Category Archives: good to know

Strike a Pose

Strike a pose – position yourself in a certain physical posture and change the way you are feeling – from the outside-in. How useful is that? Feeling nervous maybe, say, before an interview? Take two minutes in a private space, adopt a confident posture and emerge feeling, and looking, confident. Handy?

We all know that body posture reflects the way we are feeling. Take a look at these two characters.

Images courtesy of Master isolated images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Images courtesy of Master isolated images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

At a glance, you can read how they are feeling, can’t you? How do you do that? You notice their body posture and, from that, interpret how they are feeling. Given that our feelings show up in our body posture, can our body posture influence how we are feeling?

Act as if

To get a real sense of how very effective and simple this is, why not give it a go? Adopt a posture, strike a pose and notice the way that your feelings mirror your pose. To illustrate, pick a way you would like to feel. Let’s use “feeling confident” as an example.

Observe

Relax. Consider, what does a “feeling confident” body posture mean to you?

Recall that feeling. Think of something, call up a memory of when you had that feeling of confidence.

Your own experience, a memory, is best. If, however, you are finding it difficult to call up a memory and that’s what stopping you from giving this a try, you can always use someone else’s confident posture as a reference model. Notice what you observe in their body posture that makes you think that they are feeling confident.

Notice your “feeling confident” physical posture – head, chin, eyes, arms, shoulders, upper body, legs, feet, lower body, facial expression etc. Notice such things as how you are holding your head – is your head lifted or bowed? Are your shoulders slumped or straight? What angle are your head, shoulders and upper body at? What shape is your mouth – smiling, straight? What expression is in and around your eyes? How are your feet placed? What is your breathing like – deep or shallow? Fast or slow? …

Notice as much of your “feeling confident” body posture as you can.

Relax. Shake it off.

Do

Strike a pose.

What did you notice about your confident pose? Change your body posture to reflect what you noticed. Start anywhere you like. Changes may include such things as, say, set your feet slightly apart, straighten your shoulders, lift your head a little, smile a bit … a bit more, breathe more deeply, eyes looking forward …

Any aspect of your body posture may trigger the whole feeling. Often, but not always, the way you are breathing, holding your head and your facial expression may act as a trigger for the rest of the posture. Sometimes it can be something to do with how you place your feet.

Done

I believe that you will know when your “feeling confident” pose is a good copy of the original. How? You will be, well, feeling confident (on the inside), matching your physical posture. It’s great to experience, isn’t it?

Supporting Research

This “fake it till you make it” or “acting as if” is an example of a positive feedback loop. The more you do it, the less faked it feels. Amy Cuddy’s research on body language reveals that we can change other people’s perceptions — and even our own body chemistry — simply by changing body posture.

“ … don’t fake it till you make it. Fake it till you become it. Do it enough until you actually become it and internalise.”

Amy Cuddy TED Talk: “Your body language shapes who you are” (June 2012)

In the world of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) you may encounter “Anchoring” and recognise how this uses this body posture: inner feelings connection to good effect.

Like many of you, I have been doing something like this, unknowingly, instinctively, for a long time. I now think that this is what I was doing when putting on a brave face at my first day at school (I was determined to NOT cry – I was a big girl now!). This is what I was doing when gathering myself before giving a presentation to a roomful of people (without it I would have been in a million pieces, desolated and inarticulate). The scenarios and feelings where I call upon this ‘strike a pose’ are endless.

I have little doubt that we all, knowingly or unknowingly, strike a pose, put on a front at some time for a whole host of reasons. This means that we already have all the skills and resource we need to do this. We know that we read body posture so, having noticed what aspects matter, we can write it in our own posture. Just two minutes of your time to observe, do and know that it is possible. Just two minutes for you to make it so, at will.

This is a capability that we all have and one that I feel so lucky to knowingly possess.

In the future, whenever you want to feel a particular way, strike a pose (adopt the physical posture) and … like magic … the matching feeling (on the inside) will blossom. Enjoy!

Change Roller Coaster

 

We all live in an ever changing world and we handle change every day. Some changes are imposed upon us by changing circumstances, others we want to make to enrich our lives, some we hunger for, others we battle against – and many we hardly notice as we integrate them into our lives. Recognise natural human reactions to change and make changes work for you.

