How to Look Like a Big Winner Wherever You Go

How to Look Like a Big Winner Wherever You Go

Do you remember the lyrics to the old Shirley Bassey song? "The minute you walked in the joint, I could see you were a man of distinction—a real big spender. Good looking, so refined. Say wouldn't you like to know what's going on in my mind?"

The goal of this first section is not to make you look like a real big spender. Rather it is to give you the cachet of a real big Somebody the moment people lay eyes on you. To that end, we now explore the most important technique to make you look like a very important person.

When the doctor smacks your knee with that nasty little hammer, your foot jerks forward. Thus the phrase knee-jerk reaction. Your body has another instinctive reaction. When a big jolt of happiness hits your heart and you feel like a winner, your head jerks up automatically and you throw your shoulders back. A smile frames your lips and softens your eyes.

This is the look winners have constantly. They stand with assurance. They move with confidence. They smile softly with pride. No doubt about it—good posture symbolizes that you are a man or woman who is used to being on top.

Obviously millions of mothers sticking their knuckles between their kids' shoulder blades, and trillions of teachers telling students, "Stand up straight!" hasn't done the trick. We are a nation of slouchers. We need a technique more stern than teachers and more persuasive than parents to make us stand like a Somebody.

In one profession, perfect posture, perfect equilibrium, perfect balance is not only desirable—it's a matter of life and death. One false move, one slump of the shoulders, one hangdog look, can mean curtains for the high-wire acrobat.

I'll never forget the first time Mama took me to the circus. When seven men and women raced into the center ring, the crowd rose as though they were all joined at the hips. They cheered with one thunderous voice. Mama pressed her lips against my ear and reverently whispered these were the Great Wallendas, the only troupe in the world to perform the seven-person pyramid without a net.

In an instant, the crowd became hushed. Not a cough or a soda slurp was heard in the big top as Karl and Herman Wallenda shouted cues in German to their trusting relatives. The family meticulously and majestically ascended into the position of a human pyramid. They then balanced precariously on a thin wire hundreds of feet above the hard dirt with no net between them and sudden death. The vision was unforgettable.

To me, equally unforgettable was the beauty and grace of the seven Wallendas racing into the center of the big top to take their bows. Each perfectly aligned—head high, shoulders back—standing so tall it still didn't seem like their feet were touching the ground. Every muscle in their bodies defined pride, success, and their joy of being alive. (Still!) Here is a visualization technique to get your body looking like a winner who is in the habit of feeling that pride, success, and joy of being alive.

Your Posture Is Your Biggest Success Barometer

Imagine you are a world-renowned acrobat, master of the iron-jaw act waiting in the wings of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Soon you will dart into the center ring to captivate the crowd with the precision and balance of your body.

Before walking through any door—the door to your office, a party, a meeting, even your kitchen—picture a leather bit hanging by a cable from the frame. It is swinging just an inch higher than your head. As you pass through the door, throw your head back and chomp on the imaginary dental grip that first pulls your cheeks back into a smile and then lifts you up. As you ascend high above the gasping crowd, your body is stretched into perfect alignment—head high, shoulders back, torso out of hips, feet weightless. At the zenith of the tent, you spin like a graceful top to the amazement and admiration of the crowd craning their necks to watch you. Now you look like a Somebody.

One day, to test Hang by Your Teeth, I decided to count how many times I walked through a doorway: sixty times, even at home. You calculate: twice out your front door, twice in, six times to the bathroom, eight times to the kitchen, and through countless doors at your office. It adds up. Visualize anything sixty times a day and it becomes a habit! Habitual good posture is the first mark of a big winner.

You are now ready to float into the room to captivate the crowd or close the sale (or maybe just settle for looking like the most important Somebody in the room).

You now have all the basics Bob the artist needs to portray you as a big winner. Like he said, "great posture, a heads-up look, a confident smile, and a direct gaze." The ideal image for somebody who's a Somebody.


Hang by Your Teeth

Visualize a circus iron-jaw bit hanging from the frame of every door you walk through. Take a bite and, with it firmly between your teeth, let it swoop you to the peak of the big top. When you hang by your teeth, every muscle is stretched into perfect posture position. Now let's put the whole act into motion. It's time to turn your attention outward to your conversation partner. Use the next two techniques to make him or her feel like a million.