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Now reading:

Presence : bringing your boldest self to your biggest challenges

By Amy Cuddy

Check it out at your local library:…
Let's get a some things out of the way right now.

Amy Cuddy's 2012 TED talk is one of the most watched TED talks ever:

In 2017 came the debunking:…

In 2018 Cuddy fought back:…
This book is copyright 2015
Yes, I'm reading another book about how to believe in myself.

I'm surrounded by amazing people all the time, so I can use all the help I can get.
Have y'all ever thought about how business school professors are really workplace sociologists?

This has nothing to do with the book, I was just thinking about it yesterday while driving around.
Cuddy is a social psychologist who earned her Ph.D. from Princeton University in 2005 and was a professor at Harvard Business School from 2008 to 2017.

She's currently working on a new book.
Oh great, this book is going to make me relive everything terrible about the academic job market.

I'm not even an academic. I live with one. I spent a whole Christmas break pretending to be interviewers, using a script my husband prepared.
There's nothing to give people anxiety like having *one chance* to get a job.
Ooooh, linked footnotes 😘👌
(Thanks to the brilliant @s_m_i, I use the Libby app to check out library books.…)
What is Presence?
The qualities of presence:

Being captivating

Presence is *not* extroversion.
Why introverts make better entrpreneurs

The book is still trying to sell me on [The Scientific Basis of Presence in relation to physicality] and even though I am a person who *loves* some good research...I am tired.

When am I going to get to the part where I make myself awesomer?
Chapter 1 summary

People will listen to you, believe you, and give you money* if you have presence.



You have to have *authentic* presence.

*The book has a lot of VC-focused research 🤷, I didn't realize this before I started
Chapter 2
Believing and Owning Your Story
In order to be authentic, you have to know yourself.

What is *self*?

According to Cuddy it is:

1. Multifaceted, not singular
2. Expressed via behavior, action, thoughts, etc
3. Dynamic & flexible, allowing us to *grow* as people
How do you get to know your authentic self?

Try this excercise they make MBAs do, it involves asking TWENTY people to write about how you are awesome.

I feel like this sets a high "number of people who know me" bar for getting an MBA.…
(I think you're supposed to be nice to yourself when you fill this out, but I am thinking very judgmental, frank things about myself. Great.)
Book: what three words best describe you?

Me: Perfectionist, Judgemental, yet also Lazy
Okay, the nice version:
One way to believe in yourself is too use self-affirmation.

Diagram time!

(This is from the paper above, not the book I'm reading)
(the book is covering a bunch of research that shows that if you self-affirm you can ward off stressful situations.

Like this study, which involved self-affirmation, public speaking, counting backwards, and people SHOUTING at you:…)
I wish I were an academic so I could pioneer an entire field of study that involves counting backwards as people yell at you.

If I can't fall asleep, I count backwards by 3's from 300.

Works every time.

Okay, I was reading a book…
How to use self-affirmation to lower your stress response in tough situations.
The key to effective self-affirmation is that it is grounded in the truth.
Correlation, not causation, y'all.
This is....not working for 2019
Chapter 3 is off to an inauspicious start
"Competent Jerks/Lovable Fools" makes an appearance.

Did you know it was intended as research on our social networks at work?

It bothers me soooooo much that the quadrants aren't consistent. Either likability comes first, or it comes last, you can't go switching it like that.
We judge likability first, so put it first.

Lovable vs Loathsome
The authors of the Competent Jerks / Lovable Fools paper made it available here:…
Research: We judge kindness as more important than competence

(I'm now in a section on listening)
The paradox of listening is that by relinquishing power, we become more powerful.

😊 Listen, and people will trust you

🤔 Listen, and you acquire useful info

👯 Listen, and you see people as individuals, even allies

👩‍🔬 Listen, and you develop new solutions
This chapter works because it has a story that it keeps going back to.

Unlike Chapters 1 & 2, it's a bit of research in a sea of story.
Hello old friend
Me, at work: Wow, I don't feel like I have the skills or background to do all of this stuff.

Me, a minute later: Well, nobody else is prepared to do this either, so it might as well be me.
(I've taught class sections on impostor syndrome, so I'm going to skip the stories here and try to find some good research)
Interesting (from the original researcher on Imposter Phenomenon)
(there's some stuff about a single bad test score wiping out self-esteem - I'm highlighting it since the book may move on from that concept without going deeper)
Wait a minute, what does this have to do with imposter syndrome?

These people are just assholes.
They did not just fail her, they actively destroyed her career.
The gist of Chapter 4 is "People are going to be assholes to you and you need to believe in yourself."

This chapter was not ready for 2019.
Is it power posing time?
This is the research I was looking forward to. How anxiety affects reasoning.

Download the paper:…
Let's discuss the Spotlight Effect.

The other day I was chatting with friends about a travel wardrobe and I recommended buying 5 of the same pants.

