Public speaking made easy : Conquer stage fright and become a better public speaker

Public speaking

My first time speaking in public was like taking my first baby steps. You raise the baby up and leave it standing on its own. It will try to walk , it will fall, next time it will use the chair to hoist itself up so it can try to walk. Nobody taught me how to do it, I just had to wing it and hope for the best.

Uni has been a whole different experience when it comes to public speaking. I have learned that to be good at public speaking I had to practice, learn from my mistakes and learn from the best. So I watch Ted talks(am obsessed), read articles and books on public speaking.

I still feel nervous when am in front of people, but I have learned to transform that nervous energy into something productive. All in all am learning and there is still a lot of things I have to work on to get better and am committed to doing so.

At one point of your life you shall be required to speak in front of Alot of people and I hope that the tips I’ll be sharing in this article will get you through it unscathed.

The first thing we need to discuss when it comes to public speaking is stage fright. Stage Fright or performance anxiety is a state of anxiety or fear which occurs when a person is faced With the requirement of performing in front of an audience. Symptoms include but are not limited to sweaty palms, tremors, stuttering and accelerated heart beat. I feel like understanding our fear of public speaking will go a long way in getting rid of it. A lot of us would be excellent public speakers if we just learned how to manage our fear of public speaking.

Stage fright

There are several ways of overcoming performance anxiety .
1.  Practice! Practice! Practice!
Practice in front of your friends and ask them for honest feedback. You can also record your own voice with your phone whilst you practice on your own. You can even practice in front of the mirror so you become aware of your body language.

Only the prepared speaker deserves to be confident

Dale Carnegie

2.  Remember to breathe
Before going on the stage take deep breaths. This is a way of reassuring your body that you are okay and that you are not in any danger. Also whilst presenting give yourself time to breathe when you’ve made a point. It’s not a marathon so relax.

3.  Remember that nobody wants to see you fail and even if they was somebody, think of all the people who are rooting for you to succeed.

4. Forget the feeling of self consciousness by becoming absolved with the topic. Know your topic so well that you can present it without  anything to refer to. Keep yourself engaged by the topic that you forget your fear. This is why presenting on a topic that your passionate about is vital.

5. Face an audience as frequently as you can. The bottom line is, “we learn by doing.” Throw yourself in positions that allow you to speak in public as often as possible. This will help you to get used to being in front of a crowd.

Tips to help you to be a better public speaker include:
1. Rehearse: If you want to be better at something you have to practice.internalize your talk before the day you get to present it. Practice  delivering the speech so many times until you are comfortable giving it without looking at any cheat sheet. It’s the preparation that allows you to be spontaneous. I know you’re saying i don’t want to look over prepared and rigid but actually practicing has the opposite effect. It helps you to be able to add on some stuff the time you are presenting. You already know your stuff so you can be flexible and  spontaneous on stage.

They got better with practice!!

2. Less is more
Make your presentation as simple as possible. Do not bombard your Audience with so many facts in so little time. Focus on one idea and let it carry you through the rest of your presentation. Be able to explain your topic simply.

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”
– Albert Einstein

3.  Know your audience
Before deciding to give a speech learn about who the audience is going to be. For school presentations your audience is your classmates and the teacher. You’re job is to convince the teacher that you Know what you are talking about and that you can present in front of people with confidence. 
One of the greatest speeches I’ve heard recently is Chakwera’s speech during his inauguration as the president of the republic of Malawi. If there’s one thing that Chakwera knows when giving a speech is his audience.

During the inauguration he talks about how we are a broken nation in rubbles. How his administration’s job is to fix this nation. That is exactly what as a nation ridden by corrupt government officials needed to hear. We needed to hear that change was coming

The same goes for you, Know your audience and tailor your message to that audience.

4.  Avoid sounding Monotonous
Think of music made by punching the same key of the piano at the same speed over and over again. How does it sound?
Yes it sounds boring
The same goes when you are presenting . Using the same tone, pitch for the rest of the presentation is not appealing.
You’re goal as a speaker should be to portray variety in your speech.

Use emphasis
Stress words that are important. Not every word in a sentence is of a special importance.

Change your pitch
My voice is high pitched when am presenting and I find it hard to tone it down. But the volume of your voice is really important to consider when presenting. Pitch can either be high, moderate and low.

Change your pace
At what speed are you presenting? Slow down when making an important point so that the audience will be able to grab your point.

Pause whenever necessary (before or after making an important point).
A pause is important to help you collect yourself. A pause at the right time will help the audience think about what your saying. It will also help you to breathe and be able to control your pace.

5. Internalize your content rather than memorizing it. Know your speech inside out. Make sure that you understand your topic, internalize it to the point that you can say it without referring to anything. This isn’t memorising,it is getting yourself familiar with your content. We don’t want you to sound as a robot spitting out pre coded words, we want you to sound as natural as possible. Thus the need of striking a balance between preparation and flexibility.

Nick Morgan
You want 80% of it to be prepared and 20% of it to be spontaneous
20% percent of your speech will allow you to add to the things you already prepared on.

6. The 10 minute rule
Attention is a scarce resource. The amount of time it takes for a person to stop paying attention to anything is slowly decreasing. We jump from one activity to another in a few minutes. Think about how your thoughts wonder in no time. The same happens to your audience. You’re Job is to offer your speech in 6-10 minutes before people get distracted. Better still to keep them engaged long enough when you Know that it is around the time that they may lose concentration.

Be time conscious 🤗

7. What’s the big take away of the speech?
When you’re done offering your speech what is that one message that you want them to take home. As a rule you should be able to articulate it in less than 15 words. It’s something you get back to over and over again as you deliver your speech. This is the point you were trying to make all along as you were presenting. So think about it what message do you want to put across to your audience? Make it simple, make it clear and make impactful.

8. Body language..
Actually where you put your hands matters, Lou(☺️). When you are nervous you try to cover up you’re chest and stomach area. You fold your hands and close your body out from the audience.Always make sure that your arms are away from your chest, and that you’re opening your arms out to the audience. Also remember to smile (<note to self lol). This portrays you as someone who is welcoming , at ease and it shortens the gap between you and your audience. When you smile your telling your listeners , you can trust me, I don’t bite (lol).

9. Connect with your audience
Engage with your audience, ask them questions and make them feel that they are being included in your talk.

