Presence by Amy Cuddy, Thoughts

I’m currently reading Presence by Amy Cuddy, a book that I received for Christmas from my mom. I’ve always been relatively shy, not good at showing my true self on first impression. Not that I fake it by any means, but I am quiet and shy and I don’t feel like I’m necessarily engaging upon first meeting someone. Interviews are the worst. I have gotten better at them over the years, but the wrong signals from an interviewer and I feel like I’m sinking into myself, and they won’t see the things I’m capable of.

Reading this book has been fascinating. Every few pages, I am seeing behaviors, body language, and more that I can pinpoint to the past few years of my life, especially in the workplace. What has been especially interesting is the concept of power, and how people act when they feel powerful or powerless, and I vividly (sometimes painfully) remember both instances I felt at my last job, sadly the “powerless” one far more often. These observations, combined with others about emotional labor and my own introversion and the needs that weren’t met, it’s a cocktail of things to notice and take to heart for future use.

I don’t feel that I have the luxury to be picky about my future work yet, for the most part. I’m still rather young and although I have more management experience than your average 26-year-old, I am in that tricky little middle segment where I don’t have the years of experience required for the field I want to be in, but have the work experience and skills that can translate to other fields easily, if I were to be given the chance. But, I think that after finishing this book I will have some of the internal skills necessary to show my best, most honest self – and to spot the things in a job or company that will be toxic to my well-being. The concept of personal power to me is amazing, and looking back on the brief, but numerous times I felt that are inspiring.

This book is helping me to understand the factors that helped spur me to my highest highs, where I got things done quickly, efficiently, and was on top of every single thing imaginable, and to my lows, where I still kept the balls in the air of importance, but felt discouraged, unappreciated, small, cold, and powerless. To be able to understand how this happens and to take the reins on channeling my more powerful moments into a constant, personal flame is something I hope I can do soon.

I may have some more thoughts to share on this book once I finish it. I’m amazed at how much I’ve gotten out of it already, and I’m only about halfway through. Stay tuned to see if I have more to add in another post later. 🙂

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