Strengths and Concrete Actions

ChalkLifeEDITJanuary 25, 2016

A concrete object is anything that is tangible, material, and real to the senses. Things that can be touched, seen, heard, smelled, and tasted are generally concrete objects.

Concrete actions, then, are those activities that we can perform or observe that are definable and measurable, things that have a process and an intended result in the real world.

It boils down to doing as opposed to saying as well as intention. Saying that we will do something is not an action at all, much less a concrete one.

The fastest way to make positive and lasting change is to define the type of results we are after and then to consider which concrete actions will get us there.

The types of actions that we chose to take (or not to take) are general indicators of our strengths. Someone who is naturally deliberative will take time to weigh the options and make an informed decision because, for them, the value is in “measuring twice, cutting once.” Contrarily, an activator is likely to dive right in and fine tune along the way—here, the value being in exploration, forward movement, and getting things going with a motto that sounds like this, “Fire, fire, fire, aim…”

In all cases, the actions that we take are reflections of who we are. When we focus on our strengths, and make decisions based on them, we are likely to take actions that are in our best interests as thriving, seeking, and wonderful human beings.

Here are THREE concrete actions to try out at the start of your week:

Desired Result: Starting the Day More Energized

Concrete Action: Morning Routine.

It’s easy to set an alarm the night before and guestimate how long it will take to get out the door the next morning. Being more intentional about that a.m. time and having a plan in place can allow you to hit the snooze button less and start the day off with more energy. Start with a single action and then add on new ones as it becomes a habit.

Here are five morning actions to take for increased energy, mix and match:

  1. Before even getting out of bed, stretch for three minutes like a cat, just let your arms, legs, and back guide you.
  1. Do a “brain dump”. Take a sheet of paper and just jot down all the words, ideas, commitments, thoughts, fears, hopes, details, and logistics that are floating around in your head.
  1. Pour yourself a glass of water and spend five minutes drinking it. With each sip repeat a positive word to yourself, like: love, joy, peace, grace, hope, and/or healing.
  1. Look in the mirror and tell yourself a few things that you love about your life. I love my job. I love my kids. I love my partner. I love my energy-level. Repeat your own list a few times while making eye-contact with yourself in the mirror. Do this for a full minute. Set your timer if you must.
  1. Set an intention for the day and outline three actions you can take to achieve that goal. For example, if you say, “Today I will remain focused on what needs to get done at work and I will keep a positive attitude while I do so,” then the actions that you outline might be, “I will make a to-do list and prioritize it. I will meditate over my lunch break. I will schedule five minuets to peck away at a project that I have been putting off.”


Desired Result: Getting More Done

Concrete Action: Plan it.

Print off a weekly calendar here and consider all of the basic things that you do on an average day. This means wake up, shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, check email, feed animals, drive to work, work, lunch, sleep, etc. Estimate how long each will take

Populate the weekly calendar with this data first; these are the parts of your day that are non-negotiable.

Now, look at the blank spots—for some there will be many, for others


Desired Result: Being More Present

Concrete Action: Breathing Breaks

Set three alarms on your phone that will go off at various intervals during the day. Let’s say 10 am, 2 pm, and 7 pm, for example. When these alarms go off, no matter where you are or what you are doing, take 1 minute of slow, deep breaths. As you do this bring your awareness back to the present and take a look around with all of your senses. Try to notice a few new elements of the space that you are in, be it indoors, outdoors, with people, alone, in public, or in private.

Be your greatness. Start. Do. Go.

Circle Photo

Zach Carlsen is the grateful lead blogger at

His strengths of Ideation, Connectedness, Input, Strategic, and Empathy have taken him all over the world. He is an inventor, athlete, joyous wanderer/wonderer, translator, poet, and Strengths Consultant.

Connect with him:


Twitter: @zstrengthslife

Facebook: Zachary Carlsen


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