What Happens When Woos Get Real


What Is the WOO Them

Those with the strength of Woo are the ‘people people’ in our lives.  They are, in a general sense, the classic extroverts of the world—the ones who talk to strangers everywhere they go, for example, and are energized by near-constant interaction for long periods of time.  While that is, in part, how they operate, the true spirit of the Woo goes much deeper; that is, they are not simply ‘outgoing’.  Instead, they are profoundly connected to the experience of meeting new people.  From there they establish rapport with them and then quickly work to develop a sense of flow and a feeling of friendship in their communication.  Woo is the only strength that is also an acronym, it stands for Winning Others Over, and it’s what they love to do.  They are deft conversationalists, intuitive listeners, and socially courageous people.  Even though they make it look easy, they enjoy the challenge of finding areas of mutual interest with others and, ultimately, becoming liked by them.  These are the people who make new friends while waiting for the elevator or standing in line at the grocery store; they are the ones who come home from their vacations with a phone full of new contacts.  It is simply their instinct to connect and they seem universally magnetized to others—they cannot help it and they cannot turn it off.  It is, in fact, energizing, refueling, and inspiring to them to meet someone who, the moment before, was an absolute stranger.  They remind us, in a way, that the world is as big or as small as we make it and that potential friends are everywhere if we choose to look for them by focusing on our similarities, not our differences

Why Should We Care

We can look to the Woos in our lives to show us how to keep an open mind socially, make the most of our interactions, explore new geographies, and intentionally seek out new experiences.  They have a generally contagious enthusiasm and can be the push we need sometimes to step out of our comfort zone when it comes to meeting new people.  They might be the life of the party or, in some cases, the ones who resuscitate it.  They never seem to run out of things to say or questions to ask—and their questions are generally solid and interesting.  In an effortless way, they draw people out, create an authentic point of shared interest, and dive in.  In short, they possess and expert level ability to connect with humans, plain and simple.  They are energized by the presence of others—the more the merrier mentality feels right at home with them.  And, meeting brand new people is particularly interesting to them, so we can count on them to break the ice and guide the mood and pace of first encounters.  Woos are somehow able to carry on three conversations simultaneously at a wedding reception with people they’ve only just met.  While interactions are sometimes brief, we walk away from conversations with them feeling like a real connection was established, a common ground was found, and that something dynamic and deeply human just occurred.

Ten Things to Know About People with WOO

1. Relationships. Woos may find that their connections to their significant others, BFFs, VIPs, and families actually deepen most through large group and social activities—as opposed to one-on-one scenarios.

2. Nature. If one were to compare them to a tree, folks with Woo have roots that naturally grow out as opposed to down—their networks generally grow wide as opposed to deep.

3. Presence. They love variety, and it is likely that they are keeping an eye on the entire room when talking to someone and gearing up for who they will talk to next before their current conversation is finished.  We are wise to learn to love them in this and not take it personally, because it is not personal, it is just who they are.

4. Compassionate Communication. They naturally understand the subtly and, therein, the power of tone in verbal conversation.  This makes them skillful and instinctive mediators, especially in tense and urgent situations.  In fact, they might really feel alive in the heat of disruption and chaos.

5. Novelty Seeking. Their drive for newness might not be limited to their interactions with people—Woos can be adrenalin junkies at heart who love a good thrill, a loud adventure, or an unexpected twist in the night’s activities.

6. Multitasking. They are great social multitaskers.  A Woo may effortlessly tell a joke, respond to a text message, and signal the waiter for the bill—all at once; they seem to always know the next right thing to say and have wonderfully evolved social instincts.

7. Stadiums. Crowds can be simultaneously enlivening and deeply soothing for them.  One of the ways that they feel connected to life is by being in the thick of things.  Getting swept up in the collective energy of a massive group can feel euphoric to them.

8. Inexhaustible. Being around others can be better than a cup of coffee for them.  Don’t be surprised if they choose to recharge their batteries after a long day with more social activity.

