Why Activators Are So Awesome


What Is the ACTIVATOR Theme

Activators are the high-energy, high-output people in our lives who love to hit the go button and make things happen.  They are outwardly action-oriented in their approach to life and they often live in perpetual motion, mainly preferring it that way.  Their style is one of “fire, fire, aim”.  This doesn’t make them reckless, instead it makes them fearless (or, better, it makes them, simply, fear less).  Being naturally confident in their abilities to deliver and to sort out messes, Activators embody a vision that says, “Let’s dive in, we’ll figure it all out along the way!”  And, they are champions of the learn-as-you-grow mentality—they own their mistakes, look for the lesson, and dive back in.  They would rather learn in the field—and get bumped and bruised—than learn in a chair and get bored.  For them, the value, meaning, and enjoyment of life is in the doing—not in the theorizing, scheduling, and planning.  With this perspective comes a certain level of everlasting impatience, which serves as a sort of fuel for them; restlessness seems to sharpen their radar, intensify their focus, and drive them toward their next goal, pursuit, or achievement.  It boils down to this: It’s not what you say, it’s what you do that counts.  They are wayseers and trailblazers, they create paths for the world and for the future to follow.

Why Should We Care

They are self-reliant, self-starting, high-achieving people who know intuitively how to get things moving.  Action is everything to them and they encourage us to shake things up and put the gears in motion.  For an Activator, a shaky launch is unquestionably better than no start at all.  In that, they sow seeds of wisdom, reminding us that if we wait until we know everything, or if we wait for everything to “feel” right before beginning something, we will never get anything done.  Life, for them, is about total immersion—and the best way to learn things is to do them.  In fact, they might say that the best way to do things is to do them!  Importantly, their enthusiasm to translate thought into action is, itself, an evolved form of optimism and possibly altruism; the spirit of which is this: do more, fail fast, it’s all okay, because it’s only a mistake until you learn the lesson. In that way, Activators are eternally and effortlessly inspiring.

Ten Things to Know About People with ACTIVATOR

1. Leadership. Activators are born leaders.  Where some people in the world are all talk and no action, Activators may very well be all action and no talk.  This can leave people wondering what is going on!  For this reason, Activators appreciate followers and, in some ways, require others to trust them and, from time to time, to go along for the ride.

2. Forgetful. They can be so motion-focused that they completely lose track of the details.  What feels like an important conversation to someone might be instantly forgotten by an Activator.  For this reason, many Activators rely on technology, digital reminders, post-it notes, and those around them for structure, reminders, and the nitty-gritty.  They seem to like “set-it-and-forget-it” scenarios.

3. It Isn’t Personal. It may feel like an Activator is leaving others in the dust, and, perhaps, they are.  It is not personal, however, and they do it in the spirit of carpe diem.  They just love to say: Let’s go.  In fact, they might actually take it personally—or, at least, be confused by the fact—that everyone in the world is not as high-octane as they are.

4. Impatient. When it comes to communicating with Activators, especially about professional matters, we are wise to lead with the point of the message.  They like it when others cut to the chase—they value it—and are not fans of chit-chat, preambles, and overtures.

5. Balance. They may struggle with the idea of balance.  And, in a culture where both balance and extremes are glorified, they might feel pulled in several directions to simultaneously speed up and slow down.  They are wise to lean unaplogetically into their energy, it is consistently life-giving to them.

6. Traffic. It is likely that they would rather drive 30 mins out of their way in order to avoid having to sit in traffic for 30 mins.  This scenario works metaphorically in many areas of their lives.  In a nutshell: They would rather be bothered by doing something than by doing nothing.

7. Presence. Many Activators have been criticized for being “all over the place” and, over time, they may try to tone it down or even hide it all together. Scaling it back can be physically painful for them.  Being in the present moment, for them, is not necessarily about laser focus; instead, their presence might be characterized as a wide-sweeping awareness—a wide radar with everything on it all at once.

8. Zen. There may be something paradoxical about the ways that Activators relax, as, they mostly relax by doing things.  In fact, they may find their greatest zen moments through rigorous exercise, extreme activities, or repetitive movements.  They are also mighty multi-taskers who may need to flip through a magazine while they watch TV, sort their Inbox or organize a junk drawer while on a conference call, or balance their bank accounts while they wait in line.

9. Burn out. Activators may be notorious for running themselves into the ground over and over again.  Don’t be surprised if you can see it coming before they can.

10. Love. For Activators love is likely an action word.  In relationships, they will follow a don’t-tell-me-show-me approach.  Sure, they may be gracious receivers of kind words and odes, but it’s really not what fires them up—they like to see it.  For them, connection is found through action: creating experiences, making memories, and/or doing something brand new.

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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.


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