Photo by Reuters.
When I was a child, my family was seeking insight into our next canine family member, so we attended a dog show. As a curious seven-year-old, I remember being mesmerized by the prancing dogs; their heads lifted high, joyfully bouncing through space. After the show, when my mother asked what part I liked best, I told her the dancing. That moment when the dogs circle around the stage, this is surely the ballet of the dog world. And since then I’ve been hooked. Sadly, I’ve never attended another live dog show, but every Thanksgiving after the Macy’s Day Parade, I tune into the National Dog Show, and watch closely as a new group of dogs dance in their “ballet.” A friend who understands my fascination gave me a newspaper image of an Irish wolfhound and a dachshund from the Crufts Dog Show in Birmingham, England. The dachshund sits tall and proud, as the Irish wolfhound cranes its neck down to take in his competition. For most of the week, I stared at the photo, fascinated by the relationship between the two dogs—two dogs with clear physical differences and perhaps even different ways of navigating through life; yet, in this moment, sharing the same experience. It is only days later I realize my fascination isn’t with the differences between the two dogs, but rather by the dynamics portrayed in this photo. The proud assuredness of the petite dachshund literally demands the attention of the more physically imposing wolfhound. Through the photo I can almost feel the strength of the smaller dog. I want that kind of strength, to demand that kind of attention! And I have to wonder if the start of building that assuredness in myself has something to do with sitting as tall and proud as the dachshund? This one photograph has steered me toward some thinking that illustrates how little, accessible changes really can change our lives.
Full disclosure: This is my birthday week. That means a full assessment and analysis of this past year, as well as of my 2017 goals. My birthday always comes at exactly the right time to check in with my January goals to see if I am heading in the right direction. Upon review, it turns out my focus has been slightly off. Just as I suggested to you, I put together a 2017 roadmap complete with mini-goals to direct me toward my larger goals. The logic was sound—mini-goals do help keep you on track. The mini-goals are not the issue. The issue is the larger goals I had set for myself; they are all focused on “doing.” That is, accomplishing by doing. Now, doing is a good thing, but it took this photo to make me realize that perhaps taking some of my focus away from the “doing” and more toward the “feeling” may help me reach more goals with ease.
I took my cue from the dachshund and started my investigation with posture—the position of the body when sitting, standing, or walking. Can posture affect how I feel, and ultimately how I accomplish? The answer is yes. According to science, there is a direct link between looking confident and feeling confident, and once we feel confident, achieving any goal is that much closer to our grasp. Studies reveal the postures we choose, consciously or subconsciously, affect our mood and energy level. Our mood and energy level, in turn, affect our actions. Quite simply, our postures influence how we approach life. In fact, good posture (standing tall and proud) balances our hormones, boosting testosterone and lowering cortisol. This ratio of testosterone to cortisol results in greater confidence and less stress—we’re in a better mood. This makes us more resilient, productive, and motivated. We’re telling the world that we are powerful and in control. And we’re telling ourselves, “I got this.” In short, we feel the part and look the part.
In this next decade of my life, I want to feel more powerful and in control. I want to feel like “I got this.” I’ll start small by checking in with my posture and see where that leads me. Yes, checking in with my posture is another “do” activity, but the goal, as you can see, is not only to stand tall, but also to improve how I feel and allow those feelings to push me closer to my goals. And heck, it would also be nice if the big Irish wolfhounds in my life (anyone bigger and seemingly cooler than me) take notice! Interested in joining me in this posture challenge? Take a look at our article, “How Posture Can Change Your Life” for a step-by-step guide on how to discover your best self by optimizing your stance.
Make A Change Today,