Sunday, September 28, 2014

My Power Pose


I've had the new job now for two weeks, and I have been meaning to blog about it. But as it turns out, two weeks of getting to know your office job are not all that exciting or blog-worthy.

One part of a new job is being introduced to everyone around the office. What this means is during the past two weeks, I would frequently find myself standing somewhere and being introduced to someone. Following the initial handshake, there is always some requisite chit-chat. Where were you before? What brought you to Austin? Etc. During this semi-awkward small talk, I would find myself hyper-aware of what I was doing with my body. Don't cross your arms in front of your chest, Sara. You want to seem approachable. Don't cross your legs at the knee like that, you've seen what that does for your hips in pictures.

Inevitably, my go-to stance is what I have since learned is often referred to as the "Wonder Woman." Hands on hips, legs apart. However, I even found myself self conscious about this pose, as I felt (particularly when I was in a skirt) that it was not very lady-like.

I recently came across an article in the New York Times that spoke to me. Research by Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist and associate professor at Harvard Business School, shows an interesting effect the body can have on the mind. We already knew that people smile when they are happy and that forcing the face into a smile can also increase feelings of happiness. What Cuddy has found is that assuming "power poses" can increase testosterone and decrease cortisol, basically making people feel more confident and powerful.

The Wonder Woman, as you have probably guessed, is a power pose.

These power poses weren't just plucked from thin air; they come from nature and are the sorts of poses that powerful people naturally make. Or the poses people consciously choose to make when wanting to exude power.

Either way, I apparently subconsciously feel pretty powerful if my go to stance is a power pose. However, I find it interesting that I am also self conscious about this power pose because I feel that it isn't lady like. I am sure there is an entire Master's thesis on the implications of power feeling inherently un-womanly or inappropriate for a lady-like woman. But that's a tangent for another day.

I highly recommend you check out Cuddy's TED talk. It's pretty interesting.


Barb Carusillo said...

Absolutely wow!

Karl said...

More power to ya....