The Power of Competition

Mark ReaganConfidence, Performance, Public Speaking4 Comments

The Power of competition

I pace the hall. My mouth has gone dry and my hands are sweating in the gaps between my fingers. The audience applauds the current speaker. A minute later my name is announced and I stride to the front of the room before a group of 60 people. The title of my speech is announced. Taking the place I’ve planned out on the stage, I begin speaking. Last weekend, I competed in my area’s division level contest for the International Speech Competition put on yearly by Toastmasters. The third round of the competition, I was up against seven others, each … Read More

When Your Standards Are Too High (and When They’re Not High Enough)

Mark ReaganHappiness, Performance, Stress Management0 Comments

How to tell your standards are too high

Each week I have a call with my accountability partner. We give updates on our current projects and goals, and talk about any obstacles we run into. This past call, we ended up talking about standards. In this case, we talked about standards being too high to the point they can hold us back, cause unnecessary stress, and even stop us from trying at all. The Curse of Too High Standards Standards can be a great thing as I’ll write about below. But sometimes they keep us completely stuck or run us ragged. Here’s one of the “too high” standards … Read More

The Magic of Deadlines

Mark ReaganMotivation, Performance, Stress Management0 Comments

how to use deadlines

For the past few weeks, I’ve been rather… lazy. Sure, I’ve still been getting out a weekly blog post and keeping up on my other work, but I haven’t been putting much into my public speaking. This isn’t good when I have a competition coming up to prepare for in May, a 30 minute speech to work on to pitch to service clubs and other groups that need speakers, and more. What happened in March that I fell off the wagon for my speaking? An easy excuse would be to say “I didn’t have the time,” or “life happened.” Sometimes … Read More

3 Things Athletes Can Teach Us About Stress and Performance

Mark ReaganPerformance, Stress Management1 Comment

athletes stress and performance

“It’s not the will to win that matters—everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.” – Paul “Bear” Bryant Famous athletes can dominate headlines (and your Facebook feed). Here in Denver, there was lots of excitement around football quarterback Peyton Manning coming to play for the Broncos. I didn’t know who Peyton Manning was, and if I didn’t live here, I probably wouldn’t know who the Denver Broncos were, either. Although I played sports as a kid, I stopped enjoying it and don’t pay any attention to what goes on at the games (The Broncos won … Read More

How to Thrive in a World of Stressed Out People

Mark ReaganStress Management1 Comment

What to do when everyone else is stressed

My girlfriend’s tense. I’m in a hurry, and I’ve come into her home office to talk a moment before I head out. Her tone of voice changes, and I can feel her withdraw. “What’s wrong?” I ask. “When you get into a rush it stresses me out.” If I get into a hurry, it’s usually because I feel like I’m going to be late. As a kid, the adults in my life were always running behind. Whether it was picking me up from school, or going to a movie, we were rarely on time. It doesn’t matter why they were … Read More

The Secret of How to Overcome Performance Anxiety

Mark ReaganPerformance, Stress Management4 Comments

How to Overcome Performance Anxiety

Last night I competed in a speech contest. I’m part of Toastmasters. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s an organization that helps people develop their public speaking and leadership skills. This month kicks off Toastmasters’ contest season, and I competed last night in the first round at my local club. It’s my first time competing, and I was stressed to say the least. So were all the other contestants. One of them said to me, “I have never been this nervous.” Whether you call it nerves, say you’ve got “butterflies” in our stomach or are tense, it’s all stress … Read More

Don’t Do This One Thing While Stressed

Mark ReaganStress Management2 Comments

I didn’t see much of my friends that year. It was early summer, and I flew to Wisconsin to spend time with the woman I was in love with. I came back heartbroken, because it turned out she was in love with another guy and that left me out in the cold. The situation sucked. But this isn’t a mushy post about how lovelorn I was, it was what I did afterward that I shouldn’t have. I came back stressed out. That stress stayed with me for months. I had really liked her, I couldn’t get the situation out of … Read More

How Much Stress is Too Much?

Mark ReaganStress Management10 Comments

how much stress is too much

I’m on a late flight back from California. A man in his early 30s with jet black hair sits next to me. Let’s call him Steve. The bags under Steve’s eyes are thick. He hasn’t slept much the last few days, he’s recovering from a cold, and he’s a little loopy. Instead of resting, he tells me he can never sleep on planes and starts talking to me. And I ask him questions. Lots of questions (I’m a coach, after all!). Steve is stressed out. He flew home for a day to see his family and was immediately flying back … Read More

7 Unintentional Ways You’re Stressing Yourself Out

Mark ReaganPersonal Development, Stress Management6 Comments

7 Unintentional Ways You're Stressing Yourself OUt

I’m behind the counter, sorting through some of my CDs from the backroom. “Where’d you put it?” It’s my first job at retail, and I can’t find what I’m looking for. My coworker Richard’s played a couple of pranks on me before, taking things and hiding them. “What?” Richard said. “Where’d you put it?” “What are you talking about?” “I knew you took it. Where did you put it?” He face turned tomato red and he laughed. I thought it meant he was lying. I got more angry at him, more flustered… and then found the CD had fallen behind some … Read More

5 Ways to Get Unstuck When Your Confidence Runs Out

Mark ReaganConfidence6 Comments

Get unstuck

There I was, terrified. I had climbed too high and the worst had happened: I was stuck. I had taken a dare, and now I couldn’t get back down. It was over for me… or would’ve been, if I had been climbing Everest or some incredibly dangerous cliff face. But I was five years old, in kindergarten, and had climbed on top of the monkey bars during a sunny day at recess. Getting up on the bars was easy. I was confident I could do it, and I succeeded. But once I was up there? I was so high up! … Read More