Stand Like Wonder Woman! Body Language & the Power of Faking It ‘Til You Make It



“Sit up straight!” “Do not hunch over!” “Shoulders back!”

No, this wasn’t bootcamp. It was my childhood.

My father was a posture Nazi. His constant vigilance at the dinner table was a literal pain in the neck. People would compliment my parents on my posture and inwardly I’d roll my eyes, “You have no idea.”

Now I’m grateful. My spine is grateful, My internal organs are grateful. And today I learned that my self-esteem can be grateful, too!

While I was walking on the treadmill doing my morning mile, I watched the first episode of Life Hacks, a collection of TED talks, on Netflix. A client, who knows my love for Netflix, suggested this series as an alternative to Sherlock episodes.

Social psychologist, Amy Cuddy, shares how her research supports the idea that our body language can make a difference in whether we feel powerful or the opposite, small and unworthy. Stand up tall with your hands on your hips for two full minutes and, even though you may not be feeling it totally, it will be easier to act as if you own the room.

That’s great news! SO easy! But the most compelling part of Dr. Cuddy’s talk was when she talked about her story of recovery from traumatic brain injury in her teens to her current position as a Harvard professor. The story is more relatable than you’d think. It’s all about “Fake it ’til you make it.”

Fake it ’til you make it is a saying often heard in AA. Friends in recovery would say, “Act like you have sobriety even if you are dying for your next drink. Fake your way to sobriety, one day at a time. Then one day you wake up and the first thing you think about isn’t a drink which is nothing less than a miracle.” It applies to just about everything: Feeling down? Smile anyway. Smile long enough, the smile begins to stick more naturally; our mood lifts. Feeling nervous about speaking out in class or in front of co-workers? Do it anyway, as if you are the most brilliant one there. That is faking it ’til you make it.

Do this experiment: Stand like Wonder Woman, smile like Julia Roberts, speak like whoever floats your boat. See if, as Dr. Cuddy says, in time you have faked it ’til you ARE it!

One comment


  • I love the exercise where you stand like wonder woman. Its a great idea. As an ex actor and BBC radio presenter I often work with people who need to get that feeling of owning the room and it helps so much. I always used to use that old thing as an actor of feeling stronger and more powerful depending on the shoes that I wore as a character. Not really body language but I guess I am just anchoring that feeling to my feet !

    2014/11/22

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