10. Never apologize, correct your mistake and move on
Do not apologize for mispronouncing a word, just correct yourself and move on. Do not dwell on that mistake focus on getting the message across for the remainder of the time that you have.

Extra tip
**Tell a story**
Make it personal that way the audience will feel like you trust them and even if it’s not personal make sure it’s driving you to a point you want to make concerning your topic. Chances are people will remember your speech because of the stories you shared

I know you must be thinking that this is a lot to take in and you’re right because there’s more where that came from. Fear not for in time and with practice all this will come naturally to you. Comment down below about your public speaking journey and the tips you think will help you become a better public speaker. Have a great week!

How to develop self confidence

A lot of us have dreams but lack the confidence to execute them. Many lack the confidence to live the lives they’ve always wanted to have. Confidence is something that  can be developed. That is why I compiled the hacks in this article that will help you build or boost your self confidence.

Simply put confidence is belief in yourself and  your abilities.However this definition is too simplistic that it doesn’t really tell us all that we need to Know about self confidence and the different ways that confidence manifests itself.

No matter how much you accomplish if you can’t find your confidence within then all those external successes or achievements simply mean nothing.
Confidence is the belief that you have in your spirit that regardless of your circumstance
You will face every obstacle or difficulty to achieve your aim.
Michael Andrews

I love  this description because it describes confidence as something that starts from within. It is belief that we are capable of much more than we give ourselves credit for. You can have everything outwardly but still lack confidence. It all begins in belief that it is all going to work out in the end.

Confident people don’t degrade others to make themselves feel better. Confidence is not arrogance nor is it over confidence. Confident people don’t look for validation outside of themselves. Finally confident people don’t compare themselves with others.

**Delivering my first speech in front of the whole school**
Being a head girl at my secondary School I was tasked to deliver a welcoming speech for the canossian sisters from Tanzania. It was my first time to deliver a speech oddly enough  you didn’t have to say much when they appointed you head girl.

I stressed more about writing the speech than I did about delivering it. I even got a friend to help me come up with the write up. When I got to the stage my heart racing, every voice in my head telling me to run and never look back, I started. The adrenaline rush made me rush through the whole speech and the next thing I knew I was saying “thank you for your attention”. When I finished not paying attention to whether anybody clapped their hands at all or not I got off the stage and back to my seat. Hours later standing in front of sister Lacy, she said I’d done a good job with the the speech but I had to work on my pace, I was too fast.

This brings me to point number one for building self confidence which is practice. Whoever said that practice makes perfect wasn’t kidding around, they were right. You gain the confidence to do something by doing it. The more you do it the more you get comfortable doing it. What I should have done was to practice delivering the speech in front of my friends. I should have read up on cues to pay attention to when delivering a speech because then I would have known that  your pace matters. Practicing doing something will help you get the confidence you need when you are doing the actual thing in front of many people.

Secondly, to build confidence you must practice confidence. In other words Fake it till you make it.

Dale Carnegie said and I quote
By regulating the action  which is under the more direct control of the will we can indirectly regulate the feeling which is not.

Here he means acting as if you already had that confidence will regulate the feeling of having confidence. Think of how one acts like when they have confidence and will yourself into doing and the end result will be that you will feel confident.

To develop lasting self confidence you need to practice acceptance of your strengths, weaknesses and yourself. Accepting yourself as you are without judgement is one of the skills that we all need to develop. We are so used to to judging ourselves everytime we feel that there is something wrong with us that we are actually the ones bringing ourselves down. Accept that you have weaknesses because nobody is perfect.

On the flip side you need to accept your strengths. Realize that there is something about you that makes you good at doing whatever it is that you do. Try new things explore and discover your strengths. Capitalize on those strengths, use them to your advantage. Part of accepting your strengths is accepting compliments. If someone says “ooh you’re good at doing…..” Say thank you accept it because it just might be that they see something in you that you don’t see. Compliments really open your eyes to the array of strengths and capabilities that you process.

All in all accept yourself as a whole. You are one complex human being full of magic and wonder, embrace that. Also embrace the fact that you have flaws, none of us is perfect really. Don’t let your bad parts dim the light of your good parts. Let your strengths shine over your weaknesses and imperfections.

In addition to that use positive affirmations to develop confidence. I say it this all the time the more you say it to yourself the more you believe it and the more it manifests in your life. Your perception of your self is ingrained in your subconscious. The reason why you have low self confidence is because you’ve told yourself that you’re worthless and cannot accomplish anything so many times that you got to believe. Our aim with positive confidence affirmations is to reprogram your subconscious through repetition of positive affirmations that will help you develop self confidence. Say it to yourself everyday that you get to believe and in turn becomes ingrained in your mind. Confidence becomes your new programming. You become wired for confidence.

Say this to yourself with conviction;

I am confident and strong

I breathe in confidence and I breathe out timidity

When I walk, talk and in every act I exude confidence

I do not need validation from others

There is nothing I am not able to overcome

I believe in my abilities

I don’t have to justify anything to anyone

Aside from these you can make cool affirmations on your own about the things you are(you want to be). Incorporate them in your daily routine and choose a time in your day when you get to repeat the affirmations. Mornings are better because they signify new beginnings. Look in the mirror say positive things into life and feel good about yourself!

Another way to develop confidence is by taking care of yourself.
For me exercising helps me relieve stress. It’s a way of burning the extra energy , makes me feel light afterwards. Aside from that exercising will help you to stay fit and maintain a great body. Alot of people have lost their confidence because they don’t like their bodies. Exercising is one way to get you that beautiful body you’ve always wanted that will help you carry yourself with confidence wherever you go. Ever noticed that when you’re doing what you are supposed to be doing you feel great? When I miss exercise sessions I feel guilt, makes me feel bad about myself. Immediately after exercising though I feel like a badass.

Eat healthy
Garbage in, garbage out.
What you put in your body will manifest itself in your health and body shape. You’re diet can determine whether you’re gonna get sick for eating harmful foods or if you’re gonna stay healthy. Eat your vegetables, fruits and drink a lot of water. If you want to lose weight eat less carbs (carbohydrates), eat less sugar and avoid eating junk foods.

Smell great
Your scent is a major factor that can determine if you’re confident or not. When you smell good you feel better about yourself. Invest in that deodorant  your confidence depends on it.

