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How to get over the past and focus on the future!

This post comes from Stephani Morris from Brooklyn, MI when she asked, “How do you get over the past and focus on the future?”

Whether your past is a good thing or bad, it can hold you back if you dwell on it for too long. I know people who won awesome awards and they never did anything after because they glued themselves to that one accomplishment. I know people who have life stories similar to the ones you see in a Lifetime movie and they stay so bitter because of their past that they can’t move on.

Let your past be stepping stones to your next success – not an anchor in which you think you have to stay (tweet). It’s time to get over the past, no matter how good or bad, and start focusing on the future.

You should be happy you have experienced the good, the bad and the ugly! As a leader, your past helps you relate and connect to more people and it helps you make decisions today that will dictate your future!

Ways you can get over the past and focus on the future:

Set up your vision board!
Get those scissors out, those old magazines you have thrown in the corner and set up a vision board of what you want your life to look like. This will help keep you focused and a visual reminder we can have what we want in life.

Ask yourself if you are being insane?
The definition of insane according to Albert Einstein is “Doing the same thing over and expecting different results.” Are you doing the same things to try and get over the past? Are you doing the same things that are keeping you stuck where you have been? What is something else you can try today to get you focused on the future and remind yourself to let it go (insert Disney theme song here).

Drop the negative people in your life!
You become who you surround yourself by. If you are around negative people, you too will be negative. If you surround yourself with those who are focused on the past… guess what? You too will do the same. It’s time to find people who are ambitious, respect their past but look to find ways to improve their future. Who can you get rid of in your life who is holding you back? Sounds brutal, but you know who they are!

Focus on yourself first!
Sounds selfish? Good, it should! Until you take care of yourself, you can’t take care of anyone else. I see so many people trying to help others yet they forget about their own well-being. What does the flight attendant tell you to do with your oxygen mask if the plane is going down? Put yours on first THEN help those next to you! The world is no good if you are no good so start focusing on yourself and how you can be stronger and get your mind focused on moving forward!

Find three quotes you like!
If you are focused too much on the past, open another tab in your browser and type “inspirational quotes” into Google. Find them, print them out and keep them around your house, car, office or bathroom to constantly remind yourself you have what it takes. Keep your eyes forward and focus on the future.

Three of my favorite quotes to keep me going:
“Whether you think you can, or you can’t, you are right.” – Henry Ford
“Do you want to know who you are? Don’t Ask. Act!” – Thomas Jefferson
” Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Write down three good things that have come out of your past! 
What good things have come from your past? Take three minutes right now and write these down. Tell yourself “parts of my past are good and now it is time to move on to bigger and better things because the world needs more of what I have to offer.” Don’t settle!

Make sure to take time today and if there is something in your past that has been holding you back, good or bad, start with setting up a vision board, finding three quotes you like and write down three good things that have come from your past that you are thankful for. This exercise might take 20 minutes of your day but will get you the boost you need as a leader to be proud of the past and focused on the future.

Thanks for the question Stephani. Let’s all keep using our voice to make a difference and as always…

Dream BIG,
Ryan

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Advice from Public Speaking’s Most Prolific Author

Holding each other's books!

Holding each other’s books!

Have you ever met one of your heroes in person? Had the chance to sit down and talk with them for an afternoon? I am happy to say I got that chance recently when I met Mr. James C. Humes, one of the world’s greatest orators and authors.

His books inspire, his life-story motivates and his ability amazes me. In fact, his books are the major reason why I fell in love with the art of communication and wanted to dedicated my life to helping people improve their communication skills. Reading his books gave me the motivation in a major way to write Speaker, Leader, Champion with Jeremey Donovan.

His firm handshake, pink and blue bow tie and lion-gaze eye contact intimidated me at first. He lived up to the person I had envisioned in my mind. Randy Harvey introduced me to Mr. Humes’ books when I was training for the World Championship. Randy gave me a copy of one of Humes’ books “

Here are the framed front covers for most of the books Mr. Humes has written!

Here are the framed front covers for most of the books Mr. Humes has written!

Mr. Humes has spoken in all 50 states, more countries that I could keep count and he was a speech writer for Nixon, Ford, Regan and Bush Senior. He wrote the words on the plaque that Neil Armstrong placed on the moon during the first landing! He has written more than 40 books and learned from Winston Churchill! He told me, “Meeting Churchill was like meeting Caesar or Napoleon, it was like shaking hands with history. Best advice Churchill gave me was to study history because in history lies the secrets to statecraft (government)!” 

He’s the real deal and as professional speakers, he is one many of us look up to.

His home is like an American Museum with oil paintings hanging on the walls, vintage books that line the floor and his entry way table is a chest from Christopher Columbus dating back to 1501. It was an honor to meet Mr. Humes and during our time together I was able to get to know him and his lovely wife.

I asked why he has dedicated decades of his life to the art of communication. He paused, looked at me and said “Speech is power…” and proceeded to tell me about how Winston Churchill used his words to inspire a nation and as he spoke, reminiscing on the words of Churchill, he ended by saying “… words are the difference between defeat and survival.”

He is right! There is nothing more powerful than speech! Why wouldn’t you want to master the art of speaking?

I am thankful I had the opportunity to meet Mr. Humes as he is someone I very much look up to. Just listening to his stories, being allowed in his home and learning from him was a top ten moment for me. He offered me advice for the next time I talk on stage and shared the three elements of what it takes to make a great speech:

You Need A Great Man (or Woman)
Someone willing to step up when times are tough. Someone who is willing to speak out on issues they believe in. Someone who is willing to use their voice to make a difference. The world is full of great men and woman we just need more of them to use their voice to help our world! A great man or woman will not be made overnight. You need trials and tribulations, you need failures and a sprinkle of success stories- you need to experience life. All of the things that have happened and are happening in your life, prepare you to be a better person, to be a stronger man and a capable leader.

You Need A Great Occasion
There are only a few opportunities in life for a great man or woman to deliver a great speech because there are few great occasions. But look for them. Reach out and ask to be the speaker. Reach out and see what you can do to get yourself on stage, in front of that microphone and during the next great occasion. Think of how you can be remembered for the words you say.

Ryan Avery and Toastmasters and James HumesYou Need Great Eloquence
You can borrow the eloquence from someone by sharing their story and how they handled the situation. Think of great leaders of our time and how they were able to handle the situations given to them. Remember to share stories that make a point, pause to let the audience soak in what you are saying and end with what Humes likes to say a “Soul Shaker!” (inspirational story). 

It took time, digging and a lot of research to be able to get in touch with Mr. Humes but it was worth every minute! Take the time this week to look over who inspires you, who motivates you and who you look up to. Reach out to them and come up with a list of questions to ask when you two meet. Your heroes are out there and they are willing to meet with you if you only ask! Remember to use your voice to make a difference and as always…

Dream BIG,
Ryan

P.S. If you could interview one person this week, who would it be?