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.
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.