friend and foe

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What You Want: To feel powerful, even when you're secretly intimidated.

What to Try: Quick, effective confidence-boosting is possible, found business-school professors Adam Galinsky and Maurice Schweitzer in their research at Columbia University and the Wharton School. In a scientific study—which they write about in Friend & Foe: When to Cooperate, When to Compete, and How to Succeed at Both — they asked one pool of job applicants to do a simple task before being interviewed: To take 10 minutes to write about an experience they had when they felt powerful. Another pool of applicants went in cold. The result? Those who did the "power prime," as the two termed it, raised their chances of job acceptance by 70 percent.

"To be perceived as powerful," the professors write, "it helps not only to be in the right place at the right time, but the right frame of mind." As further proof, that we make manufacture our confidence, take Amy Cuddy's viral TED talk on "power posing," whereby she describes how putting your hands on your hips for two minutes can change your frame of mind before a big presentation.. Prime yourself before your next power lunch...or the far more intimidating meeting with the PTA-nominating committee.