It’s all natural, baby. They’re walking their walk, talking their talk, shining their superstar shine. How do those powerful people with all that PRESENCE keep on glowing? You know, like they’re doing it with no effort, like they feel confident and happy and free ALL the time?
1. Straddle a chair. Stand tall. Psychologist Deborah Gruenfeld, PhD, an expert in the body language of power, has this to say about recent research that suggests a powerful posture can spark a biochemical reaction in the body that makes you feel more powerful:
“Powerful people use furniture wrong—to great effect. They sit sideways on chairs, drape their arms over the back, or use two chairs by placing an arm across the back of an adjacent chair. They put their feet on the desk. They sit on the desk. They turn the chair around backward and straddle it.”
“Many of us, especially women, resign ourselves to the idea that if we don’t feel powerful, we can’t act that way,” she explains. “But these new findings imply that you can reverse the equation: By changing how you use your body, you can change your psychology, and ultimately, the circumstances of your life.”
2. Smile. Ever since Darwin proposed his theory that facial expression intensified emotion, and the suppression of facial expression lessened emotional response, researchers have been looking to either prove or disprove it. The New York Times reported in the late 80’s that “Two of the strongest pieces of evidence in support of the theory were published separately in scientific journals.” You decide: try on a smile for a while–feel a difference? Anecdotal evidence: people who smile tend to get more positive responses from the people they interact with. You decide: next time you want a better deal, ask for it with a big fat scowl.
3. Get good photos taken. Just like when we dream and scheme up a vision of what we want our future life to feel like and then pin images of it to a board for inspiration and guidance, images of ourselves featuring the way we want to feel can serve in the same way. Like photo genius Kim Christie says, Repeatedly seeing images of you as shiny, happy, confident, or sexy can affirm these sides, and slowly seep into our subconscious. Here’s what I love about Elle Camino Photography: from what I can tell, she does this gig in large part because she loves helping women love themselves. Get some shots taken from a photographer who resonates with you, then post them where you’ll see them regularly. Don’t have the money? Barter. You’ve got something a photographer would swap you for, I’m sure of it.
4. Stand up in front of a crowd. I’m scared of pretty much everything–including getting up in front of a group of people, traveling somewhere new, meeting new people, learning a new physical skill, and navigating a road-map. This one has merit, though; I once intended to drive home and ended up in a city an hour the opposite direction. Yup. But I do all of these things all the time now; they’re all big parts of this big dream life of mine–including teaching yoga, speaking at corporate lunch and learns, one on one life coaching, workshops, and retreats. Here’s my trick when it comes to standing up in front of a crowd: I only talk about something I know and love. ‘Fake it till you make it’ doesn’t apply for me here; the only way I can work the room is if I what I’m saying works for me. And the rush of endorphins that hits after I step down from facing that fear rockets me through facing smaller crowds and one on ones.
5. Voice their difference of opinion. This I learned from the uber successful Danielle LaPorte, Jonathan Fields, and Kim Christie. Plus a few more luminaries. Even if it means some people will be put off, even if it means some of them might be your friends, even it means you risk showing who you really truly are–voice your difference of opinion. Because for every one person who disagrees and thinks you shouldn’t, you’ll find heart-warming reassurance from an entire tribe that does. But they won’t stand up unless you do.