Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges – Amy Cuddy

Written by Jessica Goodman

Have you ever felt like you don’t belong somewhere? That you aren’t as capable as your peers? And if they find out, they will think you’re a fraud? This is known as the imposter syndrome.

In Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges, Amy Cuddy delves into imposter syndrome; what it is and how we can build our confidence to overcome it.

“A confident person — knowing and believing in her identity — carries tools, not weapons” (Cuddy, 2015).

One of the greatest tools Cuddy walks readers through is the idea of presence. She offers many examples what presence is, all of which revolve around the state of being attuned and able to express our true thoughts, feelings, and values.

Have you ever paid attention to the body language of the people around you? How about your own body language? Cuddy says that the body shapes the mind, and the way you present yourself is power. Standing tall with an open posture and making eye contact helps us feel effective and assured. Focusing on your body language also allows you to slow down.

To practice this, Cuddy teaches the readers about ‘power posing’, or poses done while standing or sitting that opens your body and mind. Some power poses discussed in this book include standing with your arms on your hips with your shoulders back, or up in a V shape above your head. Expanding your body in these ways have been shown to make you feel more confident and powerful. Since your body shapes your mind, and your mind shapes your behavior, Cuddy suggests power posing before tough or uncomfortable situations, so you go in feeling confident.

Cuddy also talks about the importance of slowing down. Slowing down is a power move because it allows you to come from a place of reason. Cuddy discusses how pausing during conversations can give us our power back. Even a few slow breaths can change your body and mind at anytime, anywhere.

Power posing and purposely slowing down are just two ways Cuddy helps her readers be more present during challenging moments. Read Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges by Amy Cuddy for more techniques to overcome imposter syndrome!