Monthly Archives: November 2013

Strike a Pose (Really!): Being a Better You Is Easier Than You Think!

One of our favorite TED talks is by Amy Cuddy because in it she talks about how taking a new posture – what she has called “power posing” – can bring us new energy and confidence. Cuddy and her colleagues’ research had a fascinating outcome. People who strike high-power poses (expansive, big postures) before a stressful experience like a mock job interview are rated as more confident by others than people asked to put themselves into less powerful poses (restrictive, small postures). This result occurred despite the fact that all the people involved were given the same challenging experience to complete after they adopted one of the two kinds of poses.

It seems that there is an internal register of how someone successful carries him or herself. For instance, blind athletes who have never been able to see the “success poses” done by other athletes – arms raised, chest out, head thrust back – have nonetheless been seen to make these same movements themselves. Wow! It seems crazy not to try to use what seems to be a universal built-in mechanism to increase our sense of success or power. This straightforward technique could very well improve our sense of agency, assertiveness, comfort with risks and perhaps even our degree of optimism – and it seems to make others see us in a better light too.

With that in mind how might we follow Cuddy’s advice and “fake it until we make it”? Try these three simple tips to get you started:

First, we can watch Amy Cuddy’s TED talk or others like it to get more specific information on how to adopt these physical poses.

Second, we can stop making ourselves small in order to fit in with the expectations of others, be they loved one’s opinions, cultural mores, or our own fear of standing out by being ourselves and then not being accepted.

Third, we can look to others we see as powerful for ideas and inspiration to guide us toward taking on more powerful stances, roles, and choices in our lives.

Before your important event – a big meeting, a job interview or first date – take a moment to reflect on the above techniques. Make the commitment to put yourself in the best “position” possible!

Self-Discovery Tool Number 67
Is how you are holding yourself enhancing your sense of self-efficacy or making you feel less in charge? Are you putting yourself in a power position or are you restricting yourself to accommodate others? Strike a pose of strength – who knows what gifts this simple technique could yield?!