As we all know from personal experience, the prospect of any change (imposed or self-driven) challenges our feelings of confidence, comfort, competence and control. The catalysts for change are many and varied. Change is both a threat – and a promise. Whatever our present circumstances, at least they are habitual and familiar. Initial resistance, reluctance, to change is natural.

Many changes we take in our stride while some are (initially) awesome to behold. No matter what the scale of change is in prospect – whether it be the small changes we scarcely notice or the awesome changes that strike fear into our hearts – our emotional reactions have the same elements. The Change Roller Coaster Ride is a natural reaction to the prospect of change – we are human, after all. Our Change Roller Coaster rides can be so brief – over in a flash.  Sometimes we can spend hours, days, weeks, months and even years wallowing in any one – or  more – of the different phases. Such long term wallowing is not my idea of fun and not the most useful of experiences!

Change Roller Coaster Ride – Phases.

transition curve

Change Roller Coaster Ride Phases (based on John Fisher’s model of personal change)

When change is in the air, we may experience some anxiety – and then, when the change becomes more solid, we may be happy that – at last – the waiting is over. The change event arrives and our reactions may include Fear, Denial, feeling Threatened – “Oh No! No! No!…” – and the emotions go into turmoil – feelings of Guilt, Threat, Fear, Depression swirl around … “Oh dear, oh crumbs, boo-hoo, eek, ooer…” – Resistance may kick in “NO WAY! Not me!…” – the lowest point when the dark fears wallow – “Oh woe is me!”

Acceptance begins to bubble up – “hmm, just maybe, perhaps …” – and continues to grow – “Yeah, I can work with this” – and you spot those opportunities, you find your way forward and commitment grows “Yep, ok, now then …” … and the change is in your life.

How we actually deal with the transition around any change is as individual as we are. The phases we go through are, however, the same – it’s natural. By being aware of the phases in the process of transition from start to end of any, and all, changes, we may get through the process more effectively. The fearsome changes can be cut down to size – look them in the eye and, amazingly, they can dissolve into pieces which we can handle and work with. The length of time we spend in each phase varies widely. Sometimes, we can run through all phases in the blink of an eye and others, well – it can take a long, hard time.

“Change alone is unchanging” – Heraklietos of Ephesos

separatorHave you ever been caught in the whirlpool of a chosen – or imposed – change? I have. Remember the distressing feelings as the anxieties stirred up and took on monster proportions? I do. Recall disappearing down the drain of distraction – sliding down the transition curve ski-slope, wallowing in the depths of darkness, and then the gritty, clamber up the precipice to get to the other side of the change chasm? I do recall.

The magic, for me, is simply knowing and understanding that my emotional reactions to change are, well, entirely normal, human, natural. Before I realised that, I wasted energy on fighting those reactions. Knowing that the emotional roller coaster is natural (I am human, after all) I feel better about me and the way I’m handling the change. I can redirect my energies to enjoying the ride and getting the best out of the change.

I first saw ‘The Process of Transition’ when I was on a leadership training course. I should have guessed what was coming when I got back to the office, huh?

Know that you will ride the Change Roller Coaster and Take Control. Choose to ride that roller coaster, enjoy the excitement and anticipation – ride it so confidently that you feel like you’ve just hopped over the gap to a different future full of promise, new experiences and potential.

Consider the change as an opportunity for a better future and Make Changes Work for You. Assume that the looming change brings with it opportunities. Maybe see the looming change rather as a doorway to exciting opportunities. Maybe it’s an opportunity to have a go at something fresh and interesting – or just different. Maybe it’s an opportunity to add a new string to your bow – or add more skills to your ever growing portfolio of personal and professional skills. Maybe it’s a launch pad for a new future for you. Maybe you can make even imposed changes be of real value to you!

Look to Your Future – think of your tomorrows, create your desired outcome and drive yourself towards it – get the best result for you.

Be sure to recognise all the good stuff you’ve got, your experiences and skills and resources.

Acknowledge your current reality – truly recognising where you are, knowing where you want to be, you can take control of making steps towards your changing reality.

Choose responsibility for action – where there is a will, there is a way.

How much better it is to experience the excitement of an opportunity, positively anticipating change, recognising the differences between the now and “gonna be”, focusing forward and dealing accordingly. Would you agree?