Want More Confidence? Know Thyself!

Socrates is credited with the quote, “The beginning of wisdom is to know thyself.” I suggest knowing thyself is also the beginning of the road to confidence.

socratesI’ve partnered with career coaching clients who’ve been at the proverbial bottom of the pit, and their confidence has taken a beating. From clients whose spouses have died or left them – never needing to be the primary wage earner before, to executives that were surreptitiously​ ousted coup-style by their colleagues, to countless others whose managers beat their spirits down through criticism (despite their own managerial deficits which contributed to my clients’ inability to be successful in their roles).

When doing career discovery and transition work with clients, my goal is simply to show them what they do best and help them determine the most desirable and feasible career options that align to those insights so they won’t dread Mondays anymore.

Not only do my clients and I accomplish that goal together, but I began to notice a trend. From the first time we spoke, until we finished working together, their confidence increased. They shifted from feeling uncertain, to feeling inspired about their future and their ability to pursue it. This has happened again, and again which has led me to conclude that people who are clearly aware of their strengths and abilities not only project confidence, but have achieved authentic confidence by internalizing it.

Some of the comments clients make after they go through the exercise of self-discovery have been:

“I’m so excited to learn so much about myself!”

“I felt so confident when I went into that interview!”

“I took my strengths for granted, and didn’t recognize them as unique abilities.”

“I have you to thank for guiding me in the right direction to have more confidence in myself and my abilities​.”​

This is why I love my work so much. I don’t just help people gain career clarity and the steps to achieve it, I help them gain confidence!

How do you increase your self-confidence? A potential first step is to understand your strengths. I highly recommend the Gallup StrengthFinder assessment. Read the Strengths Insight Guide that comes with it, and discuss it with people who know you, both at work and at home.

Ask people to share examples of how you’ve used your strengths, and then contemplate how you’ve used them from your perspective.

Next, take a free assessment​ to evaluate your character strengths.

From the VIA Institute on Character:

“Research tells us that individuals who use their character strengths lead happier, more satisfying lives. Only when you understand your unique character strengths can you begin to live a life that is engaging, exciting and rewarding to you.”

Again, share the insights you gain with people who know you. Ask them to share observations of when you’ve used these strengths.

Finally, assess what’s most important to you: your values. This brief exercise provides a third leg of the stool to have a source of pride in what makes you unique: your strengths, your character, and your values.

Our human tendency is to focus on what is wrong with us. When we focus on our assets, everything changes when we begin to appreciate what is right with us. We embrace our strengths, and hopefully start intentionally leveraging them!

All the best to you,


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