Public speaking. Women faint, children weep, men shard in their trousers.
I’m in a position to witness a lot of average joes try their hand at public speaking. I’m not going to lie, most are piss poor at it. The fear of being in front of others gets the best of them and they fold in crunch time. The worse they feel about it, the worse job they do. The speaker thinks they are the ones suffering but in actuality it is the poor listeners who have to sit through their scatter-brained rants. There is one girl in particular who makes me want to self immolate. She starts and ends EVERY sentence with um, with a healthy dose of other assorted pausers thrown in for good measure. She speaks too fast, looks down at every opportunity, and her voice projects as far as Stephen Hawking throws a baseball. It takes every ounce of energy to not pull a Kanye or bash my head against the table. Chances are you or someone you know has a dreadful fear of public speaking. Since communication is one of the most crucial skills to efficient leadership Exceed and Lead has got your back with my super awesome guide to public speaking.
In part 1 we are going to look at your posture and breathing.
-Posture is very important to how you speak and present yourself to others. If you stand tall with your chest out and a confident stance you will feel more powerful and confident. This is a recurring theme on this site; emotion follows motion. Likewise if you slouch, look downward, and mutter you will feel like shit. In his book Rules of The Game, Neil Strauss outlines the Alexander Technique which will correct many common posture issues (I can vouch, it has worked for me). Basically all you have to do is stand with your back against a wall and make sure your heels, ass, and back of your head touch the wall. Imagine a string running the length of your body pulled taut. Not about to snap, but just tight with little give to it. After holding that position for one minute, walk around your room in the same form. It will seem awkward at first but the more you practice the more natural it will seem.
I will do a post on effective body language for leaders later on but for now just follow Alpha Persona’s ALA principle. It is of utmost importance to watch your posture while you sit also. Sit straight up and don’t slouch. Besides the irreversible damage to your spine you are forced to take shallow breaths which ruin your full voice potential. Always be aware of your posture from now on.
-With your posture looking better you can finally utilize your full lung and diaphragm potential. Most people take too many breaths per minute and do not fully oxygenate their brain. Your fight or flight response causes this when you panic (future post we tackle that). Heart rate increases, blood vessels constrict, adrenaline pumps, pupils dilate, you know the deal. Even in relative peace peeps still breathe like they pay for air. From now take only 6 to 7 breaths per minute. Go ahead and time yourself doing it. In through the nose, out through the mouth for 1 minute. As far as breathing in, use your diaphragm (muscle behind your ribcage) more than your lungs. You will feel better, be more relaxed, and naked women will feed you grapes.
The right way
Utilizing these steps your baseline voice and posture will be higher. 50% of your speaking problems will be eliminated off the bat and public speaking will come naturally soon enough. The key is to practice daily.You are breaking long held beliefs and actions by following these tips and repetition is the only way to win. If you do not become aware of your breathing and posture in daily life you will panic in crunch time. Next post we work on your speech patterns. If you have any tips or questions on posture or breathing drop me a line in the comments. Also if you have cool stories of speaking in public be sure to let me know.
My advisors said it would be foolish if I ranted about others not knowing what they wanted out of life and didn’t share my own goals. You’re going to need some background to put it in context so here goes. Physically my team and I are pushing ourselves further than we’ve ever gone. Together we climbed the highest mountain in our town, then highest in county, then last summer the highest in our state (NY) which is Mount Marcy. Mt. Marcy is the highest point in the state and the highest peak in the Adirondack High Peaks standing at 5344 ft and a rugged 14.7 mile roundtrip to summit and back. Coincidentally we unknowingly joined the High Pointers Club (successfully visit all 50 state high points) as unofficial peak-baggers which is admittedly badass , I’m currently at two with NJ also under my belt.
This June brings us to the highest mountain in the northeast region which is Mt. Washington (6288 ft) situated a bitchin 8 hours away in New Hampshire. Straight from Wiki “On January 16, 2004, the summit weather observation registered a temperature of −43.6 °F (−42.0 °C) and sustained winds of 87.5 mph (140.8 km/h), resulting in a wind chill value of −103 °F (−75 °C) at the mountain. During a 71-hour stretch from around 3 p.m. on January 13 to around 2 p.m. on January 16, 2004, the wind chill on the summit never went above −50 °F (−46 °C). Snowstorms at the summit are routine in every month of the year, with snowfall averaging 311 inches (7.9 m) per year. Temperatures above 72 °F (22 °C) at the summit have never been recorded.“. Also has the record for the highest windspeed recorded by man at 231 mph.
Thankfully, the path to summit is only about 8.4 miles roundtrip so we can tag and bag within a few hours. Besides the mountain there are at least 3 mud-run/ hardcore murder obstacle courses we plan on completing this year. As I mentioned in the Warrior Dash post we’re in training for the Spartan Sprint in June and Tough Mudder in October. I’ll go into it in another post but TM is considered by many to be the hardest one day event devised by man.
Short Term Goals (<12 months)
-Continue training (need to be able to run 10 miles @ 8 min per mile) and gain 9-11 lbs of muscle with lifting/diet.
-Finish semester with A’s.
