What Communication Is Really All About



Those with the strength of Communication are the naturally engaging people in our lives who can fluently express the intricacies of life and the world.  Perhaps it’s through words—a traditional speech, a presentation, or casual conversation.  Maybe it’s through a painting or a poem.  Or, it might even be through movement and body language.  Whatever the case, they make the complicated, clear; the invisible, visible; and the unsaid, sayable.  They have the gift of being able to shed light on a given topic so that it is more fully expressed, more correctly understood, and more acutely felt.  People with Communication are always striving to externalize their own inner-world or that of others—whether that be with language, art, fashion, music, writing, social media presence, home or elsewhere.  For them, it’s not about simply getting the point across; it’s about being seen and felt authentically.  They intuitively identify the essence of things—the true core—and then bring it to the surface in a way that others can grasp and follow.  Think: The right words at the right time and in the right order.  And, they are generally willing to labor in order to embody their point truly and fully.  They may spend hours re-working a few sentences or take extra care in choosing the perfect outfit for an occasion.  It is essential to them to cultivate an outward expression that is accurate to who they are, how they think, and what they are feeling at that particular point in time.  Pure expression is central to their world view and to have their uniqueness seen, heard, and felt by others is key.  They remind us that we are each inimitable and that our individual voices and experiences matter, and we all win when we are all seen.

Why Should We Care

Because they are skilled at defining, refining, and expressing their own perception and viewpoint, they can generally help others do the same—this includes helping an entire organization find its voice or define its brand.  People with Communication are the ones who can give clarity to those faced with complex situations and issues.  Others might notice and comment on their intelligence, creativity, or clarity in addition to their overall authenticity, confidence, and originality.  People with this strength can process and synthesize great amounts of information—sorting out the nuances and complexities when necessary, or honing in on the broad strokes, generalities, and overlap of big ideas.  They help us whittle down what is necessary, so that there are no ‘extra parts’ when it comes to communicating a point.  In their presence we often feel uplifted and more clearheaded, they help us articulate parts of ourselves, our lives, and the world when things feel confusing, endarkened, or overwhelming.  In that way, Communication people shed light on the truths within us and help wake us up to new dimensions of ourselves.

Ten Things to Know About People with COMMUNICATION

1. Refining. While they are expressive, they are also concise.  People with the strength of Communication are always looking for better, more refined ways of bringing their ideas and projects to light.  Always improving is often a completely natural way of life for them.

2. Aliveness. Living in their fullest expression means marching to their own drummer.  They are often self-assured, competent, and somewhat eccentric.  They also have a tendency to explain or share in words spontaneously what they are thinking, feeling, or doing in a given moment.

3. Claustrophobia. Being asked or demanded to ‘tone it down’ is likely to be insulting to them.  It’s like asking them to hide who they are, be someone else, or make themselves small.  It can be hurtful, even damaging.

4. Figurative Language. They know that speaking directly on a topic may not always work.  So, they usually have a knack for reinventing ideas and descriptions through analogies and metaphor.  Don’t be surprised if they perpetually illuminate one idea by comparing it to another.

5. Extrovert/Introvert. The emphasis is on being who they are and for some that means telling the world.  For others, it means waking up and being comfortable in their own skin, in their own local circles.  Whatever the case, people with Communication can not be lumped, generally, into a introvert or extrovert camps.

6. Always ON. They are constantly looking for newer and better ways of saying things and expressing things.  Refining and revisiting over and over again.

7. Improv vs. preparation. The key for them is finding the clearest and truest way to express ideas, feelings, and thoughts.  For some, this means careful preparation and drafting; for others, this means relaxing and tapping into their creative spontaneity (aka shooting from the hip).  One way is not better or worse than the other.

8. Words Matter. Finding the perfect way to deliver a message or make a point can be a sacred act for them—they know how powerful it can be and what an impact it can make.  For that reason, they may be hyper-sensitive to instances when others may use persuasive power to manipulate or scam others.

9. Precise and Articulate. Complex but not complicated may be a perfect motto for them, as they do not shy away from multifaceted, byzantine concepts.  In fact, they have a tendency to lean toward them, enjoying the challenge of finding the best and most precise way of expressing and sharing them.

10. Love. They will likely feel and experience love from others who support them in their ever-deepening pursuit of self-expression.  It is, in fact, a need.  Being visible is important to them and having their voice heard is essential, so spaciousness and unconditional acceptance is the foundation of their deepest connections.

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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 Having Focus Really Means


What Is the FOCUS Them

Those with Focus are the high output people in our lives who can readily concentrate for long periods of time with tremendous accuracy and retention.  Being highly structured in their thinking and approach to things, they are able to aim their attention in one direction for hours and hours.  Think of a magnifying glass that channels sunlight into a single, burning point; that is the mind of Focus when set to a specific task.  They naturally stay on track, drill down, and take intentional action to complete every undertaking.  Their ability to dial down external noise and distractions and truly hone in on the task at hand makes them incredibly productive and resourceful.  They may even lose themselves completely in a task, looking dazed afterward.  Folks with Focus are like forces of nature once they get moving and there is an “all in” quality to their thinking.  They remind us about presence.  They remind us that, even as the world fills with distractions, there is still only this moment—the here and now—and that is only place and time where things are achieved.  They show us how to dive in.

Why Should We Care

The life-force of this strength is rooted in vision, trailblazing, and stick-to-itiveness.  People with Focus are efficient, goal centered, and can clearly define where they are heading and why.  They have amazing follow through and can be relied upon to assess the scene, set the course, and take effective action that addresses the situation, concern, or demand.  Most of all, those with this strength have stamina when it comes to getting things done.  That said, they do not do busy work nor do they engage in pursuits with a “we-will-figure-it-out-as-we-go” strategy—they need a plan or a strategy to get going.  Because they are able to work in epic stints, others are freed up to do what they do best, which is especially valuable when it comes to teams and group work.  In that way, people with Focus are amazing at prioritizing and are usually good at navigating their own mental architecture.  Perhaps one of the greatest aspects of this strength is grit, folks generally embody a level of perseverance and determination that others admire and, at times, are intimidated by.  They teach us how to make a plan, push forward through slumps, and to keep going to the end.

Ten Things to Know About People with FOCUS

1. Motivation. Folks with Focus need to have a clear objective or purpose, in the absence of one they can feel aimless, weary, depressed, and even hopeless.

2. Intensity. They can be really enthusiastic and fired up about projects, plans, and whatever is on their slate—especially when they’ve mapped out a game plan.  Don’t be surprised if they suddenly spring into action and become seemingly unstoppable.

3. Joys. Their powers of concentration extend into all areas of their lives.  They are generally fond of activities that they can get lost in or that require a certain level of precision and attention—like building scale models, solving puzzles, researching, playing music, or developing a specific skill.

4. Impatience. They may be very adamant about staying the course, this is because of their intuitive vision and strategic ability to know the next steps and how the pieces all connect.  They will likely be irritated with any setbacks, pushback, or added challenges.

5. Solo. Because they are able to tune out the world and focus for hours, they are able to spend long periods of time alone.  In fact, they might not even notice as people come and go.

6. Time. The way that they experience time might be different from the rest of us.  Open-ended events in their lives might be an overwhelming purgatory for them.  While tight deadlines might actually light them up.  They prefer to know the plan in advance as well as the time frame.

7. Self-Care. They may get so involved in their work or pursuits that they forget to do the basics, like sleep, eat, stretch, and drink water.  They may also be prone to taking short cuts in these areas too, like using caffeine in lieu of sleep or eating fast food on the go.

8. Blinders. They might get so firmly set on a path that they cannot see that the dynamic has changed or the elements have shifted.  Generally, it’s okay to check-in with them and bring new information to their awareness.

9. Relaxing. Learning how to slow down and enjoy an unstructured day might not come naturally.  Developing ways of relaxing can be an art for them and they may prefer to do so with some structure or with a goal in mind—like, a one-hour yoga class, or developing a specific set of skills.  They may also be completists, preferring to enjoy things in series or whole (i.e. reading all the books of a given author or owning all the music of a certain artist).

10. Love. People with Focus are likely drawn to high-achieving people who can operate at their level.  The idea of settling down does not frighten them, but they like to know that their vision will not be coopted or interrupted.  They like to know the plan and stick to it.  Autonomy is key to their sense of self and they will likely admire the independent qualities of others.Zach_Headshot_Edits (4 of 23)

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.