Changing From The Outside In. It works!

Today I was at the annual meeting for the University of Utah David Eccles School of Business Advisory Board I serve on. They invited renowned speaker, Jack Zenger to speak to us over dinner. Jack Zenger is the founder of Zenger Folkman, a professional services firm that provides leadership development programs and Jack is considered a world expert in the field of leadership development.

Jack talked about Authentic Leadership, a topic I am passionate about as you can probably tell from all the articles I have written for Forbes as well as my daily blogs. He also spoke about helping people to change and I thought I would share some of his points along with why I know for myself these things work (his comments are in purple and my responses are below them in black):

The Truth About Change:

  1. Yes, our minds change our bodies, but our bodies also change our minds.
  2. Changing how we act influences not only how other people perceive us, but also makes physiological changes within ourselves.
  3. Holding a pencil in our mouth like this makes us smile and in turn we feel happier than when we put one end in our mouth.


I have always believed this principle. In my company we actually purchased little mirrors to put on employees cubicles in certain departments so they could look at themselves as they talked on the phone to people – we found that if they were watching themselves talk they would tend to smile more and therefore act happier and more pleasant to clients on the phones. So changing your body can really change your attitude and your mind.

Change From Outside In:

Testosterone is the dominance hormone and cortisol the stress hormone. Amy Cuddy, Faculty at Harvard University says, “All you need is your body, some privacy, and two minutes. Change your posture. Get your testosterone up and your cortisol down.” 

Amy Cuddy is famous for a TED Talk she gave on Power Posing. She explained that by simply striking a power pose for two minutes you can literally help your confidence level go up. I know for a fact this is true even though I have never heard Amy’s TED Talk because as any of you who have ever heard me public speak before know because I always share this in my talks:  In my younger years when I was feeling inadequate or scared to do something, like public speak, I would close my eyes and I would imagine myself spinning around to become Wonder Woman. Then I would open my eyes, stand up straight, put my chin up, and walk confidently into the room to do what needed to get done. That little trick helped me more times than I could count. That is also the reason I have a massive Wonder Woman collection in my home office to remind me that anytime I am afraid I can always become her for a moment and get the job done. So yes, changing your posture really does help you change from the outside in.

I love the points Jack made tonight and I can tell you that they truly do work. Try them this weekend and see for yourself. Force yourself to keep a smile on your face and see if it makes you feel happier. And before taking on something challenging try striking a power pose for two minutes first and see if it doesn’t help your confidence go up. You have nothing to lose by giving those tricks a try and you have all kinds of happiness and confidence to gain! #worthit

Have a great weekend everyone!




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