I went to a meeting of TEC-P (Technology Employment in Colorado Partnership) in Denver on Thursday. It was a fascinating meeting that started off with a TED talk on Body Language by Amy Cuddy.
We have viewed Body Language as a way to determine how other people are feeling, but Amy points out that it can be a great influence on how we feel about ourselves. Our body posture and language tells our minds whether we are powerful and in control by being large or submissive and subservient by being small. A classic example of a power position is the Wonder Woman pose. When we are interviewing, we are advised to loosely mirror the interviewer’s posture and enthusiasm. However, it has been shown that too often when the person with whom we are talking takes a power position, we instinctively assume the submissive (small) position. If you watch the embedded video of Amy Cuddy, you will see several examples of this.
In this video, Amy repeats a common phrase that is used quite often, “Fake it until you make it.” She modifies it to “Fake it until you become it.” I would like to make one more modification to this phrase to be “Do it until you become it.” Amy gives an excellent example toward the end of the video about overcoming the effects of a serious car accident where her brain injuries left her with a two standard deviation drop in her IQ. Since she had always been labeled as gifted, this was a devastating setback to her. Amy Cuddy heard from multiple people that she would never finish college. She struggled through undergraduate school, but eventually was accepted to graduate school. She was blessed with an excellent counselor/mentor who made her “fake it” until she believed that she had become the good student she always wanted to be.
We are often called human beings, but I think that we need to change this to state that “We Are Each a Human Becoming.” There is an old saying in business that “If your company is not growing, it is dying.” This applies to each of us as individuals also. When I want to do my best, I ask myself each morning “What will I learn and do today?” The bookend to this is to write down at night a brief summary of What I Have Learned Today. When we are at our best, we are geared to continually learn and do what we learn to become our best selves. Life is too short and we should expect nothing less from ourselves.
Darren Hardy of Success Magazine said on one of his Daily Mentoring videos that we “need to eat the frog first.” I have the most energy in the morning, as most people do. Eating the frog first means to figure out what are the most important tasks that we need to do today and understand the reason Why those tasks are the most important. Then plan out our day and do the most difficult task first. As we do this, we will gain more confidence in ourselves and we will present a more positive and powerful countenance in our daily lives and interactions with other people.
We each go through tough times in our lives. There can be many causes for these times. What we do during the hard times says volumes about who we are and how we overcome difficulty. Starting every day with some basic exercises, including practicing power postures, is a good way to have your body and mind performing at peak efficiency. For me, I really like the “Wonder Woman” pose. Also, be sure to read something uplifting. For example, read something by your favorite motivational speaker or a section of your favorite Scriptures. I enjoy doing the latter as well as listening to a Daily Motivation by Darren Hardy.
Organize and Build Your Confidence
Practice power positions, especially before going into a stressful situation. Power Positions increase your confidence and decrease you stress levels. Super heroes can be a good role model, if chosen wisely. Look at Amy Cuddy imitating Wonder Woman. Then compare her pose to Superman’s power pose. This can work for each of us also. Be honest with yourself, how do you feel after holding this position for 5 minutes. The video above refers to an experiment done with half the candidates taking a power position and half not. There was a very strong corrolation between those who took the power pose and those who did well on the interview.
We each need to grow daily. Start the day off with confidence. Organize the week before it starts. Organize the day the night before. Improve each day by learning something new and doing it. Practice each day on something that is important until the desired mastery level is reached. Then we need to evaluate what we are doing and modify our tasks where needed to prioritize what we need to do to become closer to the person we want to be. Always remember to “Do until you Become.”