If you’re like me, TED talk videos probably have a hypnotizing effect on you. I watch one, and before I know it, I’ve watched three more and am suddenly ready to tackle all of life’s challenges. The messages given in these talks are often powerful and compelling, but even more so, I find myself drawn to the speakers themselves.
I recently watched a talk by Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist who researches the impact of body position on your level of confidence. She captured my attention within thirty seconds, and as it turns out, I’m not the only one – Cuddy’s video is the second most watched TED talk to date.
Though studies on what your body language communicates to others are not new, Cuddy offered a refreshing change of perspective. Her talk focused on how choosing or “tweaking” body positions can impact your own confidence. She believes that “power poses” held for at least two minutes can affect hormone levels causing you to feel and act more confident. Though the scientific validity of Cuddy’s experiment is being questioned, I think the premise behind her idea has merit. If yoga, meditation, and exercise are all thought to have a positive impact on our stress levels and mental prowess, then why doesn’t it stand to reason that power posing would have some effect on hormone levels and our confidence?
The validity of Cuddy’s study aside, what was most compelling about the talk was her own personal story, one in which she overcomes severe brain damage at 19 to not only graduate college, but also go on to join the faculty at a prestigious university. Early on in her career, Cuddy felt out of place among her distinguished peers, but a mentor encouraged her saying “you belong here.”
From that interaction, Cuddy realized you can “fake it ’till you become it.” One small word change, and the phrase takes on new meaning. To me, “fake it ’till you make it,” implies you have stray from being true to yourself to accomplish goals. Cuddy’s version encourages you to internalize the feeling of confidence. By “faking” that feeling of confidence and power continually, you truly begin to believe it. Confidence becomes the new reality, and soon you begin to approach change, new situations, career, personal life all with a different perspective.
So, the next time you question whether you belong at a networking event or at the podium giving a speech to a large crowd, remember to strike a power pose and “fake it ’till you become it.” Tell yourself you do belong in that boardroom or that roomful of smart people. Be true to your ideals, but remind yourself you can be the best at whatever it is on which you have you mind set.
Are you intrigued? Watch Amy Cuddy’s TED talk and let me know what you think.