Do you want to know how to gain clarity on what you REALLY want in your career and in your life?
I am passionate about serving women and helping them build clarity, confidence, and commitment to achieving their unique career goals, and I want you to be happy, and successful, and experience less stress in the process.
I am the author of the best-selling Let Your Personality Be Your Career Guide, and I co-wrote (with Jack Canfield of Chicken Soup for the Soul® fame) the best-selling The Road to Success. I have also developed a completely personalized book, entitled The Book of YOU®, which helps individuals be happy, successful, and better understood in a variety of pursuits based on their unique personalities.
In this episode, I’ll explain the Know Thyself Process® and how it can help you find clarity what is important to you in your career with just 3 steps!
What you will learn from this episode:
  • Discover what the Know Thyself Process® is and how can you practice it
  • Learn more about the importance of voicing your thoughts to another
  • Learn the three powerful components that will help you get clarity
We do not really get clear about what is important to us until we voice this to another human being who knows and cares about us.
Dr. Sarah E. Brown
Valuable Free Resource:
Topics Covered:
02:50 – Sarah shares how she started her journey in helping women leaders find their calling
06:13 – What is the Know Thyself process and how can you start your self-discovery journey?
07:08 – The first component: Thoroughly assess yourself
08:50 – The second component: Innating your strengths
09:30 – The third component: Learn your motivational needs
11:36 – Grab a cup of coffee and check out Sarah’s website:
12:20 – Sarah describes how Abraham Lincoln used the power of voicing
13:35 – Why you should start incorporating the Know Thyself Process: You can get clear about what is unique about you, and explore what you want by just talking it out with someone who knows and cares about you.
Ways to Connect with Sarah E. Brown
Full Episode Transcript:
Dr. Sarah E. Brown 0:00
So, the paradox of the Know Thyself Process® is that you have to do it yourself. And you cannot do it alone.
Dr. Sarah E. Brown 0:16
Hello, everyone. Welcome to the KTS Success Factor Podcast for Women, where we talk about challenges senior female leaders face in being happy and successful at work. I’m your host, Dr. Sarah E. Brown.
Dr. Sarah E. Brown 0:35
The mission of this podcast is to bring proven ideas female business leaders can use to increase their capabilities, commitment, and confidence to achieve big goals and to be happy, successful, and stress-free in the process. Each episode introduces one actionable idea in 20 minutes or less, the time it takes for a morning workout, a normal commute, or lunch on the go. And the actionable idea for today is, “How to Gain Clarity About What You Want in Your Job or Career” with me, Sarah Brown. This is actually the very problem that launched me into the business I am running now.
Dr. Sarah E. Brown 1:20
You see, I have over 30 years of experience working for Fortune 500 companies. Most recently, I was managing director at Accenture, one of the largest consulting and outsourcing companies in the world. I helped some of the biggest companies with talent management solutions to attract and engage their workforces, like recruiting, training and development, and performance management. In the last five years of my career, I noticed a very pervasive problem, mostly among mid-career professional women. This was not just in one company, and it was not culture-specific. I noticed this problem inside my own company, with my clients, and in my networking and professional organizations as well. See if you don’t start nodding your head as I describe this. See if you don’t know someone, maybe even yourself in this situation. So many of these women were in the wrong jobs, and they were miserable. And when I interviewed them, they could tell me they were miserable. They had blank looks. They were definitely sad! But when I asked them what job would be better, they could not describe the ideal job, or even the few changes to their current job that would make it a joy to come into every day. Did you find yourself nodding your head as I described this?
Dr. Sarah E. Brown 2:50
One night in 2012, I was at dinner and talking about this with my husband. And I said, “You know, if these women don’t know what they want, they’re unlikely to get it! So, they’re sentencing themselves to a lifetime of drudgery at work.” My husband’s reply startled me. “Do you have what you want?” I had no reply because the truth is, back then, I did not know. By all external accounts, I was successful. I was in the top 10% of leaders at one of the largest companies in the world. I was making a lot of money, but I was also exhausted all the time. I cannot say that I got up in the morning, excited to go to work. I just did it because that’s what I was supposed to do. I kept thinking about this problem in my own situation. And then, I noticed that some of the women I was serving were getting out of that rut. They were making changes, some big, some small, to be happier and more successful. I discovered that these were the women who were hiring coaches. So, I wondered what were these coaches doing.
Dr. Sarah E. Brown 4:10
As I studied this more, I realized these coaches were helping their clients get in touch with what made them unique. The coaches were supporting their clients in making changes to use more of their strengths and pursue more of their interests. And here’s the real kicker– those who were becoming happier in their current jobs were also becoming more successful in their own eyes and the eyes of others as well. It was time I sorted this out for myself once and for all, so I hired a coach for myself. But the hard work of uncovering my uniqueness was still to be done, and I had to do that myself even though I had hired a talented coach. With the help of a really good personality assessment, I was able to zero in on my unique interests, strengths, and needs. With this knowledge, my coach was then able to support me in making the career decision to retire early and focus on research, writing, and teaching– all my interests and strengths. So, I retired early in 2014, to focus my passions and my strengths on this problem, supporting mid-career professional women with proven tools to clarify what they want and to move forward on getting it. Now, my days are a lot more joyful and certainly less stressful. I was fortunate I could afford to get a coach. But a lot of the women I was observing and want to serve cannot afford a professional coach. So coaching is not what I do exclusively. I would rather provide tools that help you get clear on what makes you unique, and then arm you with the process for translating that into goals that build on that uniqueness. I call this “self-coaching”.
Dr. Sarah E. Brown 6:13
You can uncover what is unique about you and translate that into career success by following a simple three-step process I call “the Know thyself Process”. One, know. Get a little bit of information about your interests, strengths, and needs. Two, test. Share this with someone who knows and cares about you, and who can help you think through what you can do with this information to increase your happiness, success, or sense of being understood. And number three, go. Take some action with this tested knowledge. The trick, of course, is coming up with that little nugget of knowledge about your interests, strengths, and needs to get this process started. And that’s what I’m going to focus on primarily in this episode.
Dr. Sarah E. Brown 7:08
I think a good assessment is the fastest way to go about generating this knowledge. But here are a few things you can do on your own. For your interest, these are the things that you love to do on a day-in and day-out basis. Do you like the outdoors? How much activity do you want? Do you like to work with your hands? Do you want to spend time directly helping or influencing others– things like that. The best source of this information is yourself. And you can make a great start at this by just spending an hour writing down what you were doing when you believe you were the happiest.
Advertisement 7:52
Hi, this is Sarah Brown, again, the host of the KTS Success Factor Podcast for Women. I hope you are enjoying this episode and gaining some tips and inspiration on how you can be happier, more successful, and experience less stress at work. If you would like to learn more about how you can empower the women in your organization to do the same, simply click on the show notes to see how you can connect with me. As an added bonus for my podcast guests, you will see how you can book 30 minutes with me to explore how you can implement a scalable self-coaching program for the women in your organization. Simply visit Now back to this informative episode!
Dr. Sarah E. Brown 8:50
The next component is your innate strength. What are you really good at? I find that the best way to answer this question is to ask someone else. My experience is that many people have a very jaded view of their own gifts. For example, they think they are empathetic, but others do not perceive it that way. Or they don’t think they’re good at public speaking but others think they are amazing. So, ask someone who knows you, “When I was at my best, what was I doing? And what strengths did you observe?” Keep quiet and just take notes.
Dr. Sarah E. Brown 9:30
The third component is your motivational needs. I think this is the hardest component to do without an assessment, but you can start by examining a time you felt great stress. What did you need when you felt that stress? For every answer you write down, ask why five times. You will begin to get underlying motivational needs or more. Let’s take for an example that I think to say out of stress, “I need a guaranteed income of $75,000 a year.” Why? “Because I need to live in a safe house, drive a reliable car, and get routine health care.” Why? “Because I worry about my personal safety. And I will focus on that if I feel there is any risk to it.” Why? “Because I am not good at last-minute problem-solving. And I need to do everything possible to prevent problems rather than having to solve them at the last minute when they arrive.” Why? “Because I’m afraid there will not be enough money to take care of me in my old age.” Why? “Because I have an underlying fear of being alone and living under a park bench.” Now, that’s example was not really about me, but some of the fears and needs are really mine. If I examine all the whys, I see that having money in the bank and minimizing surprises and problems that required rushed attention can help to minimize my stress. Do not infer from this that everyone is like me in this regard. Some people not only experience no stress but actually thrive on last-minute crises. And many people live quite happily with little financial reserves. That’s just not me! We just need to know what is true for us and what minimizes our own stress, and this is a good way to get started.
Dr. Sarah E. Brown 11:36
If you want more help to get clear about your interests, strengths, and needs, you can go to my website, When you sign up for my newsletter, you will be able to download a chapter from my book, Let Your Personality Be Your Career Guide. It has more exercises to help you do just that! But now I want to talk about what you do with this. I want you to go talk with someone about what you’ve learned, and what this means for you. Why? Because we do not really get clear about what is important to us until we voice this to another human being who knows and cares about us. This is the tough step.
Dr. Sarah E. Brown 12:20
So let me tell you a story to illustrate this. It was 1862, the US was divided. In fact, it was at war with itself. President Abraham Lincoln wanted to advance the cause of freeing the slaves and hold the country together. And he had some big choices to make in terms of what to do next, even what he wanted to do next. So, as he’s contemplating this situation, he calls a friend of his, Leonard Switt, to come to the White House and meet with him in the Cabinet Room. There, they are sitting together and Lincoln is talking about a potential Emancipation Proclamation, what could be in it, how it would be worded, what territories of the country to include, the timing, all of these things. And at the end of hours of this dialogue, Lincoln said, “Thank you, I have my answer. And you’re going to have to go now because I have a Cabinet meeting.” Leonard Switt reported after he walked out of that cabinet room that he had never, ever said a word.
Dr. Sarah E. Brown 13:35
That’s the power of voicing what we want or thinking of doing to another human being. I don’t know exactly how this works. But I do know that it does. There’s something very powerful about saying these things, these kinds of things, out loud to another human being. And I bet, if you think about your own situation, you’ve had numerous incidents where something came out of your mouth when talking with a friend, and you thought, “I wonder where that came from, but it is true for me.” Or you had an experience where you got really clear about something when talking it out to someone else. So, when you share this with someone you have designated, share what you learned about your interests, strengths, and needs and what you think that means in terms of your job or future jobs. For example, if you have a high interest in the outdoors, and you have a complete inside job– what does that mean? Maybe there are even some things you can do right now to be able to get more of that interest satisfied, like moving your desk closer to a window or eating lunch outside. You’re not acting on any of this, you are just thinking about it out loud and testing it with another human being. So, the paradox of the Know Thyself process is that you have to do it yourself, and you cannot do it alone. If you have that kernel of knowledge to start with, and some good questions, you can have many of the benefits of a coach without hiring one. You can get clear about what is unique about you, and explore what you want by just talking it out with someone who knows and cares about you, and it gets even better if you arm that person with some strategic questions to ask you back.
Dr. Sarah E. Brown 15:32
More about that and the final step of the Know Thyself process in another episode. But for now, you can just focus on these three things that are unique to you– your interests, your strengths, and your needs. You will, then, know what gifts you have to serve the world. You can take a start at translating these into goals that are unique to you. You can even make those small changes to be happier, more successful, and experience less stress in the job you’re in right now. And following this process can take more like 30 days than the 30 years it took me.
Dr. Sarah E. Brown 16:15
Thanks for listening to the KTS Success Factor Podcast for Women. If you like what you’re hearing, please go to iTunes to subscribe, rate us, and leave a review. And if you would like more information on how we can help women in your organization to thrive, then go to You can sign up for our newsletter, read show notes and learn more about our podcast guests, read my blog, browse through the books or contact us for a chat. Goodbye for now.

Leave a Reply