We've all been told to "fake it till you make it," but how far have you gone actually to heed this advice?
It's easy to find yourself in a situation where you don't feel comfortable or worthy of your trajectory and despite considerable 'faking it', it doesn't seem to quiet your doubts. Once you take on "I'm not supposed to be here" mindset, the effects can reach far beyond your mental well being to materialize physically, through your body language.
In the TED Talk “Your Body Language May Shape Who You Are,” Amy Cuddy addresses the physiological and psychological consequences of body language on critical social situations. She explains that when you unintentionally (or intentionally) take on disempowering nonverbals prior to an important event, it manifests in our pyche, which in turn, can negatively impact our performance as well as other's perception of us. Nevertheless, the human body is an amazing feat of engineering and using Cuddy's findings you can trick your body into making your mind feel powerful with two spare minutes.
One consequential event we can all relate to is a job interview. So think back to your last interview; how did you spend the ten minutes prior to your interview? Were you pouring over notes? Calming your racing mind by spending a few pre-interview minutes looking at memes? In either option how are sitting, perhaps hunched over a notepad or phone? It's surprising, but it turns out this bowed posture may be affecting your chances of interview success. Based on Cuddy's research, when you spend two or more minutes before an interview in a high and low-power pose, it can influence your body's production of hormones, specifically testosterone (a dominance hormone) and cortisol (a stress hormone), and leave you feeling either prepared or discouraged.
Those participants who held a low-power pose, like the hunched interviewee described above or those depicted in the image below, reported feeling more risk-averse than their high-power alternative. Moreover, the low-power poser also saw a 10% decrease testosterone levels and 15% increase in cortisol - meaning that they felt less powerful and more stress than before those two minutes.
In contrast, high-power poses, like those directly below, increase production of testosterone, which makes its recipient feel powerful and confident. In the Cuddy study, of those participants who held the high-power poses observed a 20% increase in their testosterone levels as well as a higher risk tolerance. On top of this, the high-power posers also experienced a 25% drop in their cortisol levels, concluding that those holding high-power positions were more assured of their abilities and performance in addition to feeling less stressed than their counterparts.
So how can you apply this to your next contractor interview? Use those last pre-interview minutes to strike a high-power pose. As Cuddy prescribes, use an empty bathroom stall to channel your inner Super Woman or CEO and ensure your nonverbals come across as powerful and competent as you are. For more, watch Cuddy's TED Talk and see how you can overhaul your assumptions about the body's influence over the mind. No matter the company or profession, you can certainly benefit from taking a few minutes to empower yourself. This single investment in your mental well being could be the difference between a contracting interview and an offer.