This is me (the one on the right in case you weren’t sure) attempting to pose like Wonder Woman. The original Wonder Woman.
I know I’m not standing exactly the way Wonder Woman stands. I was trying to, but my husband’s overly anxious, highly energetic, neurotic, spoiled, 13-year-old Cockapoo was wildly pulling on his leash, hence making it quite difficult to take a selfie.
I took this photo after I had just hiked to the top of a mountain. On the way up, I was listening to the audio book The Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person, by Shonda Rhimes, creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, and executive producer of How to Get Away with Murder. Shonda was telling her listeners that if you pose like Wonder Woman, your self-esteem will rise. Her exact words:
“Power Posing like Wonder Woman is when you stand up like a badass, legs in a wide stance, chin up, hands on your hips, like you own the place. Like you have on magical silver bracelets and know how to use them. Like your super hero cape is flapping in the wind behind you.
…It’s a real thing. [There are] actual studies that say Power Posing like Wonder Woman for five minutes not only improves self-esteem, but even hours later, improves how others perceive you. Let me say that again, standing around like Wonder Woman in the morning, can make people think you are more amazing at lunch time."
Check out Amy Cuddy's Ted Talk on how body language empowers us and learn how to practice high power poses yourself. You'll even see Oprah doing it!
Shonda explained that she was trying to gear herself up for a commencement speech that she was giving at her alma mater, Dartmouth College. Shonda is an introvert and is terrified of giving public speeches.
So why had she had agreed to give this commencement speech in the first place when she hated public speaking so much? Because six months earlier, Shonda made a promise to herself to say “YES” to everything that scared her for an entire year.
Can you imagine saying YES to everything that you are afraid of for a whole year?
So there Shonda was, looking over her speech, when it dawned on her that her speech did not reveal anything about who she really was. After all, revealing who she really was could be…well, terrifying.
People might judge her.
People might criticize her.
People might not like her.
And then she remembered the pledge she made to herself.
If I’m going to say YES to everything that I am afraid of she thought, I might as well start by saying YES to being ME during this speech. To be genuinely, authentically, imperfectly me.
She filed her speech in a folder she labeled Crap, and then started from scratch.
This time she wrote a less formal, less stuffy, less stylized speech. The new speech was a little more raw, and a little less appropriate. But it was way more honest.
The morning of the graduation, she prepared by power posing like Wonder Woman. Then she made her way up to the podium and waited for the familiar tsunami of freezing panic to overcome her.
But it didn’t come.
Normal fear, yes.
Hyperventilating, panic attack? No.
Shonda had decided to face her fear, and be her real self no matter what anybody else thought. The stunning result? She no longer felt afraid. In fact, she felt joy!
Her speech was amazing by the way! Here is the Link if you want to hear it.
When I got to the top of that mountain, I decided to pose like Wonder Woman to see if I too could feel more self-confident.
After my initial scan of the area to make sure no one was watching, I climbed on top of a bench and posed like Wonder Woman.
I kid you not, the next thing I knew, a flood of tears started streaming down my face. Not sad tears, but moved by inspiration tears.
It felt good to stand like that. It felt like I could indeed accomplish all of my goals. I actually did feel more confident!
It was kinda cool!
So next time you are feeling a little scared, or feel like you could use a boost of self-esteem, try posing like Wonder Woman.
See what happens!