A few years ago I decided that I was going to change just slightly what I realized was my default facial expression. The change was from a slight frown to a slight smile. At first smiling felt awkward and fake.
And then at some point it became my natural everyday expression. I would be surprised when someone on the street, in the gym or the grocery store would smile at me. I realized that they were actually smiling back at me. They had picked up my smile and reflected it back. Their smile made me feel good. In some small way I was affecting their behavior and their smile was impacting me.
In Amy Cuddy's TED.com talk entitled, "Your body language shapes who you are," she explains how
"our bodies change our minds
...and our minds change our behavior
...and our behavior changes our outcomes."
Please watch this video, and to the end, as I believe it is life changing!
As I discovered, tiny tweaks lead to big changes. By smiling more, I began to see and experience the world more positively.
I remember so clearly the Saturday morning when I was weeding in my backyard in Oakland, CA. I was sitting on the narrow ledge next to the lemon tree. All of a sudden I realized I was happy.
Was it due to the fact that I had been smiling more? I am sure it was this and most likely other factors as well.
Cuddy has found through her research that when people shape their body for just two minutes into a power pose, like with their arms raised in a "V" above their head, they then exhibit a more assertive and confident presence.
Practicing a power pose can be extremely effective prior to going into a job interview or before giving a talk, for example.
Do you know what your default facial expression is? What about the way you hold your body? By noticing our default presence, we have the capacity to make small tweaks that can lead to big changes.
As Cuddy vividly demonstrates, "Fake it, until you make it. Fake it until you become it."
Please share your reflections with me personally or on the Oak Communications Coaching and Consulting Facebook page.