multiple sessions engage your subconscious mind. Have the 9-minute session early so your subconscious mind works on the material all day long. Additionally, have brief phone calls with friends and say, “Can I practice the opening one minute of my speech with you?”
In my work as the Spoken Word Strategist, my focus is on a Streamlined Process. With a coach like me, you have someone who can ask the right questions that help you find your best material faster.
2.Use “Directed Rehearsal” (Solution to “No Rehearsal”)
Many of us fall into a “default” of rerunning a bad memory in our thoughts. If you were embarrassed when speaking in a high school class, it’s easy for your brain to rerun that failure. I call this bad pattern Default Rehearsal. The brain falls into the default pattern.
Instead, I introduce my clients to Directed Rehearsal. I guide my clients in the process of putting in New Conditioned Responses. These New Conditioned Responses overwrite the default patterns. Research shows that, under stress, people fall back into the default settings. However, when you have New Conditioned Responses, you are freed of the old, painful default settings.
One method (among many) is to preplan two answers for each “worst question” you might get. I guide my clients to have two answers for the 10 Worst Questions. My clients rehearse their answers in response to my questions. They develop an inner-knowing that they are well-prepared.
I look on this preparation for the 10 Worst Questions as a way to avoid the “cramp” that can torpedo a great presentation.
One reason people fail to rehearse effectively is that fear arises when rehearsing. Such fear often leads to procrastination. Why? Because even thinking about the speech can lead to pain and more fear. Instead, as a client works with me, we are able to move forward fast. I’m there so the client feels real support.
3.Use a “Discovery-Rehearsal Process” (Solution to “No Pretesting”)
In summary, we talked about three major mistakes that center on No Time, No Rehearsal and No Pretesting.
We covered these Solutions:
1. Use a Streamlined Process for Rapid Improvement 2. Use “Directed Rehearsal” 3. Use a Discovery-Rehearsal Process
You’ll discover how you’re able to get more done in less time. You’ll have ways to make breakthroughs in your communication and your work life.
“The worst moment of my life,” I thought, as I sat down at the table. My gut seized. No! I think I’m going to throw up.
After more than five years of work, my dream project was being taken from me. This project was going to set the positive course of my next 30 years of life.
However, the tall guy, who was going to take the project and my dream from me, glared at me from across the table.
I decided to be polite. This simple lunch, in a nearby diner, was hopefully going to create peace and a positive resolution. I reached for the napkin dispenser to get a napkin to hand him.
Reaching for that napkin, I stood up, and my suit jacket sleeve caught on my tall, plastic cup of water.
And time stopped. The water cup tilted, balanced on the edge of the bottom rim.
I felt it in that instant.The water cup’s going to spill over, and I can’t stop it.
Splash! Water all over the table.
My gut clenched. Now, I’m going to vomit.
But both of us were in action, tossing napkins on the table, trying to stop the water from soaking the floor. Such water would create a hazard for the server’s return to our table.
The other guy laughed. I didn’t.
But … a miracle. Some tension was eased.
I then improvised and built rapport with the other guy. And the project was not taken from me. An agreement was reached.
I share this story because the true source of how you can believe in yourself is probably different from your first imaginings.
How can this be?
Through the standard school system and the guidance of parents and guardians, many of us were taught to believe in our talent. “Oh, you’re so talented at this.” We were required to be a good boy or a good girl. We heard, “I’m so proud of you. You got an ‘A’ on this report.”
On the other hand, I’m now inviting you to look at certain essential supports for your real and sustainable belief in yourself. You can build success and the ability to influence others on these true supports of your self-belief.
The essence of our conversation here is to…
Shift from a Thought Pattern of “I believe in myself because I accomplish”
“I believe in myself because I prepare, participate, learn and adapt in the moment.”
You see that this is a shift from the external to the internal. You empower yourself by looking at your internal choicesas opposed to letting other people’s opinions rule your life.
Here are 3 Secrets for Sustainable Belief in Yourself
1. Measure by your heart, not their approval
You’ve likely noticed that much of your life you have been graded, and your performance has been measured. Here I’m suggesting that we measure by our hearts. You measure by your own values and your own aspirations.
Fortunately, I carried on to shift from concern about his scorn to transforming this moment into an opportunity to create rapport. With such rapport, we moved forward to a resolution.
When you measure by your heart, you approach your life with a growth mindset. You’re learning, preparing, and rehearsing. You’re able to get better and develop your skills.
Meanwhile, the truth is you can do all the appropriate preparation and rehearsal and still not get the outcome that you want. Perhaps, the marketplace does not respond to your work. The feature film The Princess Bride landed with a thud at the box office. But this film has continued for decades to serve millions of people who have purchased copies on VHS, DVD, and Blu-ray.
Some of our work serves as a staircase to our doing better work with our next project.
Elon Musk said that success requires having a high pain threshold. Along this line, we’re looking at nourishing your personal strength by measuring by your heart. That gives you the stamina.
The good news is: When you measure by your heart and not their approval, you can give yourself appropriate acknowledgement that you are moving forward.
2.Engage with doing and being present
All of life includes improvising. Every conversation you experience calls upon you to listen, adapt and respond. Many conversations involve restraining yourself and keeping certain emotions in check. In the situation that include my tipping over the water cup, I needed to carry on and ultimately create rapport to bring the painful and stressful situation to a resolution.
In my work as the Spoken Word Strategist, I help my clients focus on Words. Strategy and Rehearsal. This process helps each client develop compelling communication for an important situation.
Consider dividing your goals into Effort-Goals and Result-Goals. Your Effort-Goals will focus on preparation and rehearsal. With the appropriate Words, Strategy and Rehearsal, you will be able to improvise and be in the present moment — and perform at your best.
We seek to develop our vital skills that include focusing on what you’re doing in this present moment.As a side note: It’s valuable to develop daily habits like meditation so that you can shift from a stressful perception into one of calm and peace. Even a daily five-minute meditation session can change the structure of your brain. You’ll be empowered to perform at your best in moments that feel truly stressful.
3. Define Your Own Healthy Identity
Many of us are locked into the identity placed on us by parents, guardians, and the traditional school system. The old idea was you have value based on “you are talented, and you accomplished what we say is important.”
Instead, consider defining your own healthy identity built on something other than other people’s approval and only accomplishments. Build your identity on how you devote efforts and you participate in life. The idea is that you focus on how you prepare, participate, learn and adapt in the moment. This gives you a solid foundation, which helps you maintain your poise in stressful situations.
My point is: Avoid relying on other people’s version of your identity. Instead, choose your identity as someone who prepares, learns and adapts.
Facing other really tough moments in my life, I have relied on rehearsing every day, and I work with mentors. I have developed improvisational skills to perform in stressful situations.
Focus not just on your accomplishments and other people’s approval. Consider an internal approach in which you measure by your heart. You will radiate more confidence, and people will say Yes to your influence.
Build your internal strength as you say to yourself: “I prepare, participate, learn and adapt in the moment. I am growing. I take appropriate risks and feel fulfillment in my life.”