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Are you a peacock?

Are you a peacock?

If you’ve ever been to a business meeting, a youth sports booster club meeting, or even your local church board meeting, you’ve probably noticed the ones who climb the informal authority ladder are the ones who know how to strut like a peacock or thump their chests like the alpha male gorillas. Some of us may want to fight against the idea that the biggest or most colorful of the species gain the highest level of authority, but you would be trying to fight thousands of years of programming that have most likely served the human species well over that time.

So what can you do in a business or personal setting if you’re not a natural peacock or lion with a huge mane and roar?

You could channel your inner salmon and try to fight the currents of human programming and modify the behavior and attitudes of those around you, OR you could choose to become that peacock for short and strategic periods.

Why would I want you to become a peacock if your personality is inclined to be less visible or outgoing? Shouldn’t you accept who you are and play to those strengths? I certainly don’t want you not to be true to yourself, but can we agree that in a field the peacock is noticed and the pheasant gets overlooked?

When I am working with my clients on their leadership and career development, I remind them that humans still maintain a number of animal characteristics that we can take advantage of when working with team members, managers, bank officials, and even in job interview situations.

There is a fantastic Ted Talk given by Amy Cuddy entitled “Your body language shapes who you are”. In her speech and article, she examines how not only psychologically a person can “fake the funk” to get through a meeting by engaging in a few simple exercises, but a person can actually come to mimic physically the characteristics of a dominant leader by increasing testosterone and lowering cortisol levels in their own bodies.

Being in a “power mindset” would be beneficial in the following circumstances:

  • Job interviewing
  • A meeting where confrontation is expected
  • Needing management team buy in on your plan
  • Public speaking
  • Any time you need to sell yourself as “the expert”
  • Even discussing a bank loan where you may be on the fence from a qualifying standpoint and need to do a little extra convincing

If you’re not a natural “strutter,” here are a few exercises you can do a couple of minutes before you have to go to your event or meeting:

1) Sit in a chair with your feet up on a table, your fingers behind your head, and your elbows extended.

2) Stand in front of a table, lean forward at the waist, and extend your arms more than shoulder width apart on the table creating a wide base. Lean forward so your head is almost creating a single plane over your hands.

Power Poses

If you feel you could use a little more peacock in your life, the research has proven that as you include these and other power poses into your daily habits, you will over time become a more dominate, outgoing presence. As Mrs. Cuddy says, “Don’t fake it till you make it. Fake it till you become it.”

When have you had to go beyond your comfort zone or outside of your “normal” personality traits?  Did you use any of the above exercises? If you have some other strategies that worked to help you, please share those with the Get2it community.


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