Episode 71: Amy Cuddy | How to Express Your Most Powerful Self
I'm so excited to share today's episode. There couldn't have been a better interview to kick off what is kind of like a new season of Beyond the Business Suit. In this episode I'm interviewing someone who is like a “mentor in my head” and someone whose research I have included in almost all of my presentations, seminars and coaching programs. That person is Amy Cuddy.
Amy Cuddy is a social psychologist and professor at Harvard Business School. She studies how our body language speaks not just to others, but also to ourselves. Specifically, her research focuses on how adopting powerful, expansive postures helps us to be more present in high-pressure situations, changing our thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and physiology. Her TED Talk on this topic is the second-most-viewed of all time, with over 33 million views! She recently wrote a book entitled Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges which is one of the best books I've read in the past five years, especially in terms of the work that I do. (Note: There was a bit of background noise in the recording, but it shouldn't take away from the conversation.)
In this episode you will learn:
- Amy's definition of “presence”
- What happens when we are more present
- How you can be more powerful in the workplace
- How you can use your body to feel more confident
- Something Amy read that made both of us get a little emotional
- How the business community has responded to the idea of Presence
- Research on “real” self affirmations: affirming the things that are absolutely true about who you are. Here are some of the steps you can follow to do this:
- Identify and rank your core values.
- Pick one and write about why it is a part of your core identity.
- Write about a time when you expressed that core value.
- By doing this, you're affirming that part of your identity to yourself. It's anchoring yourself in who you truly are. When you self-affirm before you face a challenge, you perform better at the challenge with less anxiety, even if is completely unrelated.
- “Presence is not permanent.”
- “[Presence] is kind of on a pedestal and it doesn't need to be on a pedestal. It's not a fancy thing.”
- “Stop carrying your body in a way that is self protective.”
- “You're there and you deserve to be there, so make the most of it.”
- “Carry yourself in a way that is powerful and proud and not ashamed and fearful.”
Amy Cuddy is a social psychologist and professor at Harvard Business School. She studies how our body language speaks not just to others, but also to ourselves. Specifically, her research focuses on how adopting powerful, expanse postures (imagine Wonder Woman) helps us to be more present in high-pressure situations, changing our thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and physiology, and impacting how well – or poorly — we perform in job interviews, difficult conversations, public speeches, etc. Her TED Talk on this topic is the second-most-viewed of all time, at over 33 million views. She was one of Time Magazine’s 2012 “Game Changers,” Business Insider’s 2013 “50 Women Who Are Changing The World,” and in 2014 was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. She teaches courses at Harvard on power, influence, and communication. Her book, PRESENCE was released by Little, Brown in December, 2015.
The Final 5
Amy's Secret weapons of success: She's pathologically optimistic. She expects people to have good intentions, and she gets sad and confused when they don't.
If I asked 10 people who know Amy to describe using 3 words or phrases, she thinks they would say: the color “yellow,” her love for music and her love of people.
Amy's morning or night time routine: She doesn't have many routines. But her husband makes a cup of coffee for her every day (right now they're drinking Guatemalan coffee beans from George Howell Coffee).
How Amy manages her life, family and career: 1) If she's not enjoying what she's doing, she knows she needs to change something. 2) Her family eats out a lot and they do a “family night” every week with their best friends. 3) She also thinks it's important to have reasonable expectations. She enjoys traveling for her job but she is trying to find the right amount of travel.
Amy’s favorite “power outfit”: She is not a “pants person,” so she always wears dresses. She speaks a lot and likes to wear MaxMara dresses when she speaks. She has a favorite cut and the dresses not only look nice on her, but they also travel well. She also gets her clothing tailored so they fit her well (great tip!). She also loves a pointy toe Prada pump (with a 2 1/4 heel).
Bonus: How you can connect with Amy online:
Amy's TED Talk: