May 11, 2017
About a year and a half ago, my mom had read this new, fascinating book about self confidence and the power of presence, and she insisted that my sister and I read it, too. We both had recently encountered adverse circumstances in our personal and professional lives (you can actually read about mine in my very first blog post here), and my mom encouraged us to read the book, “Presence,” as soon as possible.
The author, Amy Cuddy, is a Harvard Business School professor and social psychologist who studies how nonverbal behavior and snap judgments influence people. She is also known around the world for her 2012 TED Talk – the second-most viewed in TED’s history.
In both her book and her TED talk, Cuddy discusses the power of body language and focuses on one particular, key pose: the power pose. It’s nicknamed The Wonder Woman Pose since it is her most iconic stance: her feet are spread apart, shoulders are back, chin is raised, and her hands are on her hips.
Cuddy argues that The Wonder Woman Pose can be more effective than traditional confidence-boosting exercises – that this pose holds a great power over how we see ourselves, can boost feelings of confidence and might have an impact on our chances for success.
After reading Cuddy’s book and watching her TED talk, I started to power pose. I did it when I woke up in the morning or before leaving for an interview – basically, whenever I needed to feel courageous and powerful, I stood like Wonder Woman. It even helped me fight off an oncoming anxiety attack once. The power of this stance, how it helped me get through a difficult situation and how it continues to help me whenever I need a boost has made the princess of the Amazons a personal hero and power icon in my life.
Wonder Woman and her pose became a special thing for my sister as well. Last year on Mother’s Day, as a thank you for being our real-life Wonder Woman, my sister and I decided to get a special gift for our mom. We each got our own identical Wonder Woman rings. We wear them whenever we need to feel powerful and confident, or when we need to be strong in the face of challenges or adversity. We even tell the others to wear theirs on the same day, if we need an extra boost.
Since her debut in comics in 1941, Wonder Woman has had an archetypal presence ranging from scandalous and controversial to that of ferocity and feminism. I’m sure she’s been many things to many different women over the years, but I’m especially grateful for the existence of this heroine and her story, and for her iconic representation of feminine badassery.