I have spent so much of my life trying to make myself appear smaller. I didn’t want to stand out in the crowd – at school, at work, in social situations. I often had the right answer or had relevant information I could share in meetings, but kept it to myself for fear of saying the wrong thing and appearing as though I shouldn’t be there. I often felt like I just shouldn’t be there. But I was there and should have answered the question. My opinions mattered! I just lacked the self-confidence to speak up, to raise my hand up.
It was never the people around me who made me feel that way. I work with a supportive group who appreciate the opinions of their coworkers – including mine. I have an amazing family who believe in me and all that I can do. I just need to find a way to convince myself I can do things; that it is OK to speak up. I have slowly improved at speaking up in our weekly meetings, and with friends and family, but I am holding myself back from growing and advancing my career due to the confidence I lack.
This isn’t the “me” I want to be and isn’t the “me” I deserve to be. Here I am trying to raise my daughter to be strong and confident, and I am standing here with my arms wrapped tightly around myself feeling like closing up and hiding away. I do not want to be a fraud; I want to live life as a strong, confident and happy woman.
I had a great “Aha!” moment while watching Amy Cuddy’s Ted Talk on how “Your body language shapes who you are.” It isn’t the people around me who are holding me back, viewing me as incapable or weak. In fact, quite the opposite, they see me as a valuable piece of the puzzle. It is only me who isn’t convinced I am worthy. Amy’s theory is that if I could stand in a power pose for just two minutes before I have to speak, my body could convince my mind that I am assertive, self-assured and smart by using “non-verbal expressions of power and dominance.” This was a theory I wanted to embrace and one I was willing to get behind and test.
What struck me the most was when she said “our bodies change our minds and our minds can change our behavior, and our behavior can change our outcomes.” I believe this and try to live this in everything else I do. I already believe I can have a good day just by setting my intention to do so from the moment my feet hit the floor. So starting today I am going to let my mind convince my body I am strong and let my body convince my mind just the same. I am going to use her power pose every day.
If I can start my day believing I am strong, maybe I can carry that through the rest of my day as well. I am going to take a moment to use her power pose in private before I have to give a presentation in class and before the next meeting at work. I won’t just fake it until I make it, I will fake it until I become it. I am supposed to be here.