Pay attention to what you wear
Make your brain work, what are you wearing when you finally have confidence? When you’ve figured that out go and wear it. Wear clothes that make you look and feel confident.

Visualization is one of the effective ways of transforming your thoughts which play a big role in developing self confidence. When you think positive thoughts positive things tend to follow (it’s the law of attraction) and so is the opposite true. Use visualization by picturing a more confident you going out there accomplishing your goals. This triggers good feelings and positive thought processes.  Visualize what a confident you would look like, what is she wearing? What is she doing? What are you saying? How are you feeling? Get more specific. Create a story of how you want to feel and what you want to achieve in life and visualize it over and over again until your subconscious gets the idea. The reason why this works is that when you imagine yourself doing something  you create psychological patterns in your brain just as if you had physically performed the task . Our brains can not differentiate between a memory, an image you’ve made up with something that is happening now.

In addition to that write down your strengths.This is just to remind you of the things you’re good at and all your good traits that make you good at the things you do. This strengthens belief in oneself and helps you to use those strengths to achieve all your goal. Also whenever you’re down going through that list reminds you of who you are and what you can do .

Try something that is outside your comfort zone (something that scares you)
Doing something that is outside your comfort zone is uncomfortable. Nevertheless succeeding in doing something that is something outside our comfort zone boosts confidence. This is because you conquer your fear and discover that you can do just about anything aslong as you will yourself to do them. Most people wait for confidence before they try something new, they want to feel ready before going out of their comfort. This doesn’t work most times because confidence is a product of doing something that you fear (of going outside your comfort zone).

Celebrate yourself
Celebrate your success, big or small celebrate them. Celebrate your journey , you’ve come this far and you have accomplished alot. This opens your eyes to the  potential that you hold within you. You can achieve anything that you set your mind on.

Don’t compare yourself with others(  check out my post, “Don’t compare yourself with others”)
Confidence is not walking  into a room and thinking that you are better than everyone else. It’s walking into a room and not having to compare yourself  to anyone else in the first place.
Unknown author
Confident people don’t have to compare themselves with others because they know that they are unique. Your journey is going to be different from anybody else’s  accept that .

Let go of the past (for those stuck in the past: let go and move on)
A lot of us fail to live a life filled with confidence because we let our past define who we are now. In my previous post on letting go of your past mistakes I talk about how you can let go of the past. One way is by making yourself conscious of your current thought process. By doing this you get to know when you’re marinating so that you can divert to the present or to more positive thoughts. Another way is by accepting your past without judgement and realising that you can’t change your past but you can make a conscious choice to create a better future through your actions now. Finally forgive yourself for your past mistakes and move on. Live in the present and leave the past where it belongs, in the past.

Practice mindfulness(I talk more about mindfulness in my blog post “for those stuck in the past: let go and move on)
Pay attention to your thought patterns. Consciously pay attention to your thoughts. That way you can stop negative self talk and incorporate positive self talk.

Looking at the tips that I’ve shared you’ll realize that many of them work hand in hand  to get you the confidence that you deserve. Their goal is to put you in a positive mind frame where you are in peace with yourself and you operate with belief in your abilities. Let me know on which tips really spoke to you, which ones you are ready to try out and others that you think should have been added to this list.

Get back your confidence

When I was a kid I was incredibly shy. I was self conscious. I could be thinking to myself; am I dressed right, am I saying the right things, do people like me?

They say that in your younger years you tend to be outgoing,without a care in the world. You play, you laugh and you let it all out. I’d like to think I was that in my earlier years. But from age five going forward I was really low on the self esteem scale. I remember being made fun off for no particular reason. The boys who bullied me chasing me around. I would run and cry whenever I saw them. I remember vividly one day I was waiting outside a classroom at our school on a weekend for my friends who were being tutored. I saw the boy’s from a far and I started running, they chased me laughing calling me names. With tears in my eyes I run past my house and went to my friends place . When I got there I found her father first and he was a big man (tall and huge), in my eyes, a giant.

“why are you crying?” he asked
“those mean boys were chasing me calling me names ” I cried
and you Know what he said to me?
He said that i should have stood up to them and instead of running and crying. He continued to say that I did nothing wrong and there was no reason for them to be making fun of me.

Now mind you , there was nothing wrong with me, I didn’t wear weird clothes nor did I have any physical imperfection that made me a target. The only thing is that I was shy, I preferred to run and hide than face those boys. They knew this, they could smell the fear from a far and that is why I became a target. Looking back I could think of a lot of things that I could have done to put an end to this. But I didn’t and I let them walk all over me. I was only a child.

I have gone so far since then, I am now a Blogger who shares her ideas with a lot of people. I make presentations in class that make people marvel at my confidence, I stand up to myself and more importantly I don’t let people walk all over me.

Self confidence is something that begins with how you feel about yourself. When you look at yourself do you think you deserve love ? Do you feel good about yourself?  What you feel about yourself radiates in the way you move , talk and do things. Self confidence begins with how you feel or think about yourself. If you think that you are confident that radiates to the people around you.

This is how you get confidence, you’ve got to want it for yourself. You’ve got to live with the intent of being confident. Think about how it feels to be confident, the way you present yourself when you are confident. Then act like you are confident. Forget about how anxious you are feeling inside, do it anyways. Feel the fear and do it anyways. Do more and think later.

Confidence is doing the things that you like even when you feel discouraged. Following the dream that everyone thinks is ridiculous. Standing your ground defending your beliefs and the things you think are right.

Think of how things would be better if you were just confident in your abilities. You could do just about anything !
It takes confidence to live your best life.
Change your mindset and get back your confidence . Trust me you have it somewhere in there you just need to unlock it and unleash it to the world.

Another thing I’d like to address is confidence that is based on achievement. You know that excitement that you get for accomplishing something. It feels like you can do just about anything at that moment. Time passes and you face some hurdles on the way and your sense of confidence drops (literally deflates). It’s like a rollercoaster with ups and downs. One day you’re high the next you’re low. This kind of confidence is fleeting it doesn’t last.

Confidence that begins in belief in your potential, feeling good about yourself despite your flaws and generally dwelling on your positives and not negatives is limitless. When you are in a sticky situation you operate with the belief that you can get yourself out of it. You have the power within you and your accomplishments shouldn’t define how you feel about yourself and how you carry yourself. You should choose to define you. Choose to be confident despite the situation you are in despite your accomplishments or lack thereof. Am not saying you shouldn’t celebrate them, by all means please do. Just make sure that that’s not where all your confidence comes from because when you fail , down the drain your confidence goes.

I know y’all love getting comprehensive tips, so my next article will dive right into all the tips I could think of or find out there that helps to build self confidence.  So it’s au revoir for now, until next time, get back your confidence!

Breaking the cycle of dependency

The current construction of gender puts a woman at an odd relationship with money. As girls society grooms us to be delicate, dependent and generally at the mercy of a man when it comes to money. No wonder every conversation that we have does not end without there being mention of a man.

The fact that women are now increasingly having careers of their own and even starting their own businesses is definitely a win. Take Lora for example she’s a graduate at a renowned University in her country. She has a good  job, a car and generally lives a confortable life. To everyone on the outside she’s very successful, but behind all that glitter the situation is actually different.

She spends her salary impulsively and has no assets to show off. She’s in debt and can’t seem to keep track of her finances. She doesn’t get a house of her own because that’s the job of her future husband. Her boyfriend pays for all her cravings and her mall excapades that she really don’t have to worry about hustling to get more money. She’s always on the lookout for the latest designer bags, shoes you name it.

Then there’s Lilly, she a college student so her only source of income is her parents. Everytime she gets money from them she spends it on clothes, shoes and ends up with less money to spend on food. When she’s flat broke and knows that she can’t ask money from her parents that soon, she asks for cash from her boyfriend.

Does any of this sound familiar?
Men on the other hand were raised to be goal getters, money makers. They are encouraged to Hussle and Chase that money. They work towards securing a confortable future for their families.

Now back to my gender, our conception of money does not allow for us to think about our future. To me this is a real tricky situation because a man cannot guarantee your future welfare. What if you break up with your boyfriend/wife what then?  This is no real freedom  , being at the mercy of another especially when it comes to money.

In Africa, traditionally, being a woman means that you don’t really have to worry about money issues. You can earn just enough to get by but you don’t have to worry about your future welfare, coz guess what, that will be your husband’s job. As a child your parents provide all that you need especially the father (it’s what’s expected of them) . No wonder any conversation about money for ladies always seems to get tangled up with the presence of a man or lack there off.

As Chimamanda says and I quote
We say to girls
You can have ambition
But not too much
You should aim to be successful
But not too successful

You can have money but not too much else men will be threatened ,”they will not want to marry you”. All the girl is good for in the end is to get married .

In addition to that women do not receive a sufficient education when it comes to money. Men are the most likely to go out of their way to chase money. They are taught to be entrepreneurial at a young age. Of course girls can do this too but they are more needed at home to do chores.

Girls grow up with a sense of entitlement. Things like he should pay for the bill at the restaurant, he should call the taxi and pay for my cab fare, he should get me chocolate etc. In conclusion he should finance all my splurges.

This creates a mindset where a girl doesn’t really have to work for their money because all they have to do is “sit still and look pretty” and they are sorted. I’ve heard a lot of guys say, “it’s easy for you girls, your man can easily get what you need.”

This to me is no real freedom, you are shackled by the chain of dependency on a man. What if he dies and his brothers snatch all the property? What if his business venture fails and you are left broke? What do you do when he decides to leave you? But because we are superstitious in nature we don’t want to take all these factors in consideration.

Am happy to say that a lot of women have broken the cycle of dependency and are beginning to stand on their own two feet. Many have amassed success that even transcends their male counter parts. These women continuously Break the Glass ceiling that has been placed by society. Tides are changing and so is the number of women who have or are aspiring for great success. 

If the ones that are lagging behind are to go forward, something has to be done. Women should be taught on spending, saving and investing. Am talking about how they can manage their personal finances. It’s time to say, “little girl, you can strive to be successful, you can get financially educated and you can aim for the stars”.You can be financially independent and there is nothing wrong with that.

Eventually you will find a man who knows your worth and who isn’t intimidated by your greatness.

I have recently adopted a new hobby which is stitching. One thing it has taught me is patience and that the little steps lead to the bigger picture. If you  take the little steps towards taking charge of your money and making it grow the result is financial freedom. Let’s us be the generation of women who aren’t afraid of making more money.

Spending on everything designer will give you immediate gratification, will make you feel good for a moment. In the long run you will have many designer shoes, no assets to show for and a life ridden in debt if not careful.

That is why we need to change our habits. Create good habits that will help you to  better manage your finances. Learn to save and to look at you bigger financial picture. Read books of personal finance and financial freedom, there is a lot to learn from there. Implement money making strategies in your life. Be a smart money woman. Track down your expenditure , make a budget and stick to it.

Start 2021 with a plan

It’s a new year folks and I don’t know about you but I’d love to go through this one with a plan. After living my previous years without one I realized that I haven’t been in control of where i end up in my life. I have been letting things happen to me instead of making things happen.

This year I want things to be different. I want to live with a purpose. This is why even though people think having new year resolutions is a cliche, I think it’s the first step towards developing your plans for the year. Word of caution here; having new year resolutions will not change your life, following through with your plan to achieve those resolutions will.

Resolutions are like dreams, they paint a picture of what you want your year to look like. So as suggested by a friend I came up with 4 dreams that I want to achieve in 2021.
1.  Be happy
2. Treat myself like someone I love
3. Work on my writing
4. Work towards financial freedom

Now this is my list y’all and your dreams might be totally different and that’s alright we want different things out of life.

From there you need to come up with actionable steps towards achieving each goal.
For example
Financial freedom
1. Read books on how to attain financial freedom/research
2. Save/ cut down on spending (include how much you’ll save in a month)
3. Invest

You can use a journal/ an app

Do this for each and every one of your goals.

These will then act like guides on how you should be living your life throughout the year. Make sure that you take incremental actions everyday towards achieving your dreams. Ask yourself everyday, “what will I do today that will take me a step closer to my goal?”. Make your goals a part of your life style.

Am excited about the goals I’ve set for myself this year and I hope that you set some for yourselves too. Remember to live out the rest of 2021 with purpose and direction, take control of your Life, for as always ***you are the master of your fate and the captain of your ship***. You and only you can create the future that you desire and this begins with you having a plan.

Have a great 2021 you guys .

