New book from NYT bestselling author Lewis Howes is now available!

New book from NYT bestselling author Lewis Howes is now available!


Amy Cuddy

The Science of Building Confidence & Self Esteem


Are you struggling to build your self-esteem and self-confidence?

We all want to feel good about ourselves and to be able to hold our heads up high. But sometimes there are moments when we feel down about ourselves for one reason or another. Maybe we don’t feel attractive, smart, or successful enough. It can be really tough to deal with these negative thoughts and feelings, especially if they persist for a long time. If you’re struggling with low self-esteem and confidence, don’t worry — you’re not alone. There are things you can do to improve how you feel about yourself.

Friends, welcome back to The School of Greatness. Our guest today is Amy Cuddy. She is a social psychologist and an award-winning Harvard lecturer. In this episode, we dove in on what it means to have personal power and how to develop it, why it’s important to overcome trauma from the past, how to stop being afraid of going after your dreams, and so much more.

Who Is Amy Cuddy?

Dr. Amy Cuddy is an expert on the behavioral science of power, presence, and prejudice. She earned her Ph.D. from Princeton University in 2005. Dr. Amy was also a professor at Rutgers University from 2005 to 2006, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management from 2006 to 2008, and at Harvard Business School from 2008 to 2017. She still continues to teach at Harvard Business School in executive education.

Amy Cuddy is also a bestselling author, and her first book, Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges, is a Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Globe and Mail, Publisher’s Weekly, USA Today, and New York Times bestseller and has been published in 35 languages. 

It was also selected as the “Spotlight Pick of December 2015” by Amazon and has sold more than half a million copies worldwide. Dr. Amy shared through this book how to tap our inner power to achieve the greatest challenges with great confidence, and in this episode, she showed us what it means to have that power and how to develop it, so we can get the life we want to have.

How to Develop Personal Power

The world is a beautiful place, but it can be difficult to find our own personal power in the midst of all this beauty. Whether you are struggling with your happiness or finding yourself lost in the chaos that life throws at us, there are ways for you to overcome these obstacles and gain strength from them.

We all have the power to make a difference in our world. Sometimes, we lose sight of this because it’s hard work or because things are not going well. But you can’t give up hope! There are always opportunities for us to show our personal power and make changes in our lives. 

“[Personal power] is the feeling that you are entitled to your best self, … but that also involves knowing who your best self is, and that’s difficult too. … I think so often we don’t even feel that we sort of deserved to be there, and so we can’t fully show up. So personal power is the feeling of being in control of our internal resources, or to bring our skills and abilities forward, to be the most sort of generous open-minded version of ourselves. That’s personal power.” – Amy Cuddy

People often think of power as something that they can’t attain, but in reality, it’s the feeling that you are entitled to your best self, and that’s something anyone can have. This is the reason why some people feel like they’re not in control of their lives and others don’t. You may not feel like you have power over your life, but in truth, there are many ways to get it. The world is waiting for your best self, so what’s stopping you?

“I don’t think personal power is not a substitute for skills and knowledge. For me, personal power is about revealing the skills that you already have, but it also gives you more bandwidth to build more skills. So it’s self-enforcing as well.” – Amy Cuddy

You are the CEO of your life. You get to set the priorities, you can change how much time you want to spend on each thing, and if something is not working for you anymore, you can try something else. This means that it’s up to YOU what happens next in your life. When you focus on your own development and enhancing your skills, you become more confident and less stressed out about what might happen next. So focus on your strengths and abilities, and at the same time overcome the trauma from your past that’s holding you back.

“Leave room for people to be weird. Stop judging people.” @amyjccuddy  

Why It’s Important to Overcome Trauma From the Past 

It’s normal to feel upset or angry after experiencing a traumatic event. However, it’s important to overcome these feelings and move on with your life. Trauma can cause long-term physical and emotional damage if left unresolved. 

“There are different parts of dealing with the trauma process, but part of it obviously is understanding what happened and where that came from — and that, that’s not who you were born.” – Dr. Amy Cuddy

It’s important to understand what trauma is, why it happens, and how people cope with it in order to get better. Trauma does not just go away on its own; there are some things that need time and work before they heal. Taking care of yourself is an important part of dealing with the trauma process because if you don’t take care of yourself, then the trauma will consume you until nothing else matters anymore. So, understanding what happened during a traumatic event can be an important step in making peace with the past and moving on from it.

