Creating Confidence is SIYLI

September 9, 2012

One of the best tools you can have in and out of the office is confidence. This doesn’t mean skipping down the halls singing “I’ve Got to Be Me” (though it might be fun to try it once, after business hours); it means being able to accept both our strengths and weaknesses without letting them hinder our success.


It sounds complicated, but really it’s just SIYLI. At Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute, we encourage you to develop both your emotional awareness and your self-assessment skills in order to gain confidence.

Emotional awareness is accurately perceiving emotions, knowing where they come from, and understanding how they affect behavior. Accurate self-assessment, in contrast, goes beyond the emotions felt and includes knowledge of yourself as a human being (if you’re another species reading this, we’re pretty confident it applies to you too).

Accurate self- assessment builds on emotional awareness. Self-assessment asks questions like: What are my strengths and weaknesses? What are my resources and limitations? What matters to me?

Emotional awareness also has direct implications on our self-motivation. We can best motivate ourselves by aligning what we do with our innermost values, and strong emotional awareness gives us conscious access to those values.

Emotional awareness may even have a direct impact on the bottom line. Organizational psychologists Dr. Cary Cherniss and Dr. Robert Caplan reported that teaching emotional awareness skills to financial advisors at American Express Financial Advisors resulted in more revenue per advisor. Those financial advisors learned to identify their own emotional reactions in challenging situations and became more aware of unproductive self-talk that led to self-doubt and shame.

You can achieve this too. When a project misses the mark or you face a disappointment, instead of dwelling on failure, take a moment to assess the situation:

  • What were you feeling when working on the project?
  • What about after?
  • How can your values and skills help you improve on the next task you’re given?
  • What is the story you tell yourself when a project misses a deadline?
  • What values do you carry with you at work?

So how do you project confidence without egotism? By letting your ego be small and large at the same time. Think of self-confidence as the ability to be as big as Mount Fuji and as small as an insignificant grain of sand simultaneously. Using SIYLI you’ll be able to make your ego humble and unassuming so that you can focus on the person you’re interacting with, yet large enough that you won’t be intimidated by any person you’re talking to. Confidence is built from having everyone’s best interest at heart.

And if you can lead them all in a sing along of “I’ve Got to Be Me”, you’re well on your way.

SIYLI Suggestion: This week, take a moment to self-assess. Take a moment to really identify your key values.

Ask yourself what drives me? What do I fear? What do I respond to as a motivation (Yes, cookies count, but try to dig a little deeper)?