“Your actions speak so loudly, I can not hear what you are saying.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
Our actions are the bedrock of demonstrating our philosophies, attitudes, and beliefs. Included in our actions are the body language we portray in stressful and pressure packed situations. When working with young athletes and discussing their body language the typical discussion centers on the way we handles ourselves in competition and the effect our body language has those outside of us, when the real focus of our body language and our actions should be on the messages we are sending to ourselves with our body language.
This is a small, yet monumental shift in the view of how the Heart of a Competitor looks at the way they “speak” to our spirit and soul. It is a change in looking at competing from the inside to the environment outside of them, rather than the outside to the inside. Amy Cuddy reinforces the importance of our actions influencing our mindset in her book, Presence: Bringing your Boldest Self in your Biggest Challenges. (I was challenged by Coach Bru to summarize this book in one tweet and it read like this: “Presence reinforces the effect we can have on ourselves, using Power Poses to change our thinking and engaging in being Present.”)
Amy Cuddy utilizes countless pieces of research and experiments that demonstrate how the use of Power Poses just before big presentations, pressure packed interviews, or anxiety producing environments we are prepared and unfazed by the environment, demonstrating confidence and performing at the top of our abilities. I encourage you to add this book to your library, however if you cannot, here are a couple ways Cuddy notes that expanding our body affects our mindset:
- Expanding your body language –through posture, movement, and speech – makes you feel more confident and powerful, less anxious and self-absorbed, and generally more positive.
- Expanding your body causes you to think about yourself in a positive light and to trust in that self-concept. It also clears your head, making space for creativity, cognitive persistence, and abstract thinking.
- Expanding your body frees you to approach, act, and persist.
Amy Cuddy is a Professor at the Harvard Business School and gave a TED Talk in 2012 that has over 33 Million views. You can find the TED Talk here:
Stay tuned to the Community of Competitors Newsletter over the next couple of weeks for an exciting announcement of an upcoming event open to youth athletes where they can learn how to develop their Heart of a Competitor, including the body language and Power Poses Amy Cuddy outlines in her work.