Self-Assurance, Last on the List of Strengths…Really?!


Imagine awakening each morning with a deep knowing – confidence in your ability to manage your own life – that you possess an inner compass that affirms the decisions you make throughout the day are the right ones.

That would be a reassuring feeling, wouldn’t it?

Why Does Self-Assurance Rank Last on the List?

Self-Assurance® is the talent theme described above and identified by the Clifton Strengths Assessment®. The assessment identifies 34 distinct talent themes and ranks them according to dominance.

Everyone has the talent of Self-Assurance – but only 900,000 of the 20 million plus who have taken the assessment have it in their top 5 strengths. In a global ranking of all 34 talent themes, Self-Assurance is last on the list.

Perhaps the reason Self-Assurance ranks so low is that as a global population, knowledge of self is a rare attribute. Bombarded by images and sound bites every day of how others act and behave, it is easy to see how one can be whip-sawed into a diminished view of the ability to make decisions that are uniquely appropriate for one’s self. One’s own uniqueness can get lost in the sea of everyone’s uniqueness.

Self-Assurance Represents a Journey of Self-Discovery

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Self-awareness is something each person must work to discover. One of the quickest ways to get a read on self is through a personality assessment. It’s key to work with a trained facilitator of the assessment to develop a true understanding of your results.

Without this support, the results of the assessment are likely to be reviewed once, filed and only minimally utilized. With a rare talent such as Self-Assurance, that could be detrimental.

Left unidentified and misunderstood, those high in Self-Assurance can be perceived by others as:

  • Arrogant
  • Self-righteous
  • Over-confident
  • Stubborn

The Positive, Confident Side of the Spectrum

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An encounter with someone high in this rare talent may cause one to think that the person also knows what is right for us. For an individual whose assessment results show Self-Assurance in the dominant talents, the initial reaction can be denial.

The word “self” implies a focus only in the interest of that person. It leads to a broad categorization of “not interested in others” and “self before others.”

But that only considers one-half of the descriptor – the self and not the assurance!

On the flip side, when productively applied, Self-Assurance appears as:

  • Self-confident
  • Strong inner compass
  • Risk-taker

Self-Assurance Brings Confidence to the Table

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That is another key part of the definition of self-assurance: it applies to decisions made about oneself.

When you look at the world, you know that your perspective is unique and distinct. And because no one sees exactly what you see, you know that no one can make your decisions for you. No one can tell you what to think. They can guide. They can suggest. But you alone have the authority to form conclusions, make decisions, and act. This authority, this final accountability for the living of your life, does not intimidate you. On the contrary, it feels natural to you. No matter what the situation, you seem to know what the right decision is.

While perhaps intimidating at times to be around, the presence of someone productively high in Self-Assurance may help others tap into their own built-in compass. It brings confidence to decisions made and inspires others to follow.

Couple Self-Assurance with Other Talents for a Winning Combo

Self-Assurance most frequently appears with the theme of Strategic, defined as:

People especially talented in the Strategic theme create alternative ways to proceed. Faced with any given scenario, they can quickly spot the relevant patterns and issues.

Coupling the two provides a flexibility around decision-making with a confidence to move forward.

Self-Assurance appears least often with Developer and Empathy, two talents with a strong focus on identifying with others.

People especially talented in the Developer theme recognize and cultivate the potential in others. They spot the signs of each small improvement and derive satisfaction from these improvements.

People especially talented in the Empathy theme can sense the feelings of other people by imagining themselves in others’ lives or others’ situations.

A person strong in Self-Assurance can benefit from the input of those high in Developer or Empathy. These two talents can serve to moderate the impact of Self-Assurance for those less assured of their decision-making capability. They can also provide feedback on the perception of the confidence yielded by those high in Self-Assurance.

Where does Self-Assurance rank for you? Find out by requesting access to the Clifton Strengths Assessment® at

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