9. Talkative. They love to talk.  However, it’s generally not just to hear the sound of their voice, instead, Woos use conversation as a way of exploring possible points of connection.  They are, in that way, verbal processors, who experience a great portion of their lives through language and words.

10. Love. A grandiose gesture of affection every now and then is not likely to keep them feeling connected; daily activity and proactive interaction, however, will, as it gives them a sense of movement in their relationship.

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Zach Carlsen is the grateful lead blogger at StrengthsLife.com

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 Gallup Certified Strengths Coach.

The Truth About Restorative People


What Is the RESTORATIVE Theme

Restorative people are the ones in our lives who are naturally wired to identify a problem and then find its solution.  For them, it’s continuous and effortless—it’s a way of seeing the world—and their gears are always turning, asking, “How could this be improved?”  They are quick to assess situations and find what is working and, notably, what is not working.  At their core, they just love to solve problems.  It excites and fuels them to investigate, poke around, fix, and put action around better ways of doing things.  There is a specific creativity to their thinking in that they don’t generally produce brand new things, instead, they restore what already is.  This perspective extends to the whole world—including people, places, things, ideas, and systems.  Their focus is on making things better: discovering, resolving, guiding, and enhancing.  They are problem-identifying and solution-oriented—both—which means that don’t just point out what is broken, they fix it, too.  The problem itself is not where the value is for them: the solution is.  They have a definite worldview that is driven by curiosity and, ultimately, by an altruistic need to leave the world better than they found it

Why Should We Care

They are multi-dimensional, open-minded, and persevering people who see a type of potential in all that is and once was.  Their impulse is to return people, places, and things to relevance—restoring meaning and life to that which may have lost it.  They can put exact words around what is hanging up a situation; they can identify the particulars of the rut someone might be in in life; they can hone in on what is precisely going haywire.  In a concrete sense, they help us name the world’s problems—simple as that.  For, they see details that the rest of us cannot.  From there, they help us take action toward resolution and/or greater functionality, efficiency, and wellbeing.  Restorative people are gifted guides, generous advisors, and particularly honest collaborators.  With them, we can expect to go to the root of ideas, organizations, and systems and identify core causes.  They are highly aware and, in a way, have a huge capacity for compassion, in that their main and lasting focus is on improving conditions largely for all of us.

Ten Things to Know About People with RESTORATIVE

1. It’s Not Personal. For people with the strength of Restorative, it is simply their nature to notice where things are misfiring, broken, unaligned, and underperforming.  It isn’t personal, it just is.  For them, a problem means a solution, which is what really, truly lights them up.

2. Scrutiny. They bring their critical eye to everything they see and do—not to be rude, but because it’s how they understand the world.  It can seem like they are carefully inspecting even the most common objects and situations.

3. Misunderstood. Folks with this strength can be easily misunderstood—especially if this perspective is not developed intentionally.  Others can see them as nit-picky, negative, and disparaging, which is why it is powerful work for Restorative people to articulate the solution as well as the problem.

4. Authenticity. They hate to sugar-coat things.  For them, a problem is not a “bad” thing, in fact, it is a good thing because it opens the way to improvement.  So, they love to get straight to the point.

5. Sarcasm. Dark comedy and sarcasm generally resonate well with them.  They may even have a morbid sense of humor.

6. Obsessive. Once they’ve recognized a problem, they may not be able to do or concentrate on very much else until they’ve identified the solution.  They are generally not strangers to tunnel vision.

7. Mental Activity. Brainstorming can be incredibly life-giving to them, and it’s best when it has a practical bend to it.  Daydreaming or abstract ideating will not fill their cup the way solution-oriented thinking will.

8. Questions. They use questions as a way of deepening their understanding of a situation, which in turn deepens their ability to problem-solve.  At times, their line of questioning might seem strange, pushy, or mechanical; they are just looking for a way into the solution.

9. Seeking. Don’t be surprised if it seems like they might be seeking problems to solve.  It’s likely that they are.  The thing to remember, is that analyzing how the world might be made better is totally energizing, possibly even soothing to them.

