Even exemplary leaders doubt themselves occasionally. They’re not always the impregnable “knight in shining armour” that they appear to be when they’re in the public eye.
No one is 100% confident 100% of the time.
Here’s how indispensable, world-class leaders always impact as being entirely positive, assured, fearless, and confident…
They use their physiology to predict their state — meaning that they hold their body as a positive, assured, fearless, and confident person holds their body.
Just bear with me for a moment here. I want you to test it out, just for a moment.
Imagine you’ve just heard that something has seriously
gone off the rails. You feel like you’ve been “kicked in the
You’re now beating yourself up and your confidence
has hit rock bottom….
As you experience those feelings, notice how you’re holding your body.
Typically, those feelings would produce slumped shoulders, a dropped head, a sunken chest, shallow breathing, a serious facial expression.
Now, immediately, pretend you’re feeling unstoppable,
powerful, confident, almost super-human.
You’re confident, certain, and fearless.
Notice how your body has shifted.
Your shoulders are now down and back, you have an upright stance, your head is held high, your chest is strong, you have deep and slow breathing and a relaxed facial expression.
There is science around this.
One of the topics that neuroscientist Peter L. Strick (Distinguished Professor & Chair of the Department of Neurobiology at the University of Pittsburgh Brain Institute) focused on is the neural basis for the mind-body connection.
In a 2016 interview he said:
“How we move, think and feel have an impact
on the stress response through real neural connections.” 1
Social psychologist Amy Cuddy researched how body language reveals that we can change other people’s perceptions — and our own body chemistry — simply by changing body positions.
In her 2012 Your Body Language May Shape Who You Are TED Talk, she said:
“We know that our non-verbals govern how other people
think and feel about us. There’s a lot of evidence.
But our question really was, do our non-verbals
govern how we think and feel about ourselves?
Our bodies change our minds and our minds can change our behaviour, and our behaviour can change our outcomes.”2
She confirmed that, when people feel strong and confident, they take up space, they stand tall, their feet are at shoulder-width apart and their arms are spread.
The jury is no longer out on this: Your posture influences how you feel, including how confident you feel.
Amy Cuddy took this one step further in her TED Talk:
“Don’t fake it till you make it. Fake it till you become it.
Do it enough until you actually become it and internalize.”
That’s good food for thought, isn’t it?
You’re now a strong, capable,
indispensable, world-class leader.
See what you might be seeing.
Feel how you might be feeling.
How would you be sitting or standing?
When you’re feeling that strong,
how would you be holding your body?
Notice how much stronger
and more capable you feel.
If You Suspect That Others Are Doubting You
In your mind, is your confidence as a leader stemming from your belief that you need to shift others’ perspectives of how they see you as a leader?
I have two thoughts about this…
- Make sure your leadership qualities, practices, and behaviours don’t let you down.
It’s critical that you ensure your qualities, practices, and behaviours are those of a strong and capable leader.
No putting up with what might be second-best when you intend to be a world-class leader.
Take action — get coaching support, do whatever you need to do so you have certainty that you’re operating at your best.
- Don’t worry about what others think of you.
Let’s face it; you can control your own thoughts and feelings but not others’ thoughts and feelings.
Simply do whatever you think you need to do to be an executive that you’re 100% proud of — and drop it.
Forget others’ perspectives!
It’s crucial that you manage your fears.
If you don’t buy you, others won’t buy you.
Continued in Carolyn Stevens’ book, “Stepping Into Your Power“.