Amy Cuddy, Presence & Imposter Syndrome

“Your body language shapes who you are.”

-Amy Cuddy

Two American psychologists, Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes, during their studies found that there are some people who are great achievers but always feel that they are incapable and achievement is just due to luck, and sooner or later people will label them as frauds. They gave this phenomenon a name- imposter syndrome.

In their words imposter syndrome is “it as a feeling of “phoniness” in people who believe that they are not intelligent, capable or creative despite evidence of high achievement…While these people are highly motivated to achieve, they also live in fear of being found out or exposed as frauds.”

Amy Cuddy is a social psychologist from Harvard, who once suffered from imposter syndrome. Amy Cuddy had car accident, post-accident she suffered from neuroticism and imposter syndrome. Though she did well in academics, she always felt like imposter.

Later she wrote book called “Presence”, which gives tips on how to overcome this syndrome.

According to her body language reflects our emotions i.e. rubbing your hand while anxious.

Cuddy discovered that opposite can also happen i.e. our body language can affect our emotions, we actually feel confident if we take a power pose or if we smile by putting pencil in our mouth, we actually feel happier.

“To feel confident, you should act confident. Bring your boldest to your biggest challenges.”

-Amy Cuddy

Her advice is to overcome imposter syndrome is to fake it until you become it. Take power poses even you are not feeling confident, power pose will send signal to your mind and you will start feeling confident i.e.  behave with confidence till you truly feel it. Standing at desk (rather than sitting), walking meetings etc. are power poses.


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