-Catch big waves in Hawaii with brazilian surfer cutie Maya Gabeira.
-Motivate and inspire people through this site. I really can’t say it enough, you have untapped greatness within you and can do more than you ever thought possible. I admit that sounds corny as all fuck but I really believe in you. If you’re here reading this you already have a burning desire to be better, now don’t let anything stop you in pursuit of your goal. We are working our way up to the Seven Summits, if our lifestyle allows us to live long enough we will climb all 7.
Clear concise goals are a major part of that as you can see with mine. I only listed my short term physical goals (as opposed to mental/monetary/spiritual) here b/c I don’t want a wall of text staring you down, trust me there’s a shit ton more where that came from.
On an unrelated note shout out to my first non-hate/spam comment from Flavia at revoltagainst.wordpress.com/. Insightful social commentary spiked with cutting humor. Second and third comments go to Kenny at Kennyspuathoughts.wordpress.com. Kenny has done big things and plans even bigger (Cuba is gonna be wild), with that attitude he’s welcome here anytime.
Now get ready to watch watch what a REAL determined SOB can do when he sets his mind to it. David motherfuckin Goggins aka “The Human Machine” is a U.S. Navy Seal who runs ultramarathons ( anything more than 26.4 mi). Watch this and then tell me you can’t talk to that girl or pass that test.
*At it’s heart this is a motivational site. I write about things I do to lead people away from fear of the unknown and towards a rich fulfilling life. However, sometimes you need to take a different approach. Sometimes that approach constitutes a scatter brained rant. With that said…*
What do you want out of your life? Are you working towards it? The second question is infinitely more important than the first. Everyone more or less wants the same thing, we are just at different stages.. As Maslow stated in his hierarchy of needs theory we need our physiological needs such as food, water, and shelter to be met first. Next is safety of body and resources followed by the next stage of group acceptance and sense of belonging. Fourth is esteem (confidence and achievement) and finally self-actualization where we ponder concepts of morality and spirituality. Obviously current refugees of the Great War of Africa are through no fault of their own stuck on the first and second levels. The conflict prevents them from living to their full potential. (*I’m not harping about Kony or that noise, haven’t even watched that vid that went viral.*) Yet still, thousands of miles away here in the states there are thousands of people living unfulfilled lives through complete fault of their own. The faceless internet trolls would be quick to remind me of the homeless, drug-addled, and falsely imprisoned, stuck in fates cruel web. To them I say STFU, most made their choice early on and only a vast minority were forced into anything. You all have a choice, whether you plunge that dirty needle in your arm or choose to obtain your GED is yours and yours alone to make.
Many are quick to make excuses why they cannot pursue their dreams, they don’t go far. “I’m too (old, stupid, fat…) to get into shape”
A busy schedule, kids, you don’t feel like it. Guess what, no one gives two shits about your excuses why you can’t exercise. Their just going to keep laughing at you behind your back because you are a pathetic sack of shit with no willpower..
. Yet some of you will still make these half-hearted excuses about why you can’t (really you mean won’t) get into shape. Despite your Disney fairytale beliefs people will not respect you regardless of how you look. It’s always the fuglies and omegas who rant “why won’t you just accept me the way I am” or push the “just be yourself campaign”. But deep down you know why we don’t respect you. You don’t respect yourself enough to stick to your goals. Instead you foolishly hope the world will cave and love you for the special snowflake you truely are. The truth is everyone who is respected earns itthrough hard work and determination. Fitness is only one aspect in a well balanced life. Perhaps you bitch and whine all day about being a cog in the corporate machine. You want to start a business but you don’t take any action at all. You want to be better with women but don’t approach. You want to learn a new language/instrument but never practice.
You can be better, you have to be better. That’s the simple fact of the matter. You must find a way to get to your goals. No one wants to grow old and wonder if their life could have been different if they did X activity or told X that they loved her. This is what keeps me driving everyday. I am young now but it will all be over soon enough. A human life is infinitesimally inconsequential in the grand scheme of things, faced with this fact I feel no fear. The universe is estimated to be 13.7 billion (13,700,000,000) years old. Your average life expectancy, give or take is 77 years ( 77). The time has come to step up, the time has come to be a fucking killer. Why are you still afraid?
People are asking me what these experience posts are about and how they help readers exceed and lead their peers. I believe that the more stuff you can conquer, the more confident you can be in society. Confidence is not some archaic concept where some are born with it and some aren’t. A lot of peeps out there like to think “well I’m not confident so I must be shit out of luck” or man that guy/girl is so (random adjective) and confident” when really they worked their ass off to get there. Maybe a small minority had the perfect life where they were born beautiful into a wealthy and loving house where butlers wiped their asses with 1000000 ply toilet paper. You know the rest of the narrative… but, for the rest of us confidence is built and you can make that bitch your own. The only way to do so is to constantly push your limits. With that said, grab your balls were about to get messy…
In a sense the Warrior Dash sums up this site pretty damn well. “A mud-crawling, fire-leaping, extreme 5k run from hell. Warriors conquer extreme obstacles, push their limits and celebrate with music, beer and Warrior helmets” is how the staff describe it and they are not lying. I completed the New York leg back in June (I think) 2011 with my equally fearless buddy.