“When something reminds you of that traumatic event, there’s a sort of neural pathway that gets activated, and all of the feelings that went with trauma that happened when you were 12, are now being activated when you’re at 40, and they’re not helpful to you now.” – Dr. Amy Cuddy

Do certain words, smells, or sounds send you into an immediate panic? If so, you’re not alone. For many people, specific triggers can instantly activate a neural pathway that was formed during a traumatic event. While these reminders can be incredibly uncomfortable, understanding why they occur can help you cope and take back control of your life.

“People have just endured enormous trauma, and some of them just never get rid of it. But, I think it only shuts us down more and probably makes it harder for us to know ourselves in many other ways, like we become afraid of ourselves, and that makes it harder for us to be a good partner in a relationship, a good member of society, [and] to be somebody who’s helping others.” – Dr. Amy Cuddy

Trauma is difficult, and it affects the lives of many people. It can cause some to become reclusive and avoidant in society. Others have broken relationships as a result of their trauma. It’s important to deal with trauma so it won’t stop you from going after your dreams.

How to Stop Being Afraid of Going After Your Dreams

You have dreams — I know you do. You may even have big dreams. But maybe, for some reason, you’re afraid to go after them. You’re afraid of what might happen if you try and fail. You’re afraid of what other people will think of you. You’re afraid of change. But there’s a better way to live your life than living in fear, and Dr. Amy shares some advice on how to stop being afraid of going after your dreams.

“The theory of self-affirmation in psychology is not about saying, ‘I’m great,’ or ‘I’m gonna win this event.’ It is about affirming to yourself what your values are, who you really are. … So the task is to first list, maybe, the top three things that you care most about that if I took them away, you would just no longer be yourself, … and then you rank them … based on how you feel today. And then you take the top one, you write a paragraph about why it matters to you. And then you write another paragraph about a time when you were able to express that value, that belief, and what it felt like to do that, — that’s self-affirmation.” – Dr. Amy Cuddy

In today’s society, there is a lot of negativity and fear. — Fear of going after your dreams, fear of the unknown, and even fear for your safety. We all know that it isn’t healthy to let these fears keep you from living life to the fullest. Self-affirmation can help us control our thoughts in order to stop being afraid of going after our goals and dreams. 

Why You Should Listen to This Amy Cuddy Podcast Episode Right Now…

Guys, this is a powerful interview full of so many words of wisdom from Dr. Amy Cuddy.

Listen to the full episode for more and make sure to share it with your friends, especially with someone who needs to hear it.

Visit her website to learn more from her. You can also follow her on social media. She’s on Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, and Twitter. To conclude this episode, I asked Dr. Amy for her definition of greatness:

“[I think greatness is …] a combination of being your most effective self, but also your most generous self. So greatness has to combine those two qualities. It’s about being both generous and capable.” – Amy Cuddy

Greatness is defined by what we do and how we act. By being generous, we touch the lives of others in a positive way. By being capable, we are able to succeed in whatever we put our minds to. I believe that these two traits together create a powerful force that can change the world for the better. 

I want to remind you all if no one’s told you lately that you are loved, you are worthy, and you matter. Do you know what time it is? It’s time to go out there and do something great.

To Greatness,

Lewis Howes - Signature

“Carry yourself with a sense of self respect and you will have more respect for others.” @amyjccuddy  

Some Questions I Ask:

  • How do you just walk around with confidence?
  • Why are people so afraid of being rejected?
  • Why is “Fake it ‘til you make it” harmful?
  • What are the characteristics of people on Shark Tank that you think are going to get an investment?

In this episode, you will learn:

  • What it means to have personal power and how to develop it.
  • Why it’s important to overcome trauma from the past.
  • How to stop being afraid of going after your dreams.
  • The science behind body posture and power posing and how it can affect your confidence.
  • Plus much more…
Connect with
Amy Cuddy

Transcript of this Episode

Music Credits:


Kaibu by Killercats

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