The Truth About Self-Assurance


What Is the SELF-ASSURANCE Theme

Those with Self-Assurance are the people in our lives who have an innate and enduring awareness of who they are and what they are capable of achieving.  It does not mean that know everything or that their lives are cake-walks; instead it means that they are comfortable piloting their own lives, making decisions, taking action, and owning the responsibilities as well as the outcome.  In a phrase: They are confident in their own skin.  They are not trying to be or please anyone else.  They see themselves clearly and, importantly, they can deliver results that accurately and objectively reflect their self-perception.  That is to say that they are who they think they are—they can walk their talk.  This makes them natural and inspiring leaders, guides, and trailblazers.  They are at home making important decisions, which they base on their own observations, experience, and deep knowing.  In fact, they have seemingly limitless faith in themselves and their own abilities to navigate the world.  Autonomy is key to them, a source of life.  By constantly bringing out the best in themselves, people with Self-Assurance bring out the best in us and in the world.

Why Should We Care

They are resilient people who have an intuitive way of bouncing back after an upset or moving forward despite the odds—and they teach the rest of us how to do the same.  They are instructive and inspiring to others, simply by how they live and interact.  They provide a concrete and consistent model of how developing an inner-awareness is essential to thrive.  People with Self-Assurance actually seek out challenges that put themselves to the test—always fine-tuning along the way in an effort to ensure their success, progress, and personal evolution.  They can often do what most people cannot or will not.  When it comes to working with others, they are generally motivating and respectful, and they often have a highly developed sense of tact, which can be very charismatic.  So, while they are high-achieving, they do not generally steamroll others, preferring to avoid conflict, confrontation, and power-struggles, if possible.  That said, they also don’t look for buy-in or consensus before moving forward, either.  If they know what they want to do and feel that it’s right, they move ahead and take action confidently—they don’t need the approval of other people to get moving and they are comfortable going it alone.  An awareness of the fact that each person perceives and experiences the world differently is central to their world view, which is why they are not concerned with getting complete cooperation before taking action.  They remind us of our sovereign agency and personal power to create change in our lives.  They inspire us to truly go for it.

Ten Things to Know About People with SELF-ASSURANCE

1. Awareness. Self-Assurance is about more than simple confidence.  It’s about self-awareness—folks with this strength know what they are capable of, to be sure; but they are also aware of what they are incapable of—what they cannot do, too.  And, they are comfortable with it.  They are not into peacocking or appearances, they like what is real—a Strengths-mindset naturally makes sense to them—so, they are at ease letting someone else do what they cannot do.

2. Impact. They may become agitated or even depressed if they are feeling bored, confined, or limited, or if they are not living in the fullness of their potential.  They are here to contribute.  It may be personal or global, loud or quiet—either way, they are here to have an impact and will fight in order to leave their mark on the world.

3. Trust. When it comes to making decisions and taking action, sometimes they may need to say, “I just know.”  In these cases, they rely on others to trust them and their ability to deliver on what they know.  It can be difficult at times for them to truly articulate their vision or action-plan, as they can intuitively connect may dots in their minds.

4. Complexity. Their strength is more than simple sureness, and it is certainly not arrogance.  Instead, it is a type of multi-dimensional confidence based one part on gut and intuition, one part on experience, learning, and observation, and one part on natural instinct.

5. Early Adopters. People with Self-Assurance are often early adopters of new ideas, trends, and technology.  They seem to have a radar screen that picks up elements and decodes patterns to make order out of chaos, which can put them ahead of the curve.

6. First-hand. They are likely to be people who “learn by doing” as well as people who want to try things out for themselves before establishing an opinion or making an endorsement.  Cool and calm as they may be, they are, by nature, action oriented and want to experience the world with their own senses and see things with their own eyes.

7. Representation. Hollywood, television, and popular culture are prone to cookie-cutter archetypes of what Self-Assurance looks and feels like—at times glamorizing it as a type of macho coldness or robotic bull-headedness, when really, it’s purest form is rooted in deep intuitive awareness, which can be absolutely silent and warm-hearted.

8. Authenticity. Being genuine and sincere is very important to them.  And, this included being so with themselves.  They are not ones to be in denial or look away from a problem in their lives.  They also expect a level of openness and vulnerability from others—something that they can connect to on a deeper-than-surface level.

9. Personal Development. They have a natural inclination toward conscious personal development.  They like to be at the reins of their own lives and refuse to float for very long.  Don’t be surprised if they are constantly investing in some sort of self-improvement activity.

10. Love. They know it when they see it and they will likely be attracted to others who are ambitious, free-thinking, and self-made.  They are willing to be alone in lieu of having a superficial, artificial, or shallow connection with another person.  Love, for them, is likely about doing things together as opposed to planning or talking about doing things together.

