This post is part of our Monthly-ish Tips series.

It’s a lot easier to be yourself

Bring to mind someone you know who’s confident without being arrogant, humble yet not overly self-deprecating, and generally enjoyable to be around. What is it that we universally admire about people with these traits? This week’s tip answers the question and helps us all be a little more like them.

In short, what sets these people apart is their comfort in their own skin. They’re at ease with who they are and who they aren’t. They know how to bring out their positive traits and make up for their weaknesses, when needed. They’re effective. Likable. Real.

Most people get this way by investing in knowing themselves and accepting themselves.

While I don’t have a magic elixir for self-acceptance (working on it), I can offer some thoughts on ways to know yourself better. Knowing yourself paradoxically helps you lower your self-orientation, which improves your ability to connect with others—an essential dimension of trusted advisorship.

Here are three ways to know yourself a little better, reprised from The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook:

  1. Look inward. There are lots of assessment tools to help you profile yourself. Use them all, with fervor. Discover your values, preferences, strengths, and weaknesses.
  1. Turn blind spots into insights. Ask for feedback—either formally or informally. This helps you see yourself as others do.
  1. Experiment regularly. Over time, we all develop habitual ways of thinking, doing, and being. Some are productive; others are limiting. Move away from the familiar and comfortable. Test out new skills, experiences, and relationships on an ongoing basis.

One of my favorite sections in co-author Charlie Green’s solo book, Trust-Based Selling, is the one dedicated to the Oscar Wilde quote, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”

It’s a lot easier to be yourself when you know who you are: the good, the bad, the ugly. Play to your strengths, manage your deficits, and in the process become more and more like those people you admire so much.

Make It Real

This week, begin a seven day experiment to boost your trustworthiness. Focus on one dimension of the trust equation (credibility, reliability, intimacy, or low self-orientation) and take small steps to build a new habit.

Learn More


Use our worksheet to plus-up to a 30-day experiment, or find other simple tips for looking inward in Chapter 10 of The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook.


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Andrea Howe

As the founder of The Get Real Project, I am the steward of our vision and our service offerings, as well as a workshop leader and keynote speaker. Above all else, I am an entrepreneur on a mission: to kick conventional business wisdom to the curb and transform how people work together as a result. I am also the co-author, with Charles H. Green, of The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook (Wiley, 2012).