When my daughter, Marissa, was young, we developed a mantra to help her feel more confident. She would say, “I am calm, confident, and courageous.” We found that when she said that to herself, she stood up a little straighter, took a deep breathe, and found the courage to look the world straight in the face. Eventually she became a strong, confident woman, capable of taking on the world with confidence.
I never knew that this saying reflected an actual scientific finding until Karen, an Interview Doctor client, mentioned this great TED Talk I just had to see.
Amy Cuddy is a Harvard University Business School professor whose research determined that small changes in body language can make a huge difference. The TED Talk, “Your body language shapes who you are”, is awesome!
Her research focuses specifically on how body language influences job interviews. Shy, quiet people who make themselves small with crossed arms and legs, hunched over their cell phones, will not go as far as a confident person whose body language makes them appear confident and strong.
Now, we know that job searching is not for the faint of heart. It is tough work. You hear “no” far more often than you hear yes. People can be rude and inconsiderate but still you must be calm, confident, and courageous in the face of obstacles. So how in the world are you supposed to put up an appearance of confident body language?
Fake it ’til you make it. Really.
Dr. Cuddy discovered that if job seekers adopted power poses for only two minutes prior to important conversations like interviews, their testosterone goes up reflecting increased dominance and cortisol goes down, reflecting reduced stress. This is the power combination we are looking for!
You want some of this, right? It is the job seeker’s version of the mantra “calm, confident, and courageous.” You can do this yourself to see if it works.
According to Dr. Cuddy, before an important meeting, go to a private place like the bathroom or sit in your car for two minutes in a power pose. Stand with your hands on your hips and your chest out like Wonder Woman or Superman. Or, sit with your hands behind your head. Make yourself big. Hold that pose for two minutes. Your body chemistry will change. You will feel more confident. You can take on the world!!
You might have to fake it at first but, eventually, you will believe you can take on the world.