No, this isn’t the start of some virtual yoga class! The reason I challenge you to do this is because this powerful non-verbal body positioning can literally change the way your mind works, increase your confidence and decrease your stress levels before diving into life’s most intense challenges.

Let me explain further. Think back to that time right before your big interview, presentation or competition – some situation where everything was at stake and you had to give your all. You felt a lot of pressure to perform, impress and succeed. What did you do to prepare and feel more confident? Maybe you set yourself up by meditating or you used a visualization technique. You might’ve rehearsed your talking points in the mirror or unleashed the team chant at the top of your lungs before stepping into the arena.

Everyone has a different way to prepare for intense situations or to influence outcomes. A lot of them are tactics where we ignite our mind in order to affect our body.

The Ultimate Rush: Jessica Ennis-Hill hammering her competitors into the dust at the London 2012 Olympics in the 800 meter run ©Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images

But what about the other way around? Our minds can change our bodies, but do our bodies also change our minds? That’s the question social scientist and Harvard Business School Professor Amy Cuddy asked as she embarked on a research project which revealed that in addition to body language affecting how others see us, it also changes how we see ourselves.

Amy has shared her subsequent findings with the world and they have practical uses for all of us looking to bring our best to work, sport and life.

Enter the Power Pose

Power Poses are important evolutionary expressions among primates and humans. Animals make these poses when showing their dominance and power in the wild kingdom. Athletes make these poses when they feel full of power, in the intense moment of winning and the unbelievable rush of victory comes over them.

Even just watching this body language is contagious. Immediately the raw emotion is transferred as we share in the glory of the win.

And I bet you’ve even power posed yourself. What’s really interesting is the victory pose above is innate within us. In fact, we’re hard-wired to act it out – congenitally blind people do it when they’re victorious in events, even when they’ve never seen it or been taught to do it!

So what if we use these poses proactively to summon strength and power when we need it most?

You guessed it – Amy Cuddy’s research dove right into that question too and she initiated various experiments.

The findings were very consistent and quite shocking. When we enact power poses for even just a couple of minutes, there is a considerable increase in the hormone testosterone which leads us to feel more confident and powerful. Plus, there is a decrease of cortisol which translates to feeling less stressed and anxious.

She then took it a step further and had subjects assume both high-power and low-power poses before a very intense interview. The results?

Ok, so I’m not suggesting you strut through the door into an interview with your hands raised emphatically à La Ennis-Hill crossing the finish line. That might not be received too well! But consider for example how people often sit in low-power poses while waiting for an interview: hunched over, arms possibly crossed, looking down, chin in hand. What if instead you take a couple minutes in the privacy of your own space to strike a high-power pose instead?

Waiting for a job interview can be nerve-stretching - but instead of sitting in low-power poses try to strike a high-power pose the next time to summon strength.

Our bodies change our minds. Our minds change our behavior. And our behavior changes outcomes.

You can apply power poses to so many important situations in your life – an interview, a speech, a presentation, a big exam, the championship match or race – allowing you tap into your truest potential and Boss Yourself!

There can be positive long-term effects from these simple moves. Amy’s final takeaway drives this home.

So try it! You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to win. Victory is yours for the taking.

Show us how you boss yourself. Share your Power Pose experience with us here.

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by Jolene Shamone Jackson 16.08.2016
Ooooh yes, this does work!! It helped me so much for my job interviews, and general work stress. Any time you can be alone in a room, bathroom, empty parkinglot...go for it! Strike your power pose!!
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by Margaret Raabe 17.08.2016
Love this article! This quote is my favorite: "Our Bodies change our minds. Our minds change our behavior. And our behavior changes outcomes." Just having confidence in yourself can make huge changes in a person's actions and success.
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Nina Weihrauch
Nina Weihrauch | Editor Margaret Raabe 23.08.2016
Hi Margaret,

thanks for your comment and for highlighting this key message.
There's so much we can learn from athletes and their behavior. Self-confidence is crucial to succeed in sports and business. In our interview series "What's your game plan?" you find a lot of great examples from athletes who underline the importance of self-confidence (e.g. Angelique Kerber and Tori Bowie).

Tackling work life with an athlete's heart makes it definitely better, more inspiring and fun. That's what GamePlan A stands for :)

Let's put our hands up for victory.

Best,

Nina
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by Yael Gerardo 30.08.2016
This is so true! I play volleyball and the thing that I like the most when there's a match is to strike a lot of power poses either when I make som points or my teammates. It's really incredible how this actually works and can help us to fight stressful moments. Thanks for sharing!
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by Shaba Yael Gerardo 31.08.2016
Hi Yael,
thanks for your comment! Glad you know the secret of the Power Pose. Amazing what positive body language can do - how it can summon that extra confidence. Wishing you plenty of victorious moments, both on and off the court.

Shaba
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