How Shifty Powers Regained Confidence, and How You Can, Too

A recent survey found that most Americans have trust in their government, despite the corruption and scandals rocking Washington. How can you restore confidence in your own life? This article will explain how to keep yourself on track while shifting into a more positive mindset.

The “my job has destroyed my confidence” is a common sentiment that many people have. The “Shifty Powers” article tells the story of how Shifty regained his confidence and how you can, too.

A soldier carrying rifle in woods.

The Powers family provided this photo.

Marcus Brotherton, author of three novels on the renowned soldiers of WWII’s Easy Company, including the recently published Shifty’s War, has written a guest piece for us.

Confidence may be a nefarious creature, hiding in plain sight throughout one’s life. No, it’s not something we inherit from our parents and never lose. It changes with time. Our self-esteem might plummet at the start or finish of a huge undertaking, when we’re scared or depressed, or after a setback like a failed relationship or business venture.

What should you do if you’re looking for confidence, especially if you’ve had it before and it doesn’t appear to be returning?

One man’s experience demonstrates that confidence may be rebuilt after it has been lost. Sergeant Darrell “Shifty” Powers began his career as a self-assured young man. Shifty, a founding member of the Band of Brothers, was one of just two men in an exclusive company of 140 troops to earn the title of “skilled marksman.” Shifty’s self-assurance was unrivaled when it came to shooting firearms and hitting exactly what needed to be struck.

Yet, near the conclusion of HBO’s Band of Brothers miniseries, when the men are seen reflecting on their experiences, Shifty (the actual guy, not the actor) says something startling:

“You believed you could do anything. But after the war ended and you returned home, you lost a lot of it. At least, that’s how I felt. I’d lost a lot of faith in myself.”

I just finished a biography of Shifty Powers. I talked with Shifty before his death in 2009 at the age of 86, as well as interviewing people who knew him best and studying countless recordings of his tales as part of my research. Shifty was undeniably a self-assured guy towards the end of his life. Later in his career, he hung out with Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, went on USO tours across the world, and signed autographs for lengthy lines of admirers. But his self-assurance went beyond such indicators.

A biker gang once rolled up to Shifty’s farm in rural Virginia and started raising Cain. Shifty, then elderly and alone with his wife, climbed to the middle of the motorcyclists’ celebration, put out their fire with a stick, and ordered them to nicely push off in Walt Kowalski style.

The bikers were obedient. How’s that for audacity?

Consider the following three strategies Shifty took to rebuild his confidence, and how they may relate to our lives today:

Older man wearing military uniform. The Coalfield Progress provided this image.

1. Shifty went to the office.

At the conclusion of the war, Shifty was gravely injured in a bus accident. He went back to work as soon as he got home and recovered. That meant working as a machinist for a coal mining firm for Shifty. He thrived there, despite the fact that his work wasn’t very impressive. He spoke about how his days were filled with a feeling of purpose, achievement, and order because to his employment.


Shifty realized that if he shrank back, he wouldn’t be able to restore his confidence. When he purposefully walked forward and participated in the activity at hand, he gained confidence. We are in the same boat. Going to work and staying at work requires courage, but it is necessary for our security.

2. Shifty returned the favor.

When Shifty heard that some veterans were experiencing difficulties, such as drinking too much or destroying bars, he became concerned. “I didn’t want to wind up like one of those sad-stories,” he said.

Shifty began teaching high school basketball and neighborhood Little League to find a new sense of purpose. When he coached, he realized that his mind was at ease. His concentration was fixated on the game and on something positive.

For decades, Shifty coached boys’ teams. He recounted how he could deliberately urge his thoughts to travel in the same way as his feet when he wanted to move his feet in a positive manner. We are in the same boat. We discover new horizons of security whenever we give back.

3. Shifty turned his house into a safe haven.

Soon after Shifty returned from the war, he borrowed his father’s automobile and drove 15 minutes to meet a buddy. However, before arriving at his destination, Shifty made a U-turn on the highway and returned home. His younger sister, who was perplexed, approached him in the front yard.

Shifty remarked that he had not yet gained enough distance from the horrors he had seen during the battle. He didn’t want to give up the sense of safety he had at home, even if it was only for a short trip down the road.

Shifty formed a life pattern of drawing strength from home, even though he finally recovered his capacity to travel freely in and out of the family setting. He seldom traveled outside of his little community, with the exception of a few years spent working in California and his service in the war. It was a part of the answer for him. He cherished the life he had built for himself, which included a family, a house, and hunting and fishing as pastimes. That feeling of safety helped him regain his confidence.

There had to be other ways for Shifty Powers to restore his confidence, and other ways for any guy. However, in Shifty’s case, the foundations are all in place. Go ahead, not back, if you want to rebuild your confidence. Instead of being idle, try to find something to do. Make a safe haven for yourself and rejuvenate there.

If a motorcycle gang pulls up on your land to party, take the largest stick you have and go straight towards the fire.


Have you ever experienced a loss of confidence after leaving the military or as a result of another transition or challenge? How did you regain your self-assurance?



“Loss of confidence with age” is something that many people have experienced. This article will tell you how Shifty Powers regained confidence, and how you can, too. Reference: loss of confidence with age.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why did they let Shifty Powers go home?

A: They let him go home, because he is a huge jerk and enjoys bullying people.

Is Shifty Powers still alive?

A: Shifty Powers is alive, but he has not had any interactions with other users.

Who played shifty in Band of Brothers?

A: David Schwimmer played, but it was actually Richard Thomas.

Related Tags

  • lost my confidence and personality
  • i lost my confidence and self-esteem
  • lack of confidence at work examples
  • band of brothers shifty” powers
  • loss of confidence and anxiety