Let me see your power pose, girl

Here’s your recipe for success in the hetero, white man’s world.

Change your name to “John” (if you wanna be CEO) and CONFORM. Oh, and wear makeup. (Something I haven’t done in 10 years.) Because guys only take us girlies seriously if we look 39-42 years old. (I just turned 41, so I should be totally killin’ it sans makeup.)


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Conformity…makeup…Such are the things Sylvia Ann Hewlett counsels in her popular book, Executive Presence.

No, thanks!

Ok, ok, I did get one helpful tidbit from sloughing through her treatise. Standing up straight is some confidence-boosting shit. (Didn’t your mom tell you this your entire life? Momma’s always right.)

If you want to know why, let me introduce you to Amy Cuddy, my new hero. Her book, Presence: Bringing your boldest self to your biggest challenges, is definitely worth a read. Plus, she’s all about being authentically YOU – none of this conformity crap.

Cuddy says standing up straight is nice enough, but you gotta throw in a little panache to be queen of everything.

Enter: the power pose.


1. Spread your feet hip-distance apart.
2. Prop your hands on your hips.
3. Hang out there and breathe for the next two minutes.

You feel great, yes?

New party trick! And confidence is totally pouring out of your perfect 39-to-42-year-old pores. You’ve just tapped your inner zen. Not even your kid’s next tantrum can take you down.

Wonder Woman has arrived.

(Um, y’all, the movie!!)

You know that woman at work/school/church/playgroup you kinda hate because she makes life look easy? She’s got easy, breezy hair. Easy, fashionista flair. Always says the right thing. And has that total je ne sais quoi. (Ooh, la la.)

I like to think she’s a power pose convert. Otherwise, she’s beyond us mere mortals and I get why she gets under your skin.

How about ignoring her for a while and figuring out how to boost your own confidence? It’s possible. Because Cuddy also likes to say you can “fake it til you become it.” You just gotta practice, practice, practice.

So let’s.

Show me that power pose again, momma.

That’s it. Shoulders back, puff out that chest all proud. You got it, girl. (Bonus: it makes you look larger than life. Which is good if you’re only 5’3″ like me and refuse to wear heels. Because apparently, ahem, Sylvia Ann Hewlett will tell you that guys like their ladies tall, too.)

The power pose does your body good. Your lungs are excited your muffin top isn’t squishing them for once (maybe that’s just me). They’re free to expand inside your rib cage so more oxygen flows to your brain. Which makes your brain do the happy dance – because oxygen is brain food.

And while you’re at it, teach the kiddos how to power pose. To help them ward off the bullies.

Now stand strong and tall. Hands on hips, Wonder Woman. Lookin’ good!

And go give your own momma a kiss for resisting the urge to name you “John.” Because we ladies will eventually run the “Johns” out of the C-suite.

Share your power pose stories below or on Facebook at MothersRest.

Photo credit: Tom Simpson from Flickr.com, some rights reserved

I’m loving all the power pose stories readers are sharing

I have my students do this before every performance. It makes a difference!
— Marjorie, violin professor

I watched Amy Cuddy’s Ted talk last week with some students. The Wonder Woman pose is very helpful. I did a somewhat Wonder Woman pose in class twice on Monday. Some of the students might have been surprised but most know me well enough by now to have shared in my excitement when I figured out the answer to two different problems without a calculator.
— Julie, chemistry professor

Isaac’s 4th grade teacher used power poses before the EOG’s in his all-boy class. They loved it. They each came up with their own pose.
— Nancy, elementary school media specialist/librarian

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