Over time, I have come to gain an in-depth understanding of how I’m wired. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t know ALL there is as I still struggle to grasp my reactions to certain stimuli. What understanding I do have has come from a myriad of sources from formal assessments (recommendations at the end of this post) to just good ole time on the planet. And what’s amazing is that with greater understand comes greater confidence.

My friends over at dictionary.com define confidence as: full trust; belief in the powers, trustworthiness, or reliability of a person or thing.

Confidence to me is being able to walk into a given situation and believe you will succeed ahead of time. Confidence puts a swagger in your step and it allows you to hold your head up high. It also helps to calm nerves and allows for clearer thought and action.

How confident are you overall? If you either don’t know or score yourself on the lower end of the scale, let me suggest spending some time learning about yourself. There are a few things you are going to have to do before you can start this process.

  1. Commit | Self discovery takes time and effort. You can either look at it like a bunch of work or you can see it as a means to the end that will make life less stressful.
  2. Student’s mindset | Humans are the most complex organisms ever to be conceived and the depth of complexities that make us who we are dictate that we become students. Be on the lookout for new discoveries and take time to ask (and answer) the “what, why, how” questions. For example:
  1. “Why did I react that way to that situation?”
  2. “What emotions were stirred in me just now and why?”
  3. “Do my childhood experiences have anything to do with how I look at the world?”
  4. “Is that good or bad or neither?”
  • Right Heart | This journey is best started when your goal is to gain a better understanding of your design for His purposes, not your own. Discovering how you were made and connecting that with for whom you were made will provide the “wow’s” and “aha’s” and those lead to greater satisfaction and consequently confidence.

So, now what you ask…

Start with an personal assessment and ask (and answer) these questions. Go ahead and write out your answers:

  • If money, time and resources were unlimited, what would I do with my life?
  • What am I getting paid to do that I would do for free if money weren’t an option?
  • What type of people do I get along with most?
  • Where are my blind spots?
  • What makes me the maddest and why?
  • What makes me the happiest and why?
  • What is my favorite holiday and why?
  • If you were to write a book, what would it be about?
  • What is your favorite thing about your mate/date/sibling/parent?

The list can go on and on and hopefully you get the gist. Basically, you are trying to get a handle on passions, beliefs and strengths. You will see themes emerge – that’s good…take good notes.

Now, we want to take advantage of some wonderful objective assessment tools to continue to clarify the picture. Understand, you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting an assessment tool. Some good, some not and they all measure slightly different things. What you want is to discover two major categories (three if you are a Christian*).

  • Strengths (natural talents, abilities, etc.)
  • Personality
  • Spiritual Gifts*

Use the questions above to find your strengths – be honest and remember, this is for you, not anyone else.

For personality, I’ve not found none more comprehensive than Servants By Design. My friend Bob Maris and Taibi Kahler developed this assessment tool decades ago and it has been used by NASA to form mission teams, in the public school system to help teacher/student interactions and in the Christian church to assist people in finding the most fulfilling type service, even marriage and parenting. It is very accurate and complete.

Others include DISC, Meyers Briggs, IDAC, and others. The point is that life is perceived based on your personality and experiences. Gaining understanding about your personality gives you the tools to decipher what is happening on the inside, which in turn helps to shape future decision-making. Additionally, the more you understand about your personality, the better you will be at understanding those around you, which can be very useful in communication, conflict resolution and other areas of life.

Spiritual Gift inventories are probably most readily available at your church and your pastor should be able to help you with that request. If you don’t have a church or would rather do one online, I have discovered THIS ONE and it seems fairly thorough.

Simply put, confidence comes from within and is tied to the degree to which you can honestly and gratefully embrace who you really are.