Sherpa Blog

Poise & The Cloak of Confidence

Executive Presence: Poise


Poise is inherently connected with first impressions. People see you as being poised when you walk into a room and appear confident and in control. People accept you as composed when you stand up straight and look people in the eye. People recognize your dignity when you are happy to be with them and they know it. Poise includes:
o A natural, graceful and elegant manner
o Good posture
o Composure: no frustration or anger
o Self-confidence: nothing ‘ruffles your feathers’
o A smile, a firm handshake and eye contact
o Confidence, not arrogance
o Good manners

Poise Tool – The CLOAK of Confidence

The CLOAK of Confidence is a portable tool that’s useful for increasing personal power and confidence. This tool can help you erase any negative thoughts, emotions and behaviors and replace them with new, healthy and productive thoughts, emotions and behaviors.

The purpose of this tool is to prepare yourself both physically and mentally by gaining the confidence needed before stepping ‘into the ring’.

‘The ring’ is any situation that you are preparing for. It is the space you want to occupy with confidence and poise. It is the space you want to own and conquer.

“Mental rehearsal” is a technique that athletes, musicians, doctors, soldiers and even astronauts use to prepare for the worst – and perform at their best. The CLOAK of Confidence is a mental rehearsal technique that can help you prepare for an event.

By following the five steps associated with the CLOAK of Confidence, you can prepare for any situation to succeed confidently by erasing negativity and fear and replacing it with confidence and poise.

Your CLOAK is an imaginary personal outer garment that equips you for situations that require poise, confidence and composure. Your CLOAK is a layer of protection that you wear to prepare for any situation.

The purpose of this tool is to help you put on your CLOAK consciously, whenever you need poise, confidence and composure. Now, let’s go through this, one letter at a time.

The ‘C’ in CLOAK – Clip It On

‘Clip It On’ is the physical act of reaching behind your back and ‘Clipping On’ your invisible CLOAK. By consciously doing this, you are preparing to show up, behave and execute in the moment.

You are in control of yourself… and very little else. By preparing for your event or situation, you will confidently control what you CAN control… YOU.

Certainly, there have been times when you have experienced poise, confidence and composure. While Clipping On your CLOAK, remember those times you have felt strong, powerful, confident and in control.

The ‘L’ in CLOAK – Live Your Positives

Living your positive statements takes thought, effort and time. When you do this, you can change your thoughts, behaviors and actions.

You can’t live your positive statements while thinking negatively. To live positively, you must be aware, intentional and in control.

We do not give ourselves enough credit. Often, when someone describes you positively, you think about why you might not deserve the praise. You may go to negative thoughts about yourself instead of appreciating the compliment.

These negative labels we put on ourselves run deep. They operate subconsciously. They are only real to you and they are not helping you. Let’s eliminate them.

You can’t stop thinking, so you will simply need new thoughts to replace the old. By bringing up positive statements about yourself and to yourself, you can begin to change your mindset and rebuild what is in your subconscious.

For example:

  • I love doing this, even though it is tough.
  • I am unique.
  • I am alive and love being me.
  • I enjoy my life. Life is fun and rewarding.
  • I believe in myself.
  • I am capable of anything I set my mind to.
  • I am confident.
  • I am positive and optimistic.
  • I have valuable things to say.

The ’O’ in CLOAK – Omit Your Negatives

Eliminate any negative self-talk. What you say to others and to yourself is important.

Once negative beliefs have been internalized, they become your truth. They can keep you hostage, no longer able to show up with poise, composure and confidence. They limit your potential. In omitting negative self-talk, we will deal with your actions, your attitude and your success in getting things done.

Think of your CLOAK as either permeable or impermeable. When you begin talking to yourself negatively, those words penetrate through your CLOAK and absorb into every fiber of your being. It is not even worth putting your CLOAK on if you are going to speak negatively about yourself. This can only lead to a lack of confidence.

Once you omit negative self-talk from your mindset, your CLOAK will be impermeable.

When you stop listening to your negative self-talk and instead focus on what you might be able to accomplish, you give yourself the power to try… regardless of the outcome. This is freedom and not fear! You are fueling yourself with wonder, curiosity and learning instead of fear. That makes a big difference.

The ‘A’ in CLOAK – Apply

To master a new tool or skill (poise, confidence and composure), it is helpful to think about how you have observed others exhibiting these behaviors successfully. By recalling the behaviors of others, you can successfully adapt and apply the appropriate behaviors needed.

What have you learned from someone else with poise?

Think about being with someone who has unshakeable confidence and poise. Can they become a role model? Can you adopt and apply what works for them and make it work for you? Think about how that person behaves.

When you can identify someone who successfully exhibits poise, confidence and composure, you can begin to personally adopt and apply the behaviors that make them admired and respected.

The ‘K’ in CLOAK – Know It, Own It

The last letter of CLOAK involves new knowledge and new habits. Make it real. Imagine your CLOAK of Confidence as a real garment. Place the CLOAK of Confidence around yourself so you may confront any situation with a strong belief in yourself.

Put reminders on your calendar, perhaps a weekly event, to remind yourself to revisit and remind yourself to be a constant learner.

Our best qualities are discovered when we step out of our comfort zone and are often refined by the fires of doubt and uncertainty. This is where we will find poise, confidence and composure.

Take a moment to describe your personal CLOAK.

What is it like to wear it?

How are you going to use it? When are you going to use it?

How will you remember to wear it?

Like what you just read? This is an excerpt from Jenn Chloupek & Brenda Corbett’s upcoming Executive Presence: Poise workbook. Stay tuned for the release of this book in June 2020.



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