We’ve all heard the phrase, “As a man thinketh…so is he”. But are thoughts everything?

Robert B. Cialdini, PhD, says, “Our best evidence of what people truly believe and feel comes less from their words than from their deeds.” In his book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, the author cites scientific studies showing that not only do the people around us study our actions to make judgments about us, but we also study ourselves to align our self-perception with reality.

In another study, Harvard Business School social psychologist, Amy Cuddy, PhD, produced evidence that even something as seemingly insignificant as body language can affect our stress and hormone levels. Dr. Cuddy showed that we don’t have to believe the action (in this case, the use of a power pose) will have an effect—we just take the action, and the action itself produces the result.

This means that the relationship between our mindset and our behavior is reciprocal. The thought of taking an action might occur before the action is taken; but the action then serves to reinforce the attitude that generated the action. On the other hand, an initial action might produce a result that shifts our attitude, thus driving additional action.  This concept is consistent with Dale Carnegie training methodology: it takes both an emotional change and a behavioral change to create a performance shift.

The beautiful thing is this—the human brain is designed to support our choice to be on a path of continual, life-long growth and improvement. To borrow Dale Carnegie’s words, when we “fill our minds with thoughts of peace, courage, health, and hope,” and concurrently “keep busy” testing new leadership tactics, we will see the fruit of BOTH in our professional lives.

Power Pose, anyone?!

Download Dale Carnegie’s latest white paper on “Recognizing Leadership Blind Spots.”

Posted by MaryAnn Means-Dufrene

As Market President for Dale Carnegie North Texas, MaryAnn partners with organizations and individuals to build leadership capacity necessary for breakthrough performance. Through strategic partnerships, she creates customized skill development plans to increase employee engagement, boost individual and team productivity, and develop the kind of leaders people actually want to follow. MaryAnn has tremendous experience in collaborating with organizations in Tarrant County, previously serving as Executive Director of Susan G. Komen Greater Fort Worth and as Deputy Chief of Staff to Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price. She is a graduate of Texas A&M University with a degree in psychology and earned her Master of Public Administration and Master of Strategic Human Resource Management degrees from the University of Texas at Arlington. She is board chair for Presbyterian Night Shelter, board vice president for Girls Inc of Tarrant County, and serves on the board of directors of Women's Policy Forum and the Central Area Council for the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce. MaryAnn lives with her husband Matt, son Hogan, and two dogs Deuce and Lovey in Fort Worth, Texas.

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