Choose yourself

Most times I have been out here putting other people before me. I have disregarded my feelings just so I could put other people’s feelings into consideration. I know what you’re thinking, and then I go out there wondering why the hell I end up exhausted every time things don’t work out.

I call this the typical ‘others come first syndrome’ you could also call it ‘the lack of self-love syndrome’ or ‘the selfless disease’. So, how do you know that you have it?

  • You make sacrifices for others at the expense of your own wellbeing
  • How others feel comes first before how you feel
  • You give all your time, money and other resources to make sure they are happy
  • You begin to have less and lesser time for yourself to do the things that you love
  • You lose your sense of self
  • Everything is about them
  • In conclusion they can run all over you and you’d still be the one going to them to say sorry.

    If you are my typical person and is experiencing these kinds of symptoms I suggest you calm down, don’t panic, it is not the end of the world because Nellie’s got you (wink).

    Trust me I’ve been there and it aint pretty because you basically lose all power and control over to the other person. The best advice I’ve ever gotten when I was in such a time was ‘choose yourself’. You as a person also need someone who’s going to take care of you and it might as well be you. Learn to choose your own happiness over everyone else’s. The fact is that you are not being selfish ‘it is called self-love’. You need to look out for yourself or no one else will.

    Putting that in mind the path to choosing oneself starts with acceptance. Accept that you made wrong judgments by sacrificing your happiness for others. Accept that you literary neglected yourself, your feelings and needs just to please others. After you have done that I need you to forgive yourself for not knowing better. You don’t know what you don’t know and beating yourself over it will only make you more miserable.

    So next time you find yourself in a sticky situation, choose yourself and do not apologize for doing it. You deserve the best of all this world can give.

    7 ways on how not to take things personally

    What happens when someone insults you, your intelligence or just basically takes you for granted?

    Well I don’t know about you but I take things personally. Whether the attack / action is directly or indirectly pointed towards me I take it personally. I realize that most times it’s uncalled for but as much as I want to hold myself and let it go its hard because the fact is that I am a highly sensitive person. But still it’s uncalled for and here’s why;

    You put your joy in other people’s hands. So every negative comment that comes your way you get all worked up , angry.

    Secondly it’s not about you. It’s about them and their issues in their lives so taking things personally is totally not necessary.

    I was criticized for something that I didn’t think was an issue until I saw people talking about it on social media. They painted a picture of me that was terrible and that was contrary to who I am. Did I take things personally? Oh hell yeah I did. At that time I was like nobody attacks my image and gets away with it. Fuming mad with rage I went to a friend who I confided in about what happened. He said don’t worry about it all the things they said have nothing to do with you. He continued to say that some people are just bitter and are just out to get you for every little thing.”Don’t give them the power to control you by responding to them, ignore them,” he said.

    While not all of you might have a friend to stop you from going around responding to every jab you receive but am sure you’d love to have some tips to help you to not things personally.
    So how do you not take things personally in situations like these?

    As mentioned earlier and I’ll say it again you first have to realize that it’s not always about you. You are not the protagonist of another person’s story, they are. The world does not revolve around you.In their world everything revolves around their intentions, needs and beliefs and when someone does anything contrary to that they go in fight mode. They just have their own issues in their lives that are making them act this way . You are in no way responsible for what they think about you but rather what you think about yourself. People are programed differently and are a sum of all their experiences in their lives. Some people think it’s okay to pull people down , it has nothing to do with you it’s just them because that’s what they believe in. When you look at things this way you get freed from trying to please people or trying to defend yourself all the time. I don’t know about you but to me this is revolutionary. 

    The next strategy is to look at the intention. Some people just want to bring you down so that they can feel better about themselves. Others just want to get your attention so that you can focus your attention on them. When i know that your intention is to send jabs at me so that I feel the pain I won’t take the bait. Don’t take things personally. No matter what their intentions are the fact still remains do not take it personally. If whatever they were saying was coming from a place of love then ask for clarification but don’t take it personally , don’t beat yourself up over it. Learn from the experience and move on.

    The other strategy is in realizing that you have no control over other people’s behavior. Secondly you can’t Change their minds about you . You’re only role is to express yourself in the most effective way possible but what they hear/ see and how they interpret it is not in your control. Don Miguel Ruiz author of the four agreements says that when we take things personally we get offended and feel the need to explain ourselves and create conflicts. Do not try to explain yourself , you cannot Change their behaviors for they have been programed like that from childhood. Sometimes you just don’t need to explain yourself to anybody , live your life knowing that the only person whose actions you can control is you. I am past getting worried about things I can’t control (and that’s the spirit!).

    Too busy to care
    You know how when you’re busy it is hard for people to grab your attention? The same applies when people throw poison at you, when you are busy you don’t care. I mean the kind of busy where you spend your time doing the things that you love, things that are in line with your hearts desires. I am at a point in my life where am too busy to care about what someone thinks about me, it’s none of my business and am busy anyway and taking things personally is a waste of my time.

    Don’t care too much about what people think about you. If you live your life always thinking about what people will say about you, you will never do anything. You will be trapped in a place where there is no happiness. Happiness comes with being who you are no matter what people say about you. This will help you not take things seriously because you won’t take things that people say about you to heart. You know who you are and that’s the end of it nothing else matters

    To add on that you need to stop giving people power over you.
    When someone throws insults towards you and you respond by getting offended you give them power over your emotions. Nobody should be given that kind of power over you. So do not be tricked into absorbing the poison they throw at you, don’t take it personally it’s never about you. The poison will kill them more if you don’t give them any attention.
    Finally, you should know your worth. I realize that all those times I took things personally was because deep down I suspected that what they were saying was right. If whatever they are saying is totally wrong it shouldn’t bother you. That is why standing by the image you make for yourself is important. I’ve really taken time to look within and find out who I am. The only way you do this is by spending time with yourself and paying attention to your thoughts and feelings. Know yourself, know your worth and you will be immune to people’s judgements and perceptions of you. Another thing is that realize that you are not perfect and guess what you don’t have to be. What matters is that that you are constantly working on being better than you were before.

    For more information on not taking things personally read Don Miguel Ruiz’s book “the four agreements”. Aside from not taking things personally there are other three agreements in it that will change your life.

    Almost all the drama and sadness in your life has been brought about by always taking things personally. May this be a turning point for you and may it be the time that you choose happiness and freedom by not taking things personally because for me it is.

