Presence

Bringing you Boldest Self to your Biggest Challenges

I decided to join a book club for the sole purpose of self-education and to keep my mind sharp. The book club specifically focuses on self-help books that are typically top sellers. I’d like to share lessons learned from “Presence” by Amy Cuddy.

Amy Cuddy is one of New York Times best-selling authors, gave the second most watched TED Talk in history, and is a Harvard Business School Professor. Needless to say she has great credentials. According to the author “presence” is the number one secret to success. Presence is the ability to be in tune with and express your boldest self in stressful situations. To summarize the author’s message – In order to bring our most effective confident selves to the table during critical moments (Interviews, Presentations, etc.), we must exude Presence. By harnessing the power of our posture as well as “mental nudges” we’re able to transform ourselves from nervous to commanding, from anxious to confident, powerless to powerful.

I found the book to be an inspirational and easy read. The book provides real world examples and solutions you can implement immediately. There are illustrations which come in handy when discussing power poses. Here are some lessons learned that can potentially help you achieve success in those critical situations.

Lesson 1 – Self Affirmation Theory

“Focus less on the impression you’re making on others and more on the impression your making on yourself” – Amy Cuddy

During times of stress and judgment, you have the ability to put yourself in the right of mind by reminding yourself of who you are, regardless of the outcome. Ultimately, the solution is to remind yourself of who you are deep down. You can do this by writing down your 3 core values, then remind yourself often why you are the embodiment of these three values.

 

Lesson 2 – The Power Poses

The posture of your physical body affects your mind. Adopt power poses. Spread outward. For example 2 minutes before a big meeting stretch your arms outward and or over your head like a champion. Avoid powerless poses like hunching, curling inward, or crossing arms & legs. Power posing increases testosterone (confidence) and decreases cortisol (stress).

 

Lesson 3 – Replace Fear with Excitement

You will perform better if you are excited instead of nervous or calm. The old cliché of telling yourself to calm down when nervous is ineffective. Instead, before a critical performance, tell yourself “I’m excited” if you feel anxious or nervous.

 

Lesson 4 – Self Nudges

Making small changes over time is sometimes more effective than taking massive action. Try picking only one lesson mentioned above and forget the rest as a start.

 

In closing remember the following:

Power posing will increase your confidence and decrease anxiety before a big event.

Don’t avoid fear, use it. When you’re nervous say “I’m excited”.

In tricky situations, remind yourself of who you are.

 

For more information I encourage you to read the book in its entirety.

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