I’ve had an amazing day. Great fall weather that allowed us to get in some yard work. A bit of writing this morning. The Writers’ Community of York Region meeting featured Paul McLaughlin, an accomplished freelance writer. Paul talked to us with wry humour and frank truths about how someone desirous of becoming a professional freelancer should approach their writing work – with planning, commitment, market research, networking and serious reality checking. My brain is full and I’m not feeling the creative bug right now.
As a fall-back, I went web-surfing and found this presentation from Amy Cuddy, who talks about how presenting yourself as confident affects others’ perceptions but just as importantly, our perceptions of ourselves. How many times have you been shaking in your boots but you’ve put on the brave face, said to yourself, ‘it’s showtime’ and done what you had to do? Especially for a writer, when your work comes from the heart and you’ve sweated and burned to get it ‘just right’ and you’ve put yourself out there and some troll who hasn’t produced anything worth reading is negative? We’ve all been there, whether we work as consultants, or employees or poets or novelists. It’s scary exposing your creations to the world, but if you want to be published and recognized (outside your family/friend circle) as a writer, that’s what you have to do.
But as Ms. Cuddy says, we have some control over how we present ourselves. I remember back when I was worked 9 to 5, and I’d compete for and win promotion to a higher position, I’d always try to reinvent myself when I started the new job. Moving to somewhere strange and somewhat scary gives you the opportunity to try something new among a group of people who don’t have the old context against which to judge you. It was liberating.
Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how “power posing” — standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident — can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success.