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Building Self-Confidence linked to power and dominance - and lower levels of cortisol, one of the stress hormones.  In addition to causing hormonal shifts in both males and females, the researchers found that these powerful postures lead to increased feelings of power and a higher tolerance for risk. They also found that people are more often influenced by how they feel about you than by what you’re saying.  So before you go into a situation in which you want to project your most confident self, start by standing up straight, pulling your shoulders back, widening your stance and holding your head high. Then put your hands on your hips (think “Wonder Woman” or “Superman” pose). Just by holding your body in this posture you will begin to feel surer of yourself and to project self-assuredness.  3. Choose to be an optimist  In Chinese, the ideogram for crisis combines two characters: One is the symbol for danger, the other for opportunity. So -- is the glass half-empty or half-full? It’s both. The only difference is where you focus your attention.  Long before Dale Carnegie, the human potential movement, or self-help videos, a positive outlook was acknowledged to be a crucial part of high-level achievement and confidence. In today’s fast-moving, competitive business environment, a positive, upbeat, “can-do” attitude is vital for success.  Choosing not to dwell on negativity, doesn’t mean you should be oblivious to potential danger. Rather, you can analyze situations for both positive and negative aspects, develop strategies to minimize negatives and optimize positives, and then focus on the upside of the situation. Spending too much time worrying about troublesome aspects or negative outcomes is a waste of mental energy that saps enthusiasm and confidence and makes it more difficult to realize the potential opportunities that are also inherent in the situation.  4. Loosen up  At another program, for a utility company on the East Coast, I was asked to speak twice: once in the morning and again in the afternoon. At the first session I had just finished talking about the growing uncertainty that all organizations face when an audience member asked, “If everything is uncertain, what happens to strategic planning? How can you make any plans for an unknown future?”  It was a good question, and I answered it by using the two sessions as an example:  “I was hired to put on two identical programs today, but you and I both know that it is impossible for them to be identical even though I will use the same set of Power Point slides for both presentations. The differences will be determined by the makeup of the two audiences -- how many attend, what their energy level is, what questions they ask, maybe even what they had for lunch. And, of course, I too will be slightly different depending on my energy level and what I had for lunch, etc. I don’t know how the afternoon session will be different, but I’m certain that the unexpected will happen.  As you prepare for the future, you need to set goals and make plans while taking into account a multitude of contingencies in a volatile environment. And then you have to understand that, despite your best efforts, the future may not play out the way you planned, and you will most probably be required to reorient as conditions change -- frequently in ways you never anticipated.”  Some people are naturally more flexible and better at coping with and adapting to a complex, always changing reality than others. (I call these individuals “change adept.”) They’ve learned that, in chaotic times, the trick is not to brace for change, but to loosen up and learn how to roll with it.  You can build resilience and confidence by honing your ability to commit to a course of action while, at the same time, staying flexible enough to alter behaviors and attitudes quickly to support a new direction.  5. Embrace failure  In a television interview, Whoopie Goldberg described how she got her first one-woman show in New York: Whoopie was performing her nightclub act and (the director) Mike Nichols was in the audience. He came backstage and offered to create a show for her in a Broadway theater. Whoopie said she didn’t know if that was such a good idea. What if she were lousy? Mike asked if she’d ever been lousy before and Whoopie said “Sure!” His response was, “Then it’s no big deal. You’ll just be lousy on Broadway.”  To me, that reply was brilliant.  I urge my audiences to appreciate that growth comes as much from failure as it does from success. One project manager I interviewed summed it up when he said, “If this venture fails, it will still be worth all the time and effort I’ve put into it for the past 18 months. Just look at everything I’ve learned.”  To facilitate this kind of productive thinking, the United States Army developed the After Action Reviews. AARs are now used by organizations around the world to help teams learn from their mistakes, prevent future errors, and find new solutions to problems.  Basically, the AAR process assembles people who were involved in a planned project and asks them to answer a series of questions. But you can conduct your own private AAR around any important event that didn’t turn out the way you hoped it would.  1. What was the desired outcome?  2. What was the actual outcome?  3. Why were there differences between what I wanted and what I achieved?  4. What did I learn?  5. What would I do differently next time?  Fear of failure is a huge obstacle to developing and projecting selfconfidence. But when you know that your failures can’t stop you (if they are learning experiences and “no big deal”), then you increase your confidence that nothing can stop you! PE Carol Kinsey Goman is an international keynote speaker and author of “The Silent Language of Leaders: How Body Language Can Help or Hurt How You Lead.” She is also a keynote speaker, leadership communication consultant, and body language coach. Call 510-526-1727 Visit www.CKG.com Email CGoman@CKG.com 11 Personal Excellence essentials presented by HR.com | 06.2014


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