Do you let the air out of your own balloon?
In my post a couple of weeks ago about the highlights of the Romance Writers of America National Conference I mentioned Dr. Valerie Young‘s presentation on The Imposter Syndrome.
I was all set to write about that tendency many of us have to deflate our own power by discounting our success as a fluke, or worse, by self-sabotaging, but author Jami Gold beat me to it. I can’t do better than her blog post last week on the subject, “Do You Belong? Or Are You a Fraud?” Head over to Jami’s site and read this great article!
Dr. Young’s approach to addressing a disempowering mindset requires some thoughtful introspection, self-awareness, and commitment to a plan, and it’s time well-spent.
But if you only have two minutes…
Thoughtful introspection is a wonderful thing but lots of times we’re in the moment and there’s no time for a session with our guru or our journal. Maybe we have five minutes until an interview, or a pitch, or a big, big meeting at work, and we’re paralyzed by shyness, or apprehension, or just plain crappiness. What can we do for a quick fix?
Harvard Business School professor and social psychologist Amy Cuddy has the answer: change our body language!
In her 2012 TED Talk, she says “Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves.” In nature, power is manifested by puffed up chests, fanned tails, wide-racked antlers. Power is big, spread out, and looming.
It’s not hard to see who has the power in this photo from the 1964 Olympics. We’ll see lots more of this pose when the games get going in Rio!
Fake it until you become it!
This sounds like pop psychology, right? Except that Dr. Cuddy’s studies show that two minutes of power body posing impacts testosterone and cortisol levels in the body, moving them more into alignment with the readings of the more naturally dominant study subjects.
In other words, in two minutes of power posing you can fake it until you become it!
Want to try it? Take two minutes and strike this pose:
Amy Cuddy calls it the Wonder Woman pose, but let’s be gender neutral and call it the Superhero Pose.
When I get nervous or stressed, my whole body droops. In the last month, two people have called me out on my posture, but I’ve been plenty stressed personally and professionally, and my introvert self was taxed to the limits by RWA Nationals. I’ve been working at better posture, and I think Amy Cuddy is on to something! I’m going to give this whole power posing thing a shot! If you try it, let me know in the comments if it worked for you!
If you’re feeling down, try smiling. Supposedly that body language link works also to make you feel better.
And one more amazing use of Amy Cuddy’s theory
Did you see my May post about Nyquist, the winner of the Kentucky Derby? His trainer talked about Nyquist’s high-flying, dedicated, professional athlete personality. Horses have personality, and a horse trainer has used Amy Cuddy’s methods to rescue depressed horses and turn them into champions: “Walk like a panther, trot like a stallion.”
You can find Amy Cuddy’s post about this and a video here, and if you love gorgeous horses, the video is a real treat. Enjoy!
Images: balloon and mountaintop, Depositphotos.com; runners and superheroes, Wikimedia.