Build Confidence with These Five Body Postures

Asian man in fedora hat playing the saxophone.

The two incredible entrepreneurs, Kelby and Rick, who each went from years of zero revenue growth to making the Fortune 5000 (one of the fastest growing privately owned businesses in the U.S.) both say they still want and would benefit from continuing to master their fears and strengthen their self-confidence.

Almost everyone wants more confidence; all of my clients do. Even the world-champion and Olympic athletes I mentally trained wanted more confidence at times, usually for their most important competitions.

Enhancing general self-confidence involves learning to strengthen the confident part of the brain (the confident neural network) while weakening the fearful part of the brain (the fearful neural network). This is the long-term foundation of greater self-confidence.

In addition to building a strong base of self-confidence, it’s important to maximize your confidence when you most need it (think about making a presentation or speech, going on a job interview or asking for a raise). Several of my clients are pitching their companies to investors; millions of dollars are on the line. You want to be your confident best in these situations!

Before engaging in your challenging situations, you’ll benefit if you have a routine or process that helps you maximize confidence, just like a world-class athlete. There are mind routines you can practice to create more confidence and relaxation in a stressful moment (see Corp! article), but did you know that you can also create the feeling of confidence with your body?

You can! Certain body postures will not only make you look more confident but also help you be more confident by increasing testosterone levels (the personal power hormone) and decreasing cortisol levels (the stress hormone). Feeling more powerful and less stressed is a formula for feeling and being more confident.

Is arrogance self-confidence?
It’s important to make a distinction: Confidence isn’t arrogance. Arrogance is an offensive display of perceived superiority. Truly confident people are often very humble. Insecurity, not confidence, usually drives arrogance.

Self-confidence originates in your conscious and subconscious beliefs about yourself. It’s a belief in your own abilities; it’s your level of self-trust. When you’re confident, your testosterone levels rise and the stress hormone cortisol decreases. In general, expansive, open body postures create the hormonal changes you experience when feeling more confident. Closed body postures do the opposite.

Five body postures that increase confidence.
Below are five body postures to help your mind and body work in sync to create confidence. Hold the posture for about two minutes, adding a second dimension if desired: While holding the posture, think of a time you were confident. Use the first four postures to create confidence before an important event; use the last one whenever you want to be more confident.

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and extend your hands upward in a V formation. Notice how expansive this posture is.
  2.  Stand with your hands on your hips and your elbows out to the side.
  3. Sit with your hands behind your head with your elbows out to the side. Add to the effect by bringing your feet up as high as, or higher than, your hips.
  4. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and stretch your arms out in opposite directions as wide as you can at shoulder height.
  5. From my good friend Traci Brown’s book “Body Language for Profits,”  lightly touch your fingertips together, forming a diamond pattern with your thumbs and forefingers.

Control your emotions before and during important events or situations. Create the confidence you need before engaging, and then use the finger-touch posture while engaged to anchor you back into confidence.

World-class athletes, musicians and other stage performers maximize their confidence before they begin their competition or performance. Do you?