Karin’s Leadership Articles

A guest post from LGL tribe member, Tom Eakin, about confidence, resilience, and the courage to keep going.

As a U.S. Army Ranger-qualified Combat Engineer Officer, I learned how to find the confidence and conviction to do what it took to accomplish the mission even when it was really hard…especially when it was really hard.

Later, I applied what I’d learned in the corporate environment. I developed a values-based approach that helped my team increase performance by over 300% and was awarded at the highest level by my company.

Two years later, I was fired.

Even though I had proven my values-driven approach increased employee engagement, I was doing something others just weren’t ready to try to understand. Something was missing in the translation.

Why Confidence Can Be Good

Decision-making is the most critical aspect of achieving success: A decision precedes every act. Everything we do leads to what we have, and will, become.

Confidence comes from past successes and learning. Our experience teaches us we can be successful. We need confidence to make decisions in uncertain situations.

The Problem with Confidence

But… we can become lazy in our confidence. Relying more on what experience has taught us and ignoring relevant facts can trick us into thinking that just because something worked in one situation, it will work in another.

My own confidence proved to be deceptive as I tried to expand my values-driven approach beyond my span of authority.

Confidence can leave us without a solid foundation in times of failure.

If I ONLY had confidence to rely on as I introduced my new concept to the world, I would have quit long ago.

Where Conviction Fits In

Conviction comes from what you believe and compels you to inspired action.

While it was difficult for me to reconcile the organizational success I’d created with the personal result I’d reaped by getting fired, I believed in my new approach. I forged ahead. I developed “GPS Theory” and launched BoomLife.

Conviction has driven me past the frustrating failures and entrepreneurial loneliness that come with creating something that is not yet commonly understood.

The Challenge with Conviction

It’s very easy to inappropriately apply conviction to the means instead of the end.

When I launched the “GPS Theory” application on my website, people didn’t interact with it as I had expected. If all of my conviction was focused on this tool I would have given up. Instead, I realized I needed to find different ways to present the concepts behind “GPS Theory” in order for others to recognize its real value.

Find the Perfect Blend

Confidence and conviction are not mutually exclusive. You need confidence in what you’re doing, so you can repeat what works. You need conviction to compel you to keep moving forward even when things don’t go your way so you can find what works. You need to find the perfect blend to find values-driven success.

For more thought-provoking discussion on finding values-driven success, inspiring stories of people who’ve achieved it and strategies you can apply, read my new book, Finding Success: Get what you really want.

P.S. I receive dozens of inquires each day about guest posts. I welcome guest posts from those who have been active members of the LGL community (through comments and interaction with other LGL members) or who I have come to know personally and can ensure their message will resonate. If you have an important message to share, please start by getting engaged and involved.  This is a working community. We would love to hear your story.

Karin Hurt

Karin Hurt helps human-centered leaders resolve workplace ambiguity and chaos, so that they can drive innovation, productivity and revenue without burning out employees. She’s the founder and CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders, an international leadership development and training firm known for practical tools and leadership development programs that stick. She’s the award-winning author of four books including Courageous Cultures: How to Build Teams of Micro-Innovators, Problem Solvers, and Customer Advocates and Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results-Without Losing Your Soul and a hosts the popular Asking For a Friend Vlog on LinkedIn. A former Verizon Wireless executive, Karin was named to Inc. Magazine’s list of great leadership speakers. Karin and her husband and business partner, David Dye, are committed to their philanthropic initiative, Winning Wells – building clean water wells for the people of Cambodia.


  1. Lisa Hamaker

    Thank you Tom! I read this twice because there are so many great points. I especially love, “It’s very easy to inappropriately apply conviction to the means instead of the end.”

    It’s a great reminder for those situations of inappropriate application of conviction, as well as the idea of keeping our vision in mind at all times. I just wrote mine on a card and taped it to my monitor.

    I so appreciate your reminder that just because ideas are different than others does not mean they are wrong. I also got fired, mostly because I did things differently, and partly because I was not able to express the benefits and outcomes of my different ideas well. It’s one of the reasons I am passionate about marketing–which to me is expressing the value of the products and services of a company so that others understand. Then they can easily know if they resonate, or do not.

    • Tom Eakin

      Lisa, thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. Being able “to express the benefits and outcomes” of different ideas is extremely challenging when you’re doing something people don’t understand…yet…the only thing that will keep you going is conviction.

      Understanding why we want to share something with the world is most important to be willing to do what it takes to give people what they need, even when they think they don’t need it…or already have it.

      By the way, I especially appreciate that you read the article twice. It indicates you want to engage in things that make you think so you can digest what will nourish your heart and spirit rather than simply scan and regurgitate.

  2. Greg Marcus

    Excellent post Tom. I love your story, and your commitment to values leadership. In my experience, company values are in immovable object. We may have the ability to create a bubble of a different value system, but bubbles are unstable and isolated. I look forward to reading more from you.

    • Tom Eakin

      Thanks Greg.

      I really like your bubble metaphor, especially about how they’re unstable. In my book, I propose that external results (like rewards, status quo, and punishments) are temporal in nature and that we can’t control what we’ll get, when we’ll get it, and for how long it will last. Talk about unstable.

      We can control our decisions in any situation though. When we decide to personify our values despite the consequences, we’re choosing to take a step onto an eternally stable footing from which we can make our next decision.

      In my workshops, I often challenge people to provide me with one external result they view as the foundation of their success and that is both controllable and eternal in nature. Interesting conversations and great insights ensue as we logically eliminate their examples and reasons.

      Any takers?

    • Karin Hurt

      Greg, Great to hear from you. LOVE the metaphor of a bubble. Happy New Year.

  3. Terry D Kozlyk

    Enjoyed your article. For the past 10+ years I have been a proponent and studying confidence, being my answer to the 1 human attribute most important and paramount – confidence.

    We seldom, if ever, think of over-confidence being a problem. But easily, I guess it can make us stubborn and dogmatic.

    Many times I always find I bring to the table a lingering doubt or hesitation. I use to call it “insufficient confidence”. But perhaps it is fate’s 1 last attempt to prevent me from drowning myself in over-confidence.

    • Tom Eakin

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Terry. Yes, please, don’t drown! 😉

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