    Say this out loud and let the words sink in “I promise myself that the next time someone throws insensitive comments towards me I will not take it personally. I realize that whatever will be said has nothing to do with me or my self worth. I choose to be happy, I choose to be free and I choose not to take things personally.”

    For making it towards the end of this article you get a bonus tip. When someone says something that makes your blood boil, heart race and your mind thinking about what you are going to say next, lean away from the chaos of your mind. Lean away from the negativity, let it pass through you like a breeze. Only then can you be able to make informed choices. I know what it feels like to make choices in the heat of the moment , it ain’t pretty. You end up saying things you regret in the end and instead of making things better you make them worse. So breathe, calm down, gravitate towards the silence and only then can you operate from a place of peace and love for yourself and others. Only then can you be forgiving of people’s misgivings and only then can you move on with your life. I know it’s not easy y’all because we are used to taking the easy route and taking offense but one thing is for sure it is worth it, for your peace of mind and general well being.

    I pray that I will be able to to do this. I pray that you will be able to do it too.

    So that’s it for today guys, watch out for more articles from me and keep improving. Strive to be better today than you were yesterday.


    Being and feeling beautiful in a society that advocates for perfection is daunting.Our society sets impossible standards of beauty. If only your hair was straighter or if only you wore hair extensions or if only you wore make up. Anything that doesn’t go by these standards is not so beautiful anymore.why do you think companies selling hair relaxers or hair extensions sell a lot?

    So you can imagine that having pimples is not part of the beauty standards. You know what, Beyonce said it and she was right , pretty hurts and perfection is a disease. I started having pimples when I was 12-13. 9-10 years later I see the marks they left on my face.

    Trust me I’ve had my fair share of acne removing creams but no matter what I do nothing seems to work. To add on that my complexion over emphasises the blackheads on my face. Somehow everybody always seems to be like “if you’d do that they’d go or if you used that you’d see a change”. What worked on you will probably not work on me and I’ve learned that the hard way.  I went from feeling beautiful to being identified as the girl with acne. Trust me I can’t go around hiding myself because am scared of what people will say.

    I always thought I was beautiful before the pimples kicked in. That’s what happens we think to ourselves if only I was thinner then I’d be beautiful. Mine was “if only I got rid of the acne on my face I would be beautiful”.

    My flaws were eating away my confidence slowly until I didn’t think I was beautiful anymore. I doubted my beauty.

    We all have our fair share of of things we consider imperfections, some don’t like their smiles to having small breasts, freckles, body hair, scars, stretch marks and cellulite.

    To be real with you, i am learning. I am learning to not let the acne and black heads on my face destroy my self worth and self esteem. I am learning to not let people’s comments about how I look get to me. I am learning to still see myself as beautiful despite being that girl with the acne on her face because I am beautiful. I am learning to embrace my imperfections and am realizing that they make me more beautiful.

    I was watching outpatients on fox life and there was a girl who got burned with an iron on the left side of her face when she was young. She went in to get her pigmentation fixed as well as fix her eyebrows so they could be symetrical. I had been taking this subject lightly until I saw that. I realize how much harm a scar like that can do to your self confidence. I am just gonna say that it’s not easy for people who have more permanent scars like those. Am not here to talk about which flaws affect people most but rather to help you embrace yourself wholly no matter the type and magnitude of physical flaws that you have.

    So how do you go from thinking you are not beautiful to embracing your flaws?

    Change your thoughts
    I cannot stress enough the power of the mind  in materializing our thoughts. I believe that accepting yourself comes from the inside. If all you think about is how lacking you are in the beauty department that is all that you will be feeling. You will walk around with no self confidence and your self esteem will be at all records low. Change your thoughts, see your imperfections as a symbol of character. Our scars show the battles we’ve survived. Our imperfections symbolize authenticity , it shows that we have the courage to embrace ourselves and love ourselves for who we are.Beauty starts from the inside. It starts with feeling beautiful and radiates to the outside. Ever noticed how we glow differently when we think we are beautiful? We carry ourselves differently in short we radiate a special kind of beauty. So i implore you to look within you and see that you are beautiful no matter what impefections you have. You are enough.

    Avoid self criticism
    We all have that inner chatterbox that doesn’t seem to stop making us feel small because of our flaws. We look in the mirror and it says “girl your teeth are too big, you are not pretty and no one can accept you”. Chatterboxes can be really annoying especially when it’s coming from your mind. So how do you tone it down a notch?  This is all up to you because there are so many ways to stop negative thoughts. You can snap yourself out of the negative train of thoughts or you can internalize positive affirmations to replace the negative thoughts. Do not criticize yourself , treat yourself from a place of empathy. You are a beautiful soul , tall, short, thin, fat, black, white, pimples or no pimples no matter how you think you look like. Embrace yourself wholly.

    Accept praise from others
    I have done this before and am sure some of you may recognize this.
    Friend: Looking good gurrl!
    Me: oh stop it you!
    It just shows how lowly you think of yourself when you do that. They mean it when they say that and the least you can do is say thank you and accept the praise. The praise also help you see the things that others see in you but you don’t because you are focusing on what is wrong with you that you fail to recognize the good in you.

    Love yourself regardless
    In everything that you choose to do with your body make sure you come from a place of love first. Yes!! love that face filled with freckles, love your body with the love handles , love that gummy smile and that amazingly thin body. When you do that you can make healthy choices for your body and not those that jeopardize your well-being. It is also important to know that it is hard to love yourself when you don’t like what you see in the mirror. That is why it is imperative that we look beyond our flaws and notice the parts of ourselves that we are proud of. It might be your character of other parts of your body.

    This leads us to our next strategy which is to focus on the good. This really works ,I Know because I’ve done it before. You might have a crooked smile but you may also have a great body structure. If I were you I’d focus on the things I love about myself. I love my hair, it is kinky , natural in short beautiful. What parts of your body do you love? Focusing on the positives brings about a positive train of thoughts that leave you feeling great.

    Recognize unrealistic standards
    Everybody is posting perfect pictures of themselves on social media that we tend to think that they are perfect. Magazines showcasing these really thin flawless models. These are the kind of beauty standards that have been set up for us. To be real with you they are “unrealistic”. We all can’t be thin, fair skinned and have doll faces.  Conformity is boring, be unique, standout and live by your own standards of beauty. The key to accepting yourself is to realize that you don’t have to be driven by these impossible standards. In place of that be yourself, love yourself flaws and all.