I was always fit but I wanted to test my limits and see how far I could push my self. We signed up 6 months in advance and started training. I had already been lifting but I was slacking in my cardio so I had to do some roadwork. Queue up Eye of the Tiger and some sweats and I turn into Rocky gunning for the title. This is a key tenet to this site: Outside Motivators. You can want to get in shape but if you don’t have a reason to, I guarantee you will slack like the elastic waistband on the only pants that will fit you.
If you want to get into amateur bodybuilding, sign up for a meet set for 1 year from now. Same with learning a language, pull a Roosh and set a date to visit the country. Internal motivators are important but if you only have 147 days till a meet you will bust your ass in the gym. I digress, we went balls to the wall with the running. Started with 1 mile and increased roughly each week. At my peak I could run 6.4 miles flatland without stopping and by June I felt confident in my ability to beat this race’s ass. We got our awesome barbarian metal playlist and set out for Windham NY.
There’s a sort of village set up on the mountain where everything takes place. Oh did I forget to tell you it takes place on a steep ass mountain, my bad. Races are held on Saturday and Sunday with waves running hourly from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is one huge party up there with many peeps camping out the entire weekend. It’s more a fun social event with beer, food, live music, games, and hot, fit, muddy women everywhere.
Our wave had about 140 people set to take off. Obstacles included 2 neck deep mudpits, cargo nets to traverse, cars to jump over, walls to climb, and the supremely righteous fire jump. The worst obstacle for me wasn’t even an obstacle. You start on a one mile run directly up the mountain which leads to the obstacles. I didn’t train for hills and I got my ass beat trying to run up it, eventually falling into the middle of the pack trucking it up the hill. That was by far the worst thing about the race, some guy even puked at the top. When you get to the top the obstacles pose little threat to you as they are just meant to slow you down not beat the shit out of you unlike obstacles in the Spartan Sprint and Tough Mudder. The mud caked to your clothes will slow you down some though. Also the course is as you can imagine all mud so you will slip if you don’t watch your step. We finished middle of the pack, washed off, and got our medals and free beer while watching chicks fall into the mud pits for the rest of the day.
-Wear clothes and shoes you can throw away. There is a pile of discarded shoes at each race they call the Rubber Mountain where you can throw yours after. The New York one was about 5 feet high. Obviously bring a set of clothes to change into since your race clothes will be completely muddy and soaked.
-If your down to tailgate and camp there by all means go ahead. The event organizers did a great job of creating a community of awesome people chilling out for the weekend. We met people that came all the way from Vermont to camp out and participate. Live bands and cool shows keep you interested throughout the days while the nights are spent hanging around campfires eating turkey legs with your new found friends.
– You are running up and then down a steep mountain, make sure your joints can handle it. While this is by far the tamest mud run there is, it is still dangerous. The obstacles aren’t the problem, the terrain is. Running downhill on a muddy hill while preparing for a sharp turn is hair-raising to say the least.
– The culture is definitely more laid back than the other mud runs. Kinda reminds me of an outdoor music festival. People are here to chill, and have a good time. Not really about competition as much as just finishing. I saw all kinds of peeps finish that I didn’t think could honestly. There was even a 12 yr old kid and some guy that had to be about 5’10 and 300 lbs finish the wave after me.
– You can wear ANYTHING you want so make it count. There were the barbarian bros, the girls wearing Thing 1, Thing 2 matching outfits, and the dudes dressed as furries. By far my favorite had to be the guy in a blue business suit and briefcase. This guy checks his watch mid-jump over the fire pit and screams “I’M LATE FOR A MEETING”. This is exactly when the pics are taken so it was pure 110% epic. When my sides stopped hurting from laughter I actually bought that one along with mine.
Verdict: Success! Bring your friends and have a great time. Buy your tix early and bring your own food/beer (shits expensive up there). Same friend and I are doing it again this year while training for the Spartan Sprint and Tough Mudder also later in the year. As always be adventurous, stay fearless!
Watsup world, welcome to Exceed and Lead. As the name suggests I want you, that’s right you to exceed your expectations set for yourself and help lead others to live their dreams. To do this we have to understand that fear is the main thing holding people back from achieving their goals/dreams.
If you are like me there have been many things you have wanted to do but others told you not to. Maybe you wanted to go paragliding but all you hear from everyone is how their mother’s uncles cousin twice removed gardeners daughter injured herself in said activity. It may sound cliche but once you set out and try your hand (even if you do not succeed) at a task, you realize your fear was irrational all along. That’s why to help you along I am going to actively participate in these activities and give you an honest objective review. I have never been a morally self-righteous person so there are no limits to the debauchery interesting activities. For example I will attend a religious service for each religion (Catholic, Islam, Buddhist, etc…) but the next day I might (will) review recreational drugs, very dangerous activities (skydiving, base-jumping, wingsuit flying??), partying in all U.S. major cities, travel abroad, and other raucous stuff.
Together we can kick the shit out of fear (You hold it down while I stomp on it’s face) and live life’s pleasures. First review coming soon.