Art in Action: 3 Ways to Be Your Own Superhero


Art in Action is a weekly post: a short, practical guide to applying the ideas and principles in the Focus Pocus posts to your body and life. As always, I love to hear from you about how you use them and how you translate the ideas into action.

I’ve been teaching wearing a superhero cape this week and I LOVE it. I may never take it off. Maybe this post should be called 4 Ways to Be Your Own Superhero: the first of which is to wear a cape all the time. Done and done.

Even if that sartorial choice doesn’t work for you, there are ways to bring out your inner superhero.

Being your own superhero is really like setting a super-intention: identify the qualities that matter the most to you and make them a priority in the choices you make. Of course, that can be way easier said than done. Here are three ways to support your superhero self.

1. Body Language Shapes Who You Are

The research of Harvard Business School social psychologist, Amy Cuddy (whose TED Talk is one of the most popular of all time and is totally worth watching ) indicates that how you hold your body affects your emotion, mind and even your physiology. Her findings show that holding a powerful position for 2 minutes (think Wonder Woman pose) makes you feel more powerful … and actually makes you more powerful. Notice and choose how you hold your body and pay attention to both how you feel and how others respond to you.

2. Act As If

There were all kinds of things I was afraid of at first, ranging from grizzly bears to ‘mean’ horses and gun-fighters; but by acting as if I was not afraid I gradually ceased to be afraid.” – Theodore Roosevelt

What happens if you act as if you have the superpower you want to cultivate? While this isn’t a great idea if you want to fly or walk through walls, it can be extremely helpful if you want to be patient or courageous or kind. Pretend you are what you want to be and pay attention to how it is different than your habit. You may find yourself standing, moving and speaking differently simply by pretending you are what you want to be.

3. Bring in an Ally

When you’re going into a tricky situation or starting something you’re anxious about, bring an ally with you! Think of someone who you admire or who has the qualities that you want to have in this situation and imagine them coming with you. Before making choices or taking action, ask yourself, What would my ally do? Sometimes, I take a breath and ask my ally for help or advice. Maya Angelou has helped me out of more pickles than I can count!

You already have all the qualities in you that you want to cultivate. Really! Being a superhero is consciously choosing those qualities you want to bring forward. So put on your cape and go flex your superpowered self.

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