Love a pair? Buy 5.

Them: 🤨
Me: 😘👌

Zero people will notice if you wear the same pants every day.
Okay, one person will notice, but why are they looking at your pants so much anyways?
The Spotlight Effect happens because we're at the center of our own lives and so we think people notice our stuff.

Guess what.

Nobody notices.
You know how your brain remembers that time you embarrassed yourself in gym class in 6th grade?

Nobody else remembers.

Here's some research on how we're just giant balls of ego, especially when it comes to wearing Barry Manilow t-shirts.…
Nobody notices you!

It sounds kind of terrible.

But what if you considered the ultimate freedom?

It's okay to be you. To make mistakes. To try something and fail.
Side note: This is also why you need to tell people about your work at work.


And if you're a manager, you need to tell people to tell you about their work.

It's called "reporting"…
Oh, it gets worse.

There's also all of the time we spend ruminating on our past mistakes.

That's called "post-event processing" and it explains 27% of the content on tumblr
A previous thread on Ruminating from when I read:

How Women Rise: Break the 12 Habits Holding You Back from Your Next Raise, Promotion, Or Job

by Marshall Goldsmith and Sally Helgesen

Enough about powerlessness. Let's talk about power!
The book includes half dozen studies on power and relationships. But not this one which is one of my favorites:

I also got an ad for this fucking bullshit. God help us all.
My instant response to negging is "fuck all y'all, I'm amazing and you are terribly dumb" and then a Rapinoe-esque gesture of "look at me being amazing" and then I leave.
One more thing and then we'll get back to POWER

Now that we've discussed the downsides of being powerless, let's talk about the upsides of power.
Upsides of Power

1. It's easier to get over social rejection when you have power.

(this is probably why I dismiss negging: I'm just too powerful)

Read the paper:…
Upsides of Power

(Interesting psychological upsides, not the basic stuff like money, freedom, etc)

2. Power buffers stress and might help you feel less pain
3. Power can improve our ability to read and relate to other people

One theory is that high-power people have a "global processing" style - they see the big picture, while low-power people have a "local processing" style - focused on details.…
4. If you have power, you're more likely to be forgiving…

5. If you have power, you're less vigilant and more open to others…

6. If you have managerial power, you're more open to input from your reports…
That last one is super-interesting.

Conceptual Model of Managerial Self-Efficacy, Ego Threat, and Voice Aversion

NJ Fast, ER Burris, CA Bartel - Academy of Management Journal, 2014

(They're researchers, not designers, so I need to make my own version of this flow)
I am still thinking about this.

Exploring some alternative concept model diagrams. So you can see how I think.
Low-Efficacy Management vs. High-Efficacy Management by @jonesabi, based on Fast, Burris, and Bartel, 2014
Hey designers!

Power makes you more creative because it helps you overcome conformity. Like when you’re naming pastas...

Power Reduces the Press of the Situation: Implications for Creativity, Conformity, and Dissonance…



Oh yeah, their book is for people with power, to be applied to the powerless.

Wait, do we know the topic? Is this Parliamentary? If the topic is value-neutral, then going 1st or 2nd doesn’t matter much since the team with the 2nd speaker also speaks last.

I know, I know, none of this matters. Powerful people want to go first...even if not beneficial
9. Powerful people are proactive and make decisions (Guinote, Power and Goal Pursuit, 2007)

I’ve been doing some side-reading on ambiguity and the advice for leads I read today was:

1. Map assumptions
2. Identify trade-offs
3. Make an intentional decision...for now
Aaaaaaand now we have another idea of why people vote against their self-interest (aside from racism)

The research:…
10. Power helps you perform better in high-stakes situations.

The Author will now attempt to make a connection between our physical bodies and power.
(side note: today I listened to this podcast on lady hair and there was an interesting reflection on facial hair as an indicator of power (in men) and how a person with breasts and a beard would be the most powerful being ever…)
Me, reading the next section
You are more stressed out than your boss, than your boss's boss, than your boss's boss's boss.
From research on educating physicians:

"Elevated stress levels can impede performance on tasks that require divided attention, working memory, retrieval of information from memory, and decision making."…
(suddenly feeling very bad for everyone on my team because if they are more stressed than me we are in a lot of trouble)
Oh, it's the last several years in research form. ☠️☠️☠️…
That last chapter was reeeeeallly long. Let's see what this next one holds.
It starts with discussing the All Blacks performing the haka
Can we just not do this?

Using "primitive" to describe Indigenous people's ceremonial dances. Smdh.
I give up
Oh yeah...the poses
Powerful vs. Powerless
Poses Poses
Pose 1 is the "Wonder Woman"
Pose 2:
Do people really put their feet on tables at work?

It seems rude and unsanitary. Also, the tilt-back thing *really* doesn't work in a desk chair…you'll just roll yourself backwards, cool guy.
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