    Take power, take control, Don’t be a victim.
    Embrace your flaws and know that you are beautiful  still. There is beauty in all of us. You are flawsome. When you do so people’s comments about how you look will not bother you anymore because you are coming from a place of acceptance and love. This brings you freedom from trying to reach those impossible beauty standards. Reclaim your power , you are in control of how you feel, you can either feel proud of yourself or be a victim of circumstances, choose.

    Be more accepting of your flaws. Many times when we feel that something is wrong with us we tend to hide these parts of ourselves. We forget that these parts are what makes us human in other words relatable. Those scars are your battle scars they should be inspiring showing people how far you’ve come to get here. Trust me nobody is perfect and if only we didn’t hide our imperfections the world would be more accepting of people with some. But because we spend most time trying to hide so we can look perfect it becomes less easy to be accepted for who we really are.

    Embracing yourself comes with it’s benefits.

    Do you know how wonderful it feels like to be loved despite your imperfection? You cannot experience this if you spend most of your time trying to be perfect. To those who do then it is the greatest feeling ever. To be loved despite of the things the world frowns on, on your body.

    Ooh and the freedom that comes with it! Embracing yourself comes with a freedom to be who you are. Suddenly you become at peace with yourself because you don’t have to strive for unrealistic standards. You just have to be , you.

    Finally , a person who is more accepting of their imperfections is more likely to be accepting of others flaws. What a world it would be if people treated each other with empathy.

    I realize that some issues go deeper than others and seeking professional help would really be important. It would help to visit your counselor if you are at school and there are also credible therapists that you can contact online . These people will generally help you navigate your feelings regarding the way you look. Remember that your mental health is really important.

    Be your own beautiful, own your own sexy, we weren’t all created to be the same. You are Flawsome.

    Fail Gracefully

    In life every one of us at some point or the other meets failure.The feeling of failure leaves a bitter taste in our mouths, it leaves you feeling miserable. I remember failing my first test at college, it was unnerving. I was so anxious that I missed even the obvious questions. When I got the results I beat myself over it for sometime like “how could you miss this you dummy” and that’s how I felt, like a dummy.

    Now your failure may not be connected with school at all. Your’s might concern a project at work, your business, your relationship, your health and general wellness. You made a mistake and found yourself in a sticky situation. You got cheated on your money.The bottom line; failure wears many faces to different people.

    No matter what face your failure wears one thing’s for sure; it sucks to fail. When it happens to us we start seeing ourselves in the lens of that failure. We then begin to tell ourselves that just because we failed that one time there is no hope left, we are done for.

    If you are thinking that we are too hard on ourselves then you are right, we are. One mistake does not determine your worth neither does it define your entire life. Think of all the other good things you’ve done, things you accomplished and things that make you proud to be you. They are a lot and it is not fair to beat yourself up over one mistake, one misfortune.

    Life is richer when we celebrate our successes rather than focusing on our failures.

    What if instead you saw failure as an opportunity to grow? You are a sum total of your experiences in life, the good and the bad.  Hard times build your character. When you fail in some way learn from it because behind every failure lies a lesson. Failure to learn will lead you into going through the same circle of defeat. Make mistakes,learn from them and grow!

    You can’t let your failures define you. You have to let your failures teach you.
    Barack Obama

    I want you to begin to shift your perspective right now. Failing a test doesn’t make you a failure. Do not let failure define your image, who you are, rather learn from the lessons that failure so willingly offers. Why did I fail that test? I was anxious. I was not in the right frame of mind. I crammed and crammed and memorised because I was afraid to fail. I never asked for help from friends when I did not understand things from class.

    When you begin to dig deeper into why you failed you learn valuable lessons. They are things you didn’t do and things you didn’t do well . The experience helps you to become more knowledgeable so that next time you won’t repeat the same mistakes. So there you have it, instead of letting failure change your Perception of yourself, learn from it and growwww! Failure is a wonderful teacher’s instead of fearing it face it head on and learn every lesson it has to teach.

    Thomas Edison  had failed to make a battery so many times that a reporter came up to him and asked “how does it feel to have failed?” “What do you mean?”, Edison replied, “I didn’t fail, I found 1000 ways on how not to make a battery.” This response blows my mind. Failure is not an end in itself. I didn’t fail that test , I found 1 way in which I wasn’t supposed to prepare for an exam. It is the lesson that counts! Tomorrow I’ll try another way and if I fail then well I’ve found another way on how not to approach a certain issue.

    Steve Harvey said and I quote “It doesn’t matter how many times you have failed, you only have to succeed once and your life is never the same again.” It got to me and it really got me thinking. The one time you succeed is all that matters, it is all people will see. We look at Jack Ma founder of, he failed so many times but it only took one success for him to become a multi billion business owner. He failed 2 primary school tests, he was rejected by Harvard 10 times and when McDonald’s first launched in China his application for a job was rejected too but look at him now.

    Giving up is the greatest failure.
    Jack Ma
    In life we will fail so many times but it is important not to lose perspective. It is not about how many times you tried and failed . What matters is that you never gave up.

    Charlie Chaplin said and I quote,
    “Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself.”
    It takes courage to chase your dreams, it takes courage to pursue a career and it takes courage to be “who you are”. Forget about failure just take the leap. You might fail but at least you had the courage to try. You had the courage to pursue your purpose and that to me is worth more than never having to have tried at all. I can stand the feeling of failure, it isn’t permanent, I only need to rise and try again but I can never stand the feeling of regret when am old and grey and I look back at my life and my journey and I see that my fear of failure prevented me from pursuing my purpose.

    So you failed?
    Get over it
    Rise up and try one more time and this time you will have all the lessons from your past failures to help you through.

    Failure is simply an opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.
    Henry Ford

    Do not let the fear of failure keep you from pursuing your dreams. Embrace it, it’s part of the process where growth is. It is not failure that stops us but giving up does.

    If you made it right to the end I believe I’ve given you the keys to failing with Grace. Firstly ask yourself why. When you get the answers learn from the experience. Secondly, never give up because giving up is the greatest failure. Thirdly change your perspective, you didn’t fail you just found a way on how not to do something. Fourthly you need to accept the fact that failure is inevitable and guess what you only have to succeed where it counts and your life will never be the same. Finally have the courage to pursue your passion despite the outcome.