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Zach Carlsen is the grateful lead blogger at

His strengths of Ideation, Connectedness, Input, Strategic, and Empathy have taken him all over the world.  He is an inventor, athlete, joyous wanderer/wonderer, translator, poet, and Gallup Certified Strengths Coach.

How People With Context See It


What Is the CONTEXT Theme 

Those with Context are the people in our lives who instinctively look to the past to understand the present.  For them, the here and now is simply and concretely the product of what has come before it.  In that way, the more information they have about what has been, the more deeply they can appreciate, know, and recognize the present.  Looking back is also how they plan for the future.  They believe that what we do in each moment is important because it will soon be the past we are looking back on.  So, “What happened last time?” can be a sacred question for them.  An awareness of the past allows them to honor it, learn from it, and avoid pitfalls.  The clearer their understanding of what the “before” was like, the more stable their present moment is.  And, consequently, the more confident they will feel about moving ahead.  The past, it seems, is perpetually creating the future—and, the now is simply how we get there.  People with Context remind us of this big idea: History repeats itself, generally.  So, if we want to create positive change—or if we, at least, want to avoid repeating mistakes—we must do so intentionally by being conscious of the past.  They remind us that everything we do causes a ripple in time and that every moment matters.

Why Should We Care

In times of chaos, discord, and dysfunction, and when things go off-course, people with Context provide stability and calm.  Their minds naturally return to the preliminary plan, the original vision, and focus on the initial intent.  This can be liberating and inspiring because, in times of confusion, they remind us why we started in the first place.  It is natural for them to see the underlying structure of the world and to remember how things were.  When verbalized, this looks a lot like teaching and can help others see and make sense of the world.  Their strength is one of history rather than theory.  This means that they generally know, with certainty, what has and has not worked; and if they don’t know, they are willing to do the work to find out.  In this way, they are people who build firm foundations.  More often than not, they have reputations for being reliable, straight-forward, and competent.  They also have good memories—for them, there is rarely a need to reinvent the wheel or to try a new approach “just because”—if something worked the last time, they are prone to stick with it.  Overall, people with Context are particularly good at keeping situations level and grounded.  They shed light on present progress by illuminating the ground we’ve already covered.  They unite us by bringing us back to our core, our roots. 

Ten Things to Know About People with CONTEX

1.  History.  They love the past.  Instead of feeling help captive, they feel liberated by it.  For them, history is a giant gift—it makes everything easier—because it makes the world a more manageable size.  We need not try and fail ourselves if someone else has already proven that there is a better way.

2.  Preambles.  Folks with Context often give the backstory before saying what they want to say.  It is important for them to feel like others know where they are coming from and why.

3.  Strategy.  They are people with clear intentions who prefer to know the plan in advance.  Even if it changes along the way, they really like to know what the original blueprint, design, or gameplan was

4.  Cherry Picking.  While they can seem overly cautious at times, their perspectives are largely positive.  They want to make the present more fully alive and relevant by evoking the past.  In a way, their plans are built around only the best of the past and their actions are founded in a knowledge of and appreciation for what works. 

5.  Accepting.  People with Context have a knack for understanding where people are coming from.  They can quickly connect the dots to determine why a person might be acting or interacting in a certain way.  For this reason, they can remain authentically objective, even during intense exchanges, and they don’t generally take things personally.

6.  Patterns.  They are incredibly good at identifying patterns accurately.  It isn’t likely that they will spend time trying to find what isn’t there.

7.  Proof.  They are particularly fond of empirical evidence and concrete proof.  It is easier for them to form the basis of their worldview around things that are solid, tangible, and repeatable.  The “scientific method” is of particular relevance to them.  

8.  Unease.  Being self-aware, they will make every effort to lead with intention and to act with purpose.  For them, it is important to always know what they are doing and why they are doing it.  Without that clarity they can feel very uncomfortable, even anxious.  Lack of direction can easily fill them with existential dread.

9.  Change.  Even though they admire the past, they are not stuck in it.  In fact, they can be enthusiastic early adopters of innovation because their radars are sharp and can identify upcoming trends and anticipate needs based on similar cycles of change in the past.

10.  Love.  Because they naturally look back, they feel strongly connected to others with whom they can reminisce.  Conversations in which they relive joyful, passionate, or exciting moments can feel deeply nourishing to them.  They enjoy the process of creating meaningful memories.

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Zach Carlsen is the grateful lead blogger at

His strengths of Ideation, Connectedness, Input, Strategic, and Empathy have taken him all over the world.  He is an inventor, athlete, joyous wanderer/wonderer, translator, poet, and Gallup Certified Strengths Coach.