Social power gives you the confidence to talk to anyone, say what you want, and boldly be yourself.
Do you feel powerful in social situations? Whether it’s a business dinner, a date, or a house party, do you feel confident and secure in yourself? Do you feel as though you can speak freely without self-criticism or second-guessing?
If your answer to these is a hesitant “no,” then you’re probably a human. No one feels completely confident one hundred percent of the time. However, it is possible to apply some basic principles that allow you to feel more confident, more of the time. And one of those principles is social power.
We all want to be able to walk into a room full of people and feel powerful. We want to be able to approach groups and individuals with confidence, speak freely, make jokes, look people in the eye, and do it all calmly, without intimidation. Even though this might be our intention, our actions often work against it during our “pre-game” ritual. We list all the things that could go wrong; we imagine how awkward possible rejections might feel; we picture people not wanting to talk to us. We see ourselves standing on the sidelines like we’ve done so many times before.
When we do this, we’re deflating ourselves—we’re giving all our power away before we’ve even walked in the door. We don’t feel powerful . . . We feel weak, needy, and desperate. At this point, we’ve put ourselves in the position of having to go and seek out small shreds of our power from others.
This is a lot like the Legend of Zelda. If you’ve never played that game, let me quickly explain: the myth follows Link, who is trying to save the elfin Princess Zelda from the evil Ganon. To do so, he must collect all of the pieces of the tri-force, a powerful artifact that was shattered by Ganon and spread to the far corners of the world. Because Link is inherently less powerful than Ganon, he has to travel far and wide, traversing all manner of terrain to collect a force that will allow him to stand up to his foe.
This is the position we put ourselves in when we disperse our power before even entering a social situation: we’ve shattered our tri-force (our power) and have to go about collecting bits of it from everyone at the event. If I get this person to like me, then I’ll get one shred of power back. Then I’ll try to impress this person, and maybe I’ll get another. If I can get everyone here to approve of me, maybe I’ll feel worthy of being here.
Does that sound like fun to you? In my experience, this most certainly is not. We’re not enjoying ourselves, we’re still feeling powerless, and the last thing we want to do is ever put ourselves in the same position again. The worst part about it is that we don’t get the results that we want because people don’t respond well to someone who’s desperately trying to get them to like him. It’s hard, after all, to be attracted to anyone who’s begging for your attention and approval. Let’s face it, desperation is not sexy.
So how can we claim our social power—our triforce if you will—before we enter a social situation?
To activate your power, you must begin by revamping your pre-game ritual. Rather than reminding yourself of what a potential disaster you think you are, you want to build power on the way to the event. The simplest way to do that is to get physically powerful in your body. Use your body, use your voice, jump up and down, hit your chest and yell out in a loud voice that you got this, play a song that gets you amped up, and remind yourself that you are in control of your power. Remind yourself that you do not need anything from the people in that meeting, at that dinner, or at that event.
Why is this such an important part of the routine? Because once you’ve activated that power in yourself, you’re going to walk into that event not needing to get anything from anyone—in fact, you’ll be able to give your positive energy and undivided attention to those around you. That creates magnetism. When you’re confident about your worth, you can listen in a whole new way. You can approach situations with something to give instead of something to get. Other people can sense that.
Your power gives you a shield. If someone doesn’t like you, your power allows you to move past it and enjoy someone else. It’s like having an amazing gift to give away. Imagine that your attention and energy are synonymous with a new car: if you were giving away a new car and someone said, “Yuck, no thanks,” you’d think that person was crazy. Someone is just as crazy if he or she refuses your generous presence.People will be magnetically attracted to you and like conversing with you . . . and if that’s not the case—if someone is intimidated or threatened by your confidence and self-worth—find someone else to share your time with. When you have your entire triforce built up before the social gathering begins, you don’t need to go around collecting shreds of power anymore.
The key here is to stop giving away all of your power before you even enter the room. You don’t need them to like you. You don’t need her to think you are great. You can just show up as you, energized, alive, and alert. Your presence is enough.
This article originally appeared on The Social Confidence Center.
Photo: Flickr/ Olaf Teuerle