    Am glad you made it up to the end of this article and remember to fail Gracefully in all your endeavors.

    I’ll leave you with this Quote from Oprah;
    “Think like a queen, a queen is not afraid to Fail. Failure is another stepping stone to greatness.”

    10 habits of highly successful people

    If you are reading this then you are on a journey towards success. You know that there are things you need to stop doing, things you should continue doing and yet still things you need to start doing in order to be successful. You don’t decide your future, you decide your habits and your habits decide your future. In other words our habits determine whether we will be successful or not.

    They say that a journey of a 1000 miles begins with a single step. Our journey to success is a collection of steps that we take everyday. Success is not what you do for a day, it is a habit. Meaning that it is a sum total of the things that you do everyday.

    People who succeed at the highest level are not lucky. They’re doing something differently than everyone else. That is why those who want to be successful know the importance of learning from those who have been at their level but came out victorious.

    Look at the successful (“the 1%”), they have habits that distinguish them from everyone else that led them to success and are keeping them there. That is why I embarked on a journey to look at some of the habits of some very successful people so that we can all learn a thing or two.

    To begin with successful people follow their passion. Another word for passion is love, successful people do what they love to do. This is one of the reasons why they are so good at it and would never give up despite anything. A lot of people end up doing things that they don’t love just for the sake of security. This is why they aren’t happy with the work they do. Successful people stand out because they love what they do.

    The next habit of successful people is that they exercise. Doing exercises in the morning makes you feel in control of your day . To add on that it makes you physically fit. Exercise also helps to relieve stress. It doesn’t have to be a strenuous workout , it may just be something like yoga. Microsoft’s Bill Gates does Treadmill work outs to boost up his energy levels.

    Successful people spare time for gratitude. Most times we are so fixated on things that we want to have to the extent that we forget the things that we already have. Gratitude changes the way we view the universe. By now everyone has something to be grateful for. The more we are grateful the more the universe puts more blessings In our way. Gratitude is also a way to remain positive. Whenever you are plagued by negative thoughts count your blessings. I find that that helps.
    The reason I choose gratitude is because when you are grateful you cannot be angry, when you are grateful you cannot be fearful.
    Tony Robbins

    Furthermore successful people plan their days and set goals. When they wake up in the morning they set goals that they want to accomplish by the end of the day. This helps one to know when the day was productive depending on whether the goal was achieved or not. Aside from that successful people have a vision of what they want their future to look like. A vision,dream and goal  gives a person a sense of direction. Dreams drive us as human beings to strive for a better future which makes all the difference.

    Zig Zigler said and I quote, “Motivation doesn’t last, that’s why you should get it everyday”. That is why another habit of successful people is self motivation. You cannot use yesterday’s motivation to carry you through today. That is why the 1% are always looking for ways to motivate themselves. You can do this by watching motivational videos on YouTube (my personal favorite) and by reading motivational books (my other personal favorite). The bottom line is find things that get your motivational juices flowing, it makes all the difference.

    Successful people visualize! They hold mental pictures of things they want to have. Surprisingly this is a sure way of attracting anything you want. If you want a Ferrari for example, close your eyes and see yourself already in possession of that car. Feel the sit beneath you, the feel of the wheel and the speed with which the car moves. With this you shall find ways opening up to you until you’ve gotten what you wanted. The subconscious mind can materialize any thought held long enough. You see our brain cannot distinguish between something that is happening and that which we are intently thinking about. For example when you think about a traumatic incident that happened in the past the brain releases chemicals that produce feelings that are identical to how you felt when that thing happened. Your brain doesn’t know the difference so if you cried then you will also cry now. This is why it is dangerous to spend time thinking about your past and all the hurtful things that happened to you. You end up living in the same vicious cycle of being a victim. To be successful there fore you need to imagine yourself already in possession of that success.

    On another note successful people are action oriented. They go out of their comfort zone and get the work done. They just don’t sit down and say “I want a Ferrari” and expect it to appear from thin air. Visualising should not underscore the power of hard work. You want a Ferrari work for it and save enough money to purchase one! This world needs more action oriented people.

    Successful people have morning routines. The way you start your day sets the pace and tone for the rest of the day and successful people know this. Oprah wakes up at 7:10 and at 8:00am she brushes her teeth and takes her five dogs for a walk. When she gets back she makes her Expresso and reads a card pulled from her 365 gathered truths box. Meditation follows next after that. Mornings are the most important times of your days and creating a routine around them is rewarding.
    Under having a morning routine successful people wake up early. It’s true what they say an early bird catches the worm. Personally I find early mornings to be peaceful. Waking up at 5 am and everybody else is in bed gives me that much needed me-time. On top of that it gives one more time to work on things that matter the most. Another benefit is that it helps you prepare for the day ahead.  
    Adele Mc clay the COO of Facebook, wakes up at 4:30 in the morning. This gives her ample time to exercise, meditate and spend time with her family.

    Life is 20% what happens to us and 80% how we respond to it. Most times when we fail we look for people to blame and guess what it doesn’t change the fact that we are in trouble.  This leads us to another habit of successful people which is that they take responsibility for their actions. This changes the way we see the world around us. This is because instead of pointing fingers at other people you look in the mirror and try to see what went wrong so that you can avert the same situation in future.

    Finally successful people exercise self discipline. Self discipline entails that one  forgos  immediate pleasure for long-term success. Say for example I want to sleep but yet have a project I have to finish . Forgoing immediate pleasure that comes with sleeping for finishing my project is self discipline. I was watching a YouTube video on self discipline featuring Will Smith and he said and I quote, “self discipline is self love”. You should love yourself not to do anything that would jeopardize your successful future. Tell yourself that I love myself too much not to party a night before my exam. Tell yourself that I love myself too much not to waste my Money on things i don’t need instead of investing it. Discipline your mind and you have disciplined your self/actions.

    On a final note, this list is inexhaustible and  there are a lot other habits of successful people, you only need look. I hope that you have learned a lot from this article and make sure you comment down below regarding these habits. Share other Habits that weren’t included in here and let’s just get the conversation going.

    Remember; adopt winning habits and you’ll be  on the road to success.