10. Love. The world may have shut them down over time or degraded their view of things.  So, the phrase, “Can you help me with this problem?” may very well sound to them like “I see you, I respect you, and I, therefore, love you.”


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Zach Carlsen is the grateful lead blogger at StrengthsLife.com

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 Gallup Certified Strengths Coach.

What Includers Know About Everyone


What Is the INCLUDER Theme

Includers are the people in our lives who are naturally accepting of others and non-judgmental.  They have a keen awareness of who is and is not a part of things, and it is their instinct to draw others in.  Like a radar that is always turning, they are constantly mindful of the subtlest tones in human-to-human interactions and group dynamics.  In particular, they notice those who are being left out of activities, conversations, and social situations—especially those who are systematically or repeatedly neglected and excluded.  For them, the sayings “The more the merrier” and “If you have extra, build a bigger table” make complete sense.  They feel and understand that more can be accomplished together—win/win situations are their forte and they love it when everyone can benefit, not just a few.  In fact, everyone is a sacred word to them.  So much so that they are actually repulsed by individuals, groups, and institutions that are exclusive or exclusionary.  For an Includer, each person is important and intrinsically valuable, regardless of age, race, sexual identity, class, education, religion, or lack of religion.  We all matter, each of our voices deserve to be heard, and life is a process of coming together not apart.

Why Should We Care

They are first and foremost compassionate and deeply aware people who can put themselves and their egos aside and connect with virtually anyone.  Even if it takes a bit of effort on their part, they can make everybody feel important, visible, and accepted.  This means that Includers are great advocates for the voiceless, the marginalized, and the minority.  They naturally seek, see, and find the very best in others, which can be contagious, especially in business situations when the vibe feels negative.  They teach us how to love others for who they are, not what they have or appear to be.  We all have something to contribute, let’s start there—says the Includer.  They have an enlightened way of meeting others where they are at and then finding a place for them in the group or situation.  They are value seeking and, therefore, value finding.

Ten Things to Know About People with INCLUDER

1. Courage. Their drive to include others comes before all else, it is a way of life for them and they will act on it consistently.  This means that they are willing to step outside of their comfort zone over and over again to let others (even strangers) know that they are seen and that they matter.

2. Empathy. Many Includers have been on the other side—been excluded—so, for them, in a way, it is personal.  They know how it feels to be left out and instead of repeating the cycle, they interrupt it.

3. Distraction. They can, at times, be so caught up in the human element of situations that they lose sight of the rest—be it a project, a deadline, or a task.  This means that while an important conversation is going on about XYZ, they might be 100% focused by the person who was just dismissed or ignored.

4. The Work. They are generally emotionally evolved people who have put in the time and energy to grow as individuals.  Whatever form it takes, personal development is important to them.  It can give them to confidence to repeatedly step outside of themselves and their comfort zone to include others.

5. Overstepping. Their need to give everyone a voice, a chance, and/or a seat at the table may, from time to time, get them into trouble—especially when they choose to ignore the pecking order or break a rule or two so that someone is not left out.

6. Ideas. While their instinct is primarily centered around other people, they are also wired to notice when certain intangibles, like big ideas and facts, are being left out of the equation.

7. Injustice. Their response to hatred, violence, and systemic injustice (or any injustice) is likely to be extreme.  They generally feel such things viscerally in their bodies and can have a hard time letting them go.  It might even make them physically ill.  At their core, and often in their active lives, they are humanitarians.

8. Both Ways. Being and feeling a part of things is heaven for them, too.  Yes, they love to include others, but they also like to be deeply connected and involved as well.  When someone else—a fellow Includer—goes out of their way to include them, it can feel transcendent.

9. Snapping. What feels totally obvious to an Includer might not even register to someone else.  So, they may have a tendency to over-think things, like, for example, that a person is being intentionally left out.  When this happens, the Includer might give the group a piece of their mind and surprise everyone.

10. Love. Connection is big.  Being able to see eye-to-eye with others in a shared space of absolute vulnerability and safety is a major key to love for Includers.  They are likely attracted to others with compassion, tact, and deep awareness.

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Zach Carlsen is the grateful lead blogger at StrengthsLife.com

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 Gallup Certified Strengths Coach.


The Truth About Belief


What Is the BELIEF Theme

These are the people in our lives who operate from an unshakable space of deep knowing.  Those with the strength of Belief have core values, identifiable standards, and clear ideas when it comes to personal ethics, ideals, and universal principles.  This does not mean that they are smug or obtrusively virtuous—instead, it simply means that they have an inner GPS that they trust and follow.  Even when it’s unpopular, their beliefs carry them.  They are often courageous and self-assured people who are able to stand firm and stand up for what they know in their heart and mind to be true.  People with Belief have a solid sense of the world—maybe it’s simple, maybe it’s complex—either way, they operate confidently from that place all the time and, generally, don’t make excuses for it.  For them, there is such a thing as objective truth and it isn’t like them to overly justify their views, even if pressured or tested.  They are unwavering.  And, by simply living in this way, they challenge us all to look at ourselves and determine what is at our own core.

Why Should We Care

People with the strength of Belief are trustworthy, first and foremost.  Even if we might disagree with them, we can be certain that what we are seeing is what we are getting.  There is no front, no façade, no deceit, no ulterior motive.  They move about the world with a solid inner-compass—often one that they have built atom by atom, perfecting it with every experience—and, at times, they have an attitude of ‘take it or leave it’, which can be oddly inspiring.  When they act, we can be confident that they do so with purpose.  When it comes to teams and families, they can help us get unstuck because they naturally remind us of our shared belief and values.  In fact, their conviction is so deep and genuine that it is often contagious.  When it comes to sharing their beliefs, they have a natural charisma, which can draw people in magnetically.  In many cases, others will readily appreciate, accept, or adopt the ideas of a Belief person.

Ten Things to Know About People with BELIEF

1. Enduring. For someone with the strength of Belief, the map of the inner-world is drawn in ink, not pencil.  What they believe is not malleable or frail or subject to whim, fad or fashion.  What they believe is fixed, lasting, and non-negotiable.

2. Work. To do anything well, it must first matter to them—this is particularly relevant to their working lives.  In many cases, they are less concerned with fame and fortune than they are with doing work that is meaningful to them.

3. In vs. Out. Their inner-world plays an indispensable role in their behavior in the outer-world.  The two must align: what they believe and what they do.  They have a hard time ignoring their inner-voice.

4. Turmoil. Because of how stable they are in their own beliefs, they can act unintentionally as a lightning rod for the dysfunction and hypocrisy of others who, perhaps, are not as solid in their own core values.

5. Community. Often, but not always, these people are tribe/family-oriented, which means that they are loyal; they are also prone to acts of philanthropy as well as totally selfless acts of service.  At times they can even appear as martyrs.

6. Expectations. It is easy for people with the strength of Belief to assume that others, too, have the same guiding and steadfast way of being in the world.  Left unchecked, they can be easily dismayed, disappointed, and even offended.

7. Spirituality. The basic nature of their view is largely spiritual—not religious—and this means that they may not be able to explain their reasons for things.  For this, they are no strangers to altruism and responding “Because it’s right” might be totally acceptable to them no matter the cause.

8. Integrity. In the end, personal integrity is everything.  In many cases, they would rather be disliked than compromise their core knowing.  They do not mind being misunderstood, if it means doing what they feel and know is right.

9. Non-contradiction. There is a wholeness to their perspective, one in which a web-work of interlacing beliefs come together in ways where the one supports and shores up the other.  It is not likely that they hold two conflicting beliefs for long, if at all, ever.

10. Love. To those with Belief, love is likely something that needs to be seen, expressed, and felt in a consistent way.  For them, it is essential for the inner to align with the outer—and their inner-world is constant, unwavering, and true.  One-time shows of affection, generosity, or connection will not be enough to win them over.  They resonate and respond to what, too, is solid.


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Zach Carlsen is the grateful lead blogger at StrengthsLife.com

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 Gallup Certified Strengths Coach.

What Futuristic People Can Teach Us About Living Here and NOW


What Is the FUTURISTIC Theme

Futuristic people are the ones in our lives who naturally dwell in what is possible—their focus is on what could be, not on what is or what has been.  In their eyes, the horizon is the most important feature of any landscape, both inner and outer.  For them, the future is a source of life as well as a positively grounding force.  That is, they make sense of the present—the current moment—based upon a vision of what is to come.  Because their perspective centers around possibilities, there is an inextinguishable optimism in their thinking.  A situation that feels bleak to others may feel rich with opportunity to Futuristic folks.  The future is limitless, undifferentiated potential; it is the spring from which the present moment is constantly flowing.  The very idea of it is energizing.  So, one of their favorite questions is, “What if?”  And, they don’t like to stop there, instead they like to figure out how to turn a vision into a reality.  It is nourishing for them to bring an idea into such clarity that others, too, can see and experience it.  They can be tireless in their innovation, knowing that the world will never be “complete” but it can always be added to and explored further.  Through them, we have access to our own and the world’s untapped powers.  They meet us where we are and then push us to identify what and where we all could be.

Why Should We Care

These are the people who can see that which is on the horizon with vivid clarity.  Their instinct is to direct their gaze down the line to see and anticipate what is next; they are very good at predicting things.  So, when it comes to being both excited and prepared about what is to come, these people show us the way.  They have a particular knack for seeing around corners—and they generally do so with optimism.  For them, it is a future of solutions, not problems.  They are great with build-from-scratch scenarios and are naturally entrepreneurial.  Their vision of the future is unique because it does not dismiss the here and now, instead it places it at one end of a spectrum.  That is, the present is a reference point and there can be no future without it—so, their questioning might look like this, “What can we do now to get to what is next?”  They teach us how to build bridges through time.

Ten Things to Know About People with FUTURISTIC

1. Action. While Futuristic is a visionary strength, it is also one of action.  It is not enough for them to just have the big idea, they also need to feel like they are moving toward it, creating it.

2. Staying Inspired. They may choose to share their big ideas with others, ultimately, because they want to move their vision into reality; and they know that by putting it out there they are creating outside accountability. This staves off procrastination and builds motivation.

3. The Past. The past is not super interesting to them and it is not likely to be a valuable, or valid, reference point in their thinking. Saying “Remember last time?” or “In the past this didn’t work” is not generally significant to them, it may even be annoying.

4. Persuasion. Because they can see what others cannot, Futuristic people are always developing their art of persuasion—of getting others to see what they see.  Sometimes they will go it alone on certain projects, just so that others have something concrete to look at and understand the initial vision.

5. Presence. Futuristic does not mean ‘head in the clouds’.  If anything, these people have a greater, more highly tuned impression of the present moment than the average person.  This is because they are naturally and continually taking the elements of the here and now into their calculations about what is to come.

6. Fear. Left unchecked, their thinking can go both ways.  These folks may find themselves with an elaborate and instantaneous ability to envision worst-case scenarios, too.  These thoughts can feel intrusive.

7. Collaboration. They naturally value others’ skills because they know that more can always be done together.  Finding others who can help take their ideas out of the ether and into the world is always on their radar.  For them, witnessing an idea materialize borders on euphoria.

8. Dismissed. As kids, many people with futuristic were dismissed for their inability to articulate and express the nature of their thoughts, ideas, and impressions.  As adults, they may be shy to open up initially, or hold back until they feel that trust has been established.

9. Claustrophobia. Futuristic people value spaciousness.  This means, one, not having their ideas shot down right away and, two, having time and space to play with ideas and envision them from all angles.  For them, not be constrained to “what is” is freedom.

10. Love. Because they love to dwell in possibility, the simple act of dreaming out loud with them can create a powerful sense of closeness.  Even asking them to “Say more” can feel like an “I love you.”


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Zach Carlsen is the grateful lead blogger at StrengthsLife.com

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 Gallup Certified Strengths Coach.