As I pushed open the door to the coffee shop, the familiar warm, comfortable aroma rushed past me into the cold. Seeing an empty table, I sat down facing the door.

I was watching for Ian Chisholm.

I knew his name from his work in leadership and mentorship with Roy Group. And I had met him one time previously when he led a workshop for Leadership Victoria. I had sought him out for this second meeting as part of my research into the powerful yet poorly understood psychological model of self-efficacy in the workplace.

I wondered where the conversation would go. Watching Ian pull out his fountain pen, I knew we had a commonality. There is nothing like writing with a fountain pen.

Our conversation ranged widely as we spoke of self-efficacy, high performers and the workplace.

“Can you explain the difference between these three words—self-esteem, self-confidence and self-efficacy—in a remembering way?” he asked.

In a remembering way.

I paused. And then: “Yes.”

  • Self-esteem is acknowledging your worthiness. You look at your pricelessness and cherish your inherent value.
  • Self-confidence is your trust in yourself that you will act in the right, relevant or reasonable way. To be secure in yourself and your abilities in various situations.
  • Self-efficacy is your belief in your capability to achieve the outcome you desire. It involves your inner belief that you can affect your actionability to actualize your goals.  

“When my teams work with leaders,” he said, “we often talk about Know, Be, Do. Is there a link here?”

Tossing the concept around, we recognized the yes as it emerged.

know I am enough. I am worthy and am of value in being me. (self-esteem)

I can be me because I trust myself and am secure in myself and my abilities. (self-confidence)

I can do because I know I have the actionability to produce a desire or intended outcome. (self-efficacy)

As you go into the workplace today, how can you synthesize these meanings of